Tory leadership contest: what did Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak say at Perth hustings amid protests outside venue
Protesters greeted Tory leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss as they took part in a hustings event in Perth
Ms Truss and Mr Sunak may have been hoping for a pleasant visit to the Scottish city as they attempted to woo Scottish Conservative Party members in the leadership contest, but protesters outside made sure that they were heard.
A crowd gathered outside the Perth Concert Hall ahead of the event, booing each member of the party as they made their way into the venue.
The visit to Scotland comes after Ms Truss called Scottish First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon an “attention seeker”, and vowing to “ignore” Ms Sturgeon and her pursuit of a second independence referndum.
However, Mr Sunak has previously blasted Ms Truss’s words, stating that it would be “dangerously complacent” to ignore the leader.
With hot topics such as the cost of living and the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum, just what did the two candidates say at the Perth hustings?
What was said about the cost of living?
Pressure has been mounting on Ms Truss and Mr Sunak to outline their plans to deal with the rising cost of living upon taking up office.
Ms Truss has campaign on a manifesto of tax cuts and scrapping National Insurance rises, but during the Perth hustings, she efused to reveal if any other support would be coming to millions of UK households.
The Foreign Secretary said that she did not want to promise any support before her possible Chancellor has made a budget.
Ms Truss said: “What I’m not going to do here is write the next chancellor’s budget when we are still in the middle of this leadership election.”
Mr Sunak has clashed with Ms Truss on her plans to deal with th cost of living, repeatedly telling Tory voters that the way to deal with the crisis is through controlling inflation rather than offering tax cuts.
He also highlighted the crisis is “the most important issue facing all of us”, and said that he wants to target the most vulnerable - those on low incomes and the elderly - with direct support.
In another swipe at Ms Truss’ economic plans, Mr Sunak said that “not acknowledging” the scale of the crisis is “not leadership”. However, he told hustings host Colin Mackay he would not freeze the energy price cap.
Likewise, Ms Truss also refused to commit to freezing the energy price cap.
What was said about Scottish independence?
Ms Truss remained tight-lipped about backing down from her intention to “ignore” Nicola Sturgeon, but promised that she would not allow a second referendum on Scottish independence.
She told the crowd: “If I am elected as prime minister, I will not allow another independence referendum.”
Her insistance was met by applause in the Perth venue, with Ms Truss adding: “At the time of the 2014 referendum, it was agreed by the SNP that it was a once-in-a-generation referendum.
“I believe in politicians keeping their promises, and Nicola Sturgeon should keep her promise.
“What she should do, rather than agitating for another referendum, is dealing with the very real issues in Scotland.”
Mr Sunak had a similar position concerning a potential second Scottish independence referendum.
When asked if he would grant a second vote on the matter, he said: “I can’t imagine the circumstances in which I would.
“We live in a union which is of course there by consent and by democracy and I accept that, but I just don’t think that anybody thinks that now or any time in the near future is remotely the time to focus on this.”
What was said about immigration?
The issue of immigration and the controversial Rwanda policy was also on the minds of the candidates.
Mr Sunak pledged to go further on the policy and include more countries, despite one Tory member in the audience calling the scheme “inhumane”.
He said: “Making the Rwanda policy work is an important part of getting a grip of this situation.”
Despite controversy over the choice of Rwanda and the political climate in the country, Mr Sunak added: “The United Nations believed that Rwanda is fine so I do think it is fine to do it.”