Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will not sit down with Boris Johnson to agree an emergency package to help people deal with the cost of living package, a senior Tory MP has insisted.
Mark Harper, who is backing Sunak’s bid to be prime minister, said there was “a fundamental difference of opinion between the two leadership candidates”, which meant any talks would be a waste of time.
Downing Street confirmed yesterday that Johnson would not intervene in the cost of living crisis before he leaves office next month.
It means no new government support measures can be thrashed out until after September 6, when his successor is announced.
That is despite inflation heading for double digits and energy bills set to soar once again when the price cap is lifted in October, leaving millions facing the prospect of being plunged into fuel poverty.
Asked on Sky News this morning whether Sunak, Truss and Johnson could agree a package this month, Harper said: “No, I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I think what is very important is that Rishi’s made it clear that we’re looking at energy bills likely to be higher than what we were expecting when he set out his plans when he was chancellor in May.
“What he said is that that, therefore, will require more help being delivered, and he’s going to set that out in detail once we know exactly what the new energy price cap will be in October, but he’s set out that it’s going to be along the lines of the framework that he already has used – a mix of rebates on bills and direct support to those people who are the poorest and most vulnerable.”
Sunak last night vowed to provide extra support for the vulnerable if he becomes prime minister.
But Truss has faced criticism for saying she would focus on reducing taxes rather than providing “handouts” for the poor.
Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab, another Sunak backer, said that approach would be an “electoral suicide note” for the Tories.