THE five remaining candidates in the Tory leadership election race went head-to-head once again in a debate on ITV on Sunday

Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat faced questions on the cost-of-living crisis, Boris Johnson and how they would deal with Vladimir Putin following the war in Ukraine.

The question of Scottish independence wasn’t raised.

Cost of Living Crisis

The biggest debate seemed to be over how each individual would tackle the cost-of-living crisis facing millions across the United Kingdom.

Rishi Sunak accused Liz Truss of peddling “something-for-nothing” economics after she said he was choking off growth by raising taxes to their highest level in 70 years.

Meanwhile, Penny Mordaunt said she would not keep to the former chancellor’s rule of only borrowing to invest after he said even former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did not advocate such a policy.

Truss then attacked Sunak’s time in the treasury: “Rishi, you have raised taxes to the highest level in 70 years. That is not going to drive economic growth.

READ MORE: Liz Truss would 'undermine the Union', say Scottish Tories

“You raised national insurance, even though people like me opposed it in Cabinet at the time because we could have afforded to fund the NHS through general taxation.

“The fact is that raising taxes at this moment will choke off economic growth; it will prevent us getting the revenue we need to pay off the debt.”

Boris Johnson

When asked if they would allow the outgoing Prime Minister into their cabinet should he express a desire to do so, not a single candidate raised their hand.

Tom Tugendhat said that those who had served in Johnson’s government “lend credibility to the chaos” and that this would make it difficult for the Conservatives to win the next general election.

He said: “Whatever your responsibility was in that government, whatever your place in that government was, Keir Starmer in two years’ time is going to hold that record against us.

“We need to make sure we’re winning Conservative seats across the country, and even really good people lend credibility to the chaos candidate.”

Kemi Badenoch also spoke about Boris Johnson’s time in government, saying she was “not ashamed of anything we did” whilst she served as a minister.

READ MORE: Penny Mordaunt would not allow indyref2 'under any circumstances'

She added: “We have a lot to be proud of. We got Brexit done, and what the Prime Minister did on Ukraine and on vaccines was fantastic.

“Serving in government is not easy. It requires taking difficult decisions. Tom [Tugendhat] has never done that. It’s very easy for him to criticise what we’ve been doing, but we have been out there on the frontline making the case.”

Tugendhat disagreed with the remarks however, saying he had been on the frontline in Afghanistan, Iraq and “in the argument against Putin and China.”

Badenoch replied: “You haven’t taken any decisions, talking is easy.”

Vladimir Putin

The candidates were also questioned on whether they would sit down with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Bali which is due to take place later this year.

Mordaunt told the ITV debate she wouldn’t do so “under the current circumstances” whilst Tugendhat said: “No, and I’ve demonstrated I will fight for our country in combat, I will fight for our country in politics.”

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Badenoch said that sitting down with Putin “hasn’t worked for all the people who have tried before, I wouldn’t waste my time” and Sunak added that “I walked out of the G20 meeting when the Russian finance minister was taking part.”

Finally, Truss said it was “important we have the voices of the free world facing down Vladimir Putin” because it would influence the “swing countries” like Indonesia and India.

She added: “I would go there and I would call Putin out.”

General Election

The five Tory leadership candidates also all  ruled out calling a snap election to secure a mandate from the public if they became prime minister.

Asked if she would call an election, Mordaunt told the ITV debate: “No, we all stood on the same manifesto, we all have to come together and it’s a shared manifesto and a shared vision.”

Tugendhat said: “No, we have a manifesto to deliver and I intend to deliver it. By showing leadership and commitment we can bring the party together, bring the country together, end this disunity and actually have a clean start.”

Badenoch said: “We need to give people some stability, they are tired of all the upheaval.”

Truss said: “No to a general election, we need 100% of all of our effort on delivering for the people of Britain, I’m the person who can do that.”

Sunak said: “We face an enormous economic challenge and we now need someone who has got the grip and the experience to deal with that, and that should be the priority going forward for the next leader.”