Tory hustings: Truss and Sunak go head-to-head live on STV News

Only Scottish hustings on the schedule will be streamed live on the STV News website.

Prime Minister hopefuls Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to debate live on STV News UK GovernmentHM Treasury

The two candidates vying to be the next Prime Minister will go head-to-head live on the STV News website on Tuesday.

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will take part in a hustings for Conservative party members in Perth.

Members are currently deciding who will succeed Boris Johnson as leader and therefore claim the keys to 10 Downing Street.

FRead it as it happened with the STV News live blog from the hustings.

The winner is due to be announced in early September after Truss and Sunak have pitched their visions to party members around the country.

Perth Concert Hall is the only Scottish venue on the hustings schedule, and the debate will be chaired by STV News politics correspondent Colin Mackay.

Speaking ahead of the hustings – due to start around 7.30pm – both contenders promised greater scrutiny of the Scottish Government if they become the next Prime Minister.

Truss, the favourite in the race, said she was committed to getting “Scotland’s economy moving”, and vowed to give MSPs special legal protection, allowing them to be more outspoken as they scrutinise decisions made by the devolved government.

Sunak meanwhile, promised that Scottish civil servants would face greater scrutiny from Westminster, while UK ministers will be required to be more visible north of the border.

Truss said: “Having grown up in Paisley, I consider myself to be a child of the union. When I say I’ll deliver for our country, I mean all of it.

“I will never let anyone talk down Scotland’s potential. As a nation we are stronger together and the UK needs Scotland as much as Scotland needs the UK.

“For too long, people in Scotland have been let down by the SNP focusing on constitutional division instead of their priorities. That won’t happen under my watch.”

She added: “I’ll make sure that my government does everything to ensure elected representatives hold the devolved administration to account for its failure to deliver the quality public services, particularly health and education, that Scottish people deserve.

“As Prime Minister and minister for the union, I will deliver on my ambitious plan to capitalise on the opportunity we have to turbocharge the growth and business investment required to get Scotland’s economy moving.”

Truss’s campaign has said she would push for a trade deal with India, with the aim of slashing a longstanding 150% tariff on whisky exports.

She would change the Scotland Act to give parliamentary privilege to MSPs, in order to create more “robust questioning” of ministers and increase the powers of the Scottish Parliament to hold the Scottish Government to account.

Sunak, meanwhile, promised to make it a requirement for Scotland’s most senior civil servant, the permanent secretary to the Scottish Government, to attend Westminster’s Public Affairs and Constitutional Affairs (PACAC) Select Committee each year, just like the UK Government’s cabinet secretary.

The former chancellor has also promised to enforce “consistent reporting of public service performance data across the country” so that UK Government could hold Scottish Government accountable for essential public service delivery.

Sunak said: “The future of the United Kingdom is bright but our union must work together, each nation shoulder to shoulder, to get there. We must defeat the collective challenges threatening the health of our public services. Under my plans the UK Government will play its part, but the same must be reciprocated by Holyrood.

“For too long the SNP has been able to obscure its failures by picking and choosing the data it publishes – I would change that, ensuring the Scottish Government’s record could be held to account, while ensuring our public services are better joined up.

“Scottish senior civil servants will also face greater scrutiny, with the permanent secretary to the Scottish Government required to appear annually at a UK Parliament Select Committee hearing.”

On Saturday, Truss accused devolved leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland of playing “political games” rather than delivering for voters.

Her comments came after she sparked controversy by denouncing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as an “attention seeker” suggesting she would ignore her demands for a fresh referendum on independence.

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