Liz Truss avoiding Andrew Neil? PM hopeful refuses to agree to Channel 4 grilling

Liz Truss is a 'Margaret Thatcher tribute act' says Taylor

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Her rival, Rishi Sunak, has agreed to be interviewed by Mr Neil in a special Tory leadership programme, set to be broadcast on Friday evening. Channel 4 confirmed that Ms Truss has “so far declined to take part – but the invitation remains open”. An ally of the Foreign Secretary said Ms Truss does not intend to take part because her “focus” is on speaking with Tory party members directly.

They told the Telegraph: “I know some members watch Channel 4 news but she wants to get out across the country and get her pitch directly to them.

“Just because Rishi’s doing it doesn’t mean we need to do it as well.

“We may review things.

“But for now it is a no.”

Mr Sunak mocked Ms Truss for the decision, writing on Twitter “Just me then?” along with a winking face emoji.

The two candidates have faced criticism for the leadership race, with one senior Tory MP describing it as “puerile”.

Johnny Mercer, the UK’s first cabinet minister for veteran affairs, said the contest was “embarrassing”.

He said it is “time to raise the standards”.

The two candidates are taking part in a leadership debate beginning at 9pm this evening on BBC One.

This is the first time the two candidates will face each other in a one-to-one debate.

Britain’s new Prime Minister will be announced on September 5.

The winner will be decided by the 160,000 Tory party members.

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Ms Truss’ decision not to participate in an interview with Mr Neil comes as she is pulling ahead of Mr Sunak in the polls.

According to a recent YouGov Poll, the Foreign Secretary is leading the former Chancellor by 62 percent to 38 percent among Conservative party members.

The same set of polling, conducted on July 20 to 21 from a survey of 730 party members, saw four in 10 say that Mr Sunak cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

Just under half (48 percent) believe that he can.

Only 18 percent of members think Ms Truss cannot be trusted, while six in 10 (63 percent) believe she can.

Worryingly for both candidates, it showed that just 24 percent of party members most wanted either Mr Sunak or Ms Truss to succeed Boris Johnson.

Ms Truss’ team has been approached for comment.

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