This week, the Conservative leadership contest caravan moves from parliament to the membership in the country. Ballots are expected to land on the doormats of 150,000 Tory party members in the next few days, while the finalists Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will go head to head in another televised debate on Sky News on Thursday at 8pm.
But have Tory members already made up their minds? Polls have shown Truss pulling ahead of the former chancellor among the rank and file. Stephen Bush, who helms the Inside Politics newsletter, warns that Sunak has limited time to close the gap with Truss, as “most Conservative members will vote right away when their ballot papers arrive”.
Whoever clinches victory in the leadership race will be inheriting a wave of industrial discontent. Thousands of BT employees will walk out on Monday for the second of two strikes, led by the Communication Workers Union, in a dispute over pay. In response to BT’s £1,500 pay deal offered to staff in April, the CWU said company bosses had “stuck two fingers up” to workers. Dockers at the UK’s biggest container port are also expected to strike in August.
Across the Atlantic, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas despite an international backlash following a speech he gave about race that led to the resignation of one of his close aides, who called it “pure Nazi”.
Speaking of controversial international trips, Kathrin Hille reports that China is pulling out all the stops — including possibly the military — to dissuade US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi from visiting Taiwan in the next few days.
Past the doom and gloom, we can look forward to a weekend of revelry. As well as International Beer Day on Friday, Brighton’s streets will be awash with glitter as one of the UK’s biggest Pride events kicks off. The annual LGBTQ parade will see thousands of people flocking to the south coast of England….
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