Tory councillor slams Liz Truss's recollection of school as Rishi Sunak tries to save campaign

A Tory councillor has rubbished Liz Truss's recollection of the school they both went to in Leeds, suggesting she's been dishonest in her campaign to be prime minister.

Ms Truss, in her bid to be Conservative Party leader, has on numerous occasions told the media she become a Tory because her schoolmates "were let down by low expectations, poor educational standards and a lack of opportunity".

But Nathan Hull, who was one year group below Ms Truss at Rounday comprehensive - which is rated "outstanding" by Ofsted - told ITV News he has a "different recollection to the school she describes".

The school provided a "first class" education, he said, “I disagreed with the whole sentiment of what she was saying. I don’t feel the children were let down by the school".

This contributed to his decision not to support Ms Truss for leader, he told Political Editor Robert Peston.

"You have to be honest," the Tory councillor for Washburn & Birstwith said, "I don't believe in stepping and treading all over your past and the people that've helped you get where you are, for political gain."

But Ms Truss is leading in the polls and is firm favourite to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister.

Consensus is she beat rival Mr Sunak at Thursday evening's hustings in Leeds, which was followed with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace giving her his endorsement.

He told ITV News he was supporting his colleague because she had remained in her post as foreign secretary while others were seeking to remove the current PM, while Mr Sunak was one of those who walked away.

The former chancellor has agreed to an interview this evening with veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil, in an apparent bid to save his campaign with little over a month remaining before the contest concludes.

He will be grilled live at 7.30pm on Friday on Channel 4, where Mr Neil hosts a weekly politics programme having left the BBC and GB News - however Ms Truss has declined to be interviewed by the journalist.

In a swipe at his opponent, Mr Sunak tweeted: “Just me then?” with a winking emoji.

The pair have mainly been clashing over their economic proposals in the campaign so far, with Ms Truss promising tax cuts and Mr Sunak largely rejecting them, aside from a last-minute decision to announce a scrapping of VAT on energy bills.

The promise to remove VAT on energy bills was described as a "screeching U-turn" by team Truss and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the policy shift was made as a "gambit for leadership".

Ballot papers will go through the letterboxes of the UK's estimated 160,000 Tory party members next week, and voting will close on September 2.

There will be 11 more hustings events throughout the UK in the final month of campaigning, however it's likely many of those able to vote have already made up their minds.

Some of those able to vote had wanted Prime Minister Johnson to remain in Downing Street and a petition demanding he be added to the ballot paper has received more than 10,000 signatures.

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But Mr Johnson appeared to rule that out in a speech in Birmingham for the opening of the Commonwealth Games on Thursday, insisting the baton of leadership will soon be "passed seamlessly and invisibly" to his successor.

"We come now to the next stage in the great relay race of politics," he said. "I didn't think it was meant to be a relay race, by the way, when I started.

"I can assure you that the baton is going to be passed seamlessly and invisibly to the hand of somebody else."

The outgoing prime minister could not resist taking thinly-veiled a swipe at his former chancellor while delivering the speech, mocking his pledge to cut VAT on energy.

Speaking of both leadership hopefuls, he said: "I'll give you this assurance, they will continue with the same programme, cutting taxes, simplifying regulation as much as possible, taking advantage of all our new regulatory freedoms, getting rid of every encumbrance from solvency to MiFID to VAT on fuel - turns out to be easier than we thought."