SAJID Javid, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss today launch their bids to be PM — with promises to slash crippling fuel taxes.
Mr Javid said he will cut fuel duty by 10p within days if he gets the top job while Ms Mordaunt vowed to halve VAT on petrol and diesel, cutting pump prices by between 15p and 20p a litre.
Backers of Ms Truss said that like Margaret Thatcher she wants to slash taxes to unleash growth.
With ten Tory big beasts preparing to enter the fray, every single one of them have or are expected to vow to cut taxes — apart from former Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
His replacement Nadhim Zahawi will fire the starting gun on his bid to get into No10 with a promise to cut tax for workers and firms.
But even before the Tory leadership contest officially starts tonight, it has already descended into mud-slinging and accusations of dirty tricks. Two campaigns even reportedly passed allegedly compromising information to Labour in a bid to derail rivals.
Meanwhile Mr Javid unveiled his plan for a £2.5billion emergency cut to fuel duty after the price of filling up a tank topped £100.
He said: “I know the soaring cost of petrol and diesel has been painful for Sun readers. While the price has been driven by Putin’s war in Ukraine, it’s right we do more to help here at home.
“A 10p cut to fuel duty is one of the quickest ways I’ll help with the cost of living but I’ll also deliver long-term tax cuts to ensure people have more money in their pocket.”
He said he would cut income tax by 1p, spike the national insurance hike and slash corporation tax to 15 per cent.
Ms Mordaunt said she will cut VAT on fuel in half, from 20 per cent to just 10 per cent.
She told The Sun: “I am a small state, low tax Conservative.
“But I believe in using the levers of government to support jobs and livelihoods through different economic situations.
“We cannot afford to risk spiralling wages and prices that ultimately lead to lower standards of living and loss of jobs.”
She won the influential backing of Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, who hailed her as a “staunch backer” of clobbered drivers.
Pitching herself as the heir to Mrs Thatcher, she is also expected to spike the planned £13billion national insurance raid and slash corporation tax to get Britain booming again.
Ms Truss’s biggest backer, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, told The Sun: “We have had a lot of tax rises and we can’t tax our way to prosperity.
“No country has ever done that. She is very much focused on wealth creation.”
Mr Kwarteng said that under Ms Truss Britain will enjoy a new era of tax cuts and business investment.
He added: “What we can’t do is simply load our economy with lots of different taxes.
“I think there has to be a reset and there has to be a new path. Liz’s basic instinct on tax is right.
“She doesn’t think people should be paying increasingly higher taxes to pay for higher spending.”
In a dig at Mr Sunak, he went on: “We can’t simply be accountants trying to balance the books the whole time. We have got to look to growth as well.
“That is what will create wealth and drive our economy.”
He said Ms Truss — who went to a comprehensive school in Leeds and describes herself as a “Lidl Tory” — is the only candidate who can keep the votes of Red Wall Tories.
Mr Kwarteng said: “People go on about the Red Wall.
“She has lived there, she comes from there. She is a breath of fresh air.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel is said to be weighing up a run of her own, while Mr Zahawi will confirm he is standing today with a pledge to cut VAT on energy bills, shave 1p off income tax and freeze corporation tax at 19 per cent.
Mr Sunak had stormed to an early lead in polls after announcing his candidature on Friday afternoon with a slick video presentation.
But rival camps branded him a “traitor” for “sticking the knife” into the PM.
Mr Sunak suggested he will not cut taxes immediately — warning that such promises from other candidates would be silly “fairytales” that would risk saddling future generations with debt.
But he will come under massive pressure to put some real meat on the bones of his promise to boost Britain’s flatlining economy.
Another former Chancellor, George Osborne, yesterday called on the candidates to help “drain the poison” of Mr Johnson’s time in office.
He told The Andrew Neil show: “It’s going to be a really big task, and how they conduct themselves in this leadership contest is going to make it clear whether that’s possible or not.
“And if they through this leadership contest creating a lot of enemies, and doing a lot of skulduggery against opponents, they will find it impossible to be Prime Minister.
“They will have Day One when they’re thrilled that they will become one, and then Day Two when they realise that they’re going to fail.
“And so how you conduct yourself in the contest is going to be quite important [to] whether you’re a successful Prime Minister.”
To Read Daily News, click here