UK

Truss and Sunak only mention cost of living TWICE each in Twitter campaigning

TORY leadership contenders Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have only mentioned the cost of living crisis TWICE each on Twitter during the campaign so far, The National can reveal.

As households across the UK face soaring energy bills, rising food prices and low wages, Truss and Sunak have spent more effort posting about “conservative values” and beating Labour in the next General Election than offering a solution to the crisis.

With Twitter providing a key campaigning tool for the pair, The National analysed 112 posts from both Tory MP’s Twitter pages from July 20 – when they were confirmed as the final two in the running to be the next prime minister – to discover which topics dominated their timelines in the final stages of the race.

READ MORE: Poverty campaigners slam Truss and Sunak lack of focus on cost of living

We also looked at the number of Facebook adverts they launched in July and August – the majority of which were on Brexit, beating Labour and the economy.

Opposition politicians have slammed the lack of focus and “deafening silence” on the cost of living, which is at the top of the public’s concerns.

It follows announcements by the Bank of England on Thursday that interest rates are set to rise by a historic 0.5%, while inflation is predicted to hit 13% in October if Ofgem hikes the price cap on energy bills to £3450.

Truss, left, and Sunak, right, with Sky News journalist Kay Burley on Thursday

Between July 20 and August 4, The National logged 68 tweets from Sunak and 44 from Truss. Many posts included multiple topics but gave an enlightening overview of Sunak and Truss’s campaign priorities.

We also recorded the number of endorsements from other Tory politicians retweeted by the candidates, and the reasons they gave for backing them.

Overall, Sunak and Truss tweeted most about Conservative members (18), the economy and growth (14), taxes and VAT (10), Tory values (8) and beating Labour at the next election (8), our analysis found.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon breaks silence over Liz Truss insult with cheeky seal photo

When we split the findings by each candidate we found that Sunak prioritised Tory members 13 times, inlation seven times and beating Labour six times.

Truss’s top topics were the economy and growth in nine posts, “delivering” which she referenced seven times, and her “vision” for the UK which was mentioned on six occasions.

However, when it came to the cost of living crisis it was only mentioned in one endorsement for Truss, in another tweet just after she was announced in the final two and in two tweets from Sunak.

On energy bills and the incoming October price hike Sunak mentioned his policy plan on four occasions, while Truss didn’t mention it at all.

SNP’s shadow chancellor Alison Thewliss MP blasted: “The Tory leadership candidates’ deafening silence over the cost of living is sadly indicative of how they’ll run the country – putting their narrow self-interest and imposing yet another round of damaging austerity ahead of delivering real support to people struggling to make ends meet.

“Households up and down the county are reeling from the Tory-made cost of living crisis that is about to spiral into a full-blown recession, threatening jobs, livelihoods, and savings.

“Meanwhile we have a zombie government avoiding the day job and Prime Ministerial candidates engaged in a contest to see who can out-Thatcher Thatcher.

“The reality is that whoever wins this toxic race to the right, Scotland will lose.”

Our analysis covered 78 retweets, 54 from Truss and 68 from Sunak, of other Tory politicians endorsing them for leadership, and the reasons they gave.

Beating Labour at the next election (5), the economy and inflation (4 each), and having Thatcherite policies (3), were the top reasons Sunak’s supporters gave, while the main grounds given for backing Truss was her promise to cut taxes (15), her ability to “deliver” (6) and her stance on Brexit (5).

Ian Murray, Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary, said: “People across Scotland and the whole of the UK are crying out for help as the cost of living soars, but neither of the Tory leadership candidates are interested.

READ MORE: Liz Truss beams with joy as she visits world’s biggest Union flag – see the pictures

“They have shown time and time again that they are completely out of touch and bereft of ideas.”

On Facebook, Sunak has paid for 42 adverts in June and August, while Truss has only launched 11.

While the former chancellor mentioned the cost of living crisis in five adverts, it was combined with tackling inflation and beating Labour. Not a single one of Truss’s adverts mentioned the crisis or energy bills.

The National: One of the former chancellor's Facebook adverts on the cost of living One of the former chancellor’s Facebook adverts on the cost of living

Conversely, Sunak’s team ran 13 posts on the benefits of Brexit, and 13 on a policy trio of Brexit, beating Labour and the economy. Truss had four adverts regarding the economy, one on taxes, and six urging Tory members to sign up and support her campaign.

Christine Jardine, LibDem MP for Edinburgh West, said: “Both of the Conservative candidates are hopelessly out of touch from the real world. While energy bill payers and mortgage holders are being stung by the economic crisis, they are focused on pandering to the pet obsessions of the Tory party.

“Neither Rishi Sunak nor Liz Truss is fit to be Prime Minister. As soon as the conservative party finishes its navel-gazing we need a general election and a new government.”

Sunak and Truss’s campaign teams have been contacted for comment.



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