British Foreign Minister Liz Truss received another boost for her campaign to become the country’s next prime minister when Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, one of the most popular members of the government, gave her his support on Friday.
Ms Truss, who is on course to defeat former finance minister Rishi Sunak according to opinion polls of members of the ruling Conservative Party, would “do best by defence of this nation, by investing in it,” Mr Wallace told the BBC.
“Liz has always stood by me in supporting more resource for defence in this very unstable world,” Mr Wallace said.
Among a raft of promised tax cuts, Ms Truss has pledged to increase defence spending by three percent of GDP by 2030 and said she would work with allies to provide more weapons and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
Ms Truss and Mr Sunak have traded barbs in particular over the timing of any tax cuts, with Mr Sunak describing Ms Truss’s plans for immediate reductions as “comforting fairy tales,” although he did change tack this week by offering relief on rising energy bills.
Mr Wallace also took a swipe at Mr Sunak for quitting as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chancellor of the exchequer in early July which helped trigger a wave of other resignations that culminated in Mr Johnson announcing that he would stand down.
“I didn’t think it is the right time for a number of cabinet ministers, defence secretaries, home secretaries who have an obligation to support, but also actually a role in supporting operations,” Mr Wallace said. “I just thought that was the wrong way to go about it.”
The outcome of voting by Conservative Party members for their new leader will be announced on September 5.
Mr Wallace had been seen as the early favourite to replace Mr Johnson as prime minister before he ruled himself out.
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