Tory leadership: Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson to address NI members


Boris Johnson and Jeremy HuntImage copyright
Reuters/PA

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will make their pitch to be the next prime minister to Conservative Party members in Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

The two candidates for the Tory leadership have been taking part in a series of party events across the UK.

Northern Ireland Conservative members will get a chance to ask questions of both men during the event in Belfast.

Brexit and the border are expected to dominate proceedings.

Activists are also likely to raise the party’s relationship with the DUP and how the candidates view Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.

The Conservative Party’s 160,000 members will begin voting next week and Theresa May’s successor is expected to be announced on 23 July.

There are about 500 members in Northern Ireland.

Compare the candidates’ policies

Select a topic and a candidate to find out more






BREXIT


– Wants to leave with a deal, but says he would back a no-deal Brexit with “a heavy heart” if necessary.
– Will create a new negotiating team to produce an “alternative exit deal” to Theresa May’s plan, and engage with EU leaders over August.
– Will present a provisional no-deal Brexit budget in early September and decide by the end of the month if there is a “realistic chance” of a new deal.
– If not, will abandon talks and focus on no deal preparations.
– Pledges to cover the cost of tariffs imposed on the exports of the farming and fishing industries in the case of a no-deal Brexit.


– Vows to leave the EU by the 31 October deadline “come what may”, but claims the chance of a no-deal Brexit is a “million to one”.
– Wants to negotiate a new deal, which will include replacing the Irish backstop with alternative arrangements.
– Will not hand over the £39bn divorce settlement with the EU until the UK gets a new deal.
– If a new deal is not agreed, will ask the EU for a “standstill period” to negotiate a free trade deal.
– Argues a provision under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, known as GATT 24, could be used for the UK to avoid tariffs for the next 10 years, but admits it would need EU sign off.
– Promises to support the rural community in a no-deal Brexit scenario with “price support” and “efficiency payments”.

IMMIGRATION


– Calls for flexibility on immigration, saying skilled workers should be prioritised.
– Wants to review policy of stopping migrants with less than £30,000 coming to the UK to work.
– Pledges to scrap the target to reduce net migration to below 100,000.


– Wants a new Australian-style points-based system, considering factors such as whether an immigrant has a firm job offer and their ability to speak English.
– Will get Migration Advisory Committee to examine the plan.
– Wants to block the ability for immigrants to claim benefits immediately after the arrive in the UK.
– Opposes the net migration target of under 100,000 a year.

TAX


– As an entrepreneur, he wants to turn Britain into “the next Silicon Valley… a hub of innovation”.
– Wants to cut corporation tax to 12.5%.
– Wants to raise the point at which workers start paying National Insurance to at least £12,000 a year.
– Pledges to scrap business rates for 90% of high street shops.
– Will increase the tax-free annual investment allowance from £1m to £5m.


– Pledges to raise the tax threshold for the higher rate to £80,000 (rather than the current £50,000).
– Wants to raise the point at which workers start paying income tax.

SPENDING


– Wants to increase defence spending by £15bn over the next five years.
– Promises to keep free TV licenses for the over-75s.
– Wants to build 1.5 million homes and create a “right to own” scheme for young people.
– Backs both HS2 and a third runway at Heathrow.


– Pledges more money for public sector workers and wants to increase the National Living Wage.
– Will “find the money” to recruit an extra 20,000 police officers.
– Promises to maintain spending 0.7% of GDP on Foreign Aid.
– Wants to review the HS2 train project.
– Pledges full fibre broadband in every home by 2025.

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE


– Promises more funding for social care.
– Wants to introduce an opt out insurance system to fund future care, similar to the way pensions work.
– Wants to target manufacturers of unhealthy foods to make them cut the sugar content.
– Mental health support to be offered in every school and a crackdown on social media companies that fail to regulate their content.


– Rules out a pay-for-access NHS, saying it would remain “free to everybody at the point of use” under his leadership.
– Has previously said money spent on the EU could be put into the NHS.
– Plans to give public sector workers a “fair” pay rise, according to supporter Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
– Says more should be spent on social care, according to a cross-party “national consensus”.

EDUCATION


– Pledges to write off tuition fees for young entrepreneurs who start a new business and employ more than 10 people for five years.
– Wants to reduce interest rates on student debt repayments.
– Long-term plan to provide more funding for the teaching profession.
– Wants to abolish illiteracy.


– Wants to raise per-pupil spending in primary and secondary schools, with a minimum of £5,000 for each student in the latter.
– Wants to look at lowering the interest rate on student debts.

Mr Hunt has said he would decide by the end of September whether there is a “realistic chance” of reaching a new Brexit deal with the EU.

He said he would deliver a provisional “no-deal Brexit budget” in early September and then give the EU three weeks.

He has said he believes there is a technological solution “there now” to provide a solution to the border issue.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionWould you notice if you crossed the Irish border?

Mr Hunt has told Sky News that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is willing to look at any new proposals put forward by the next prime minister.

Mr Johnson has vowed to leave the EU “come what may” by 31 October.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Mr Johnson said it was important to have a “hard deadline” for leaving, adding that previous no-deal preparations had “sagged back down” after exit dates were not met.

The candidates are set to face each other in an ITV debate on 9 July and at an event hosted by the Sun newspaper and talkRADIO on 15 July.

Mr Hunt tweeted on Tuesday that he had been invited to a live BBC TV debate against Mr Johnson on 16 July.

He argued though, that about 90% of Conservative members would have already voted in the leadership race by then.

Meanwhile, former party leader William Hague, who served as leader of the opposition between 1997 and 2001, wrote in the Daily Telegraph that both candidates had “great merits”, but added that he believed Mr Hunt would make the better prime minister.





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