RISHI Sunak’s team hit out at Tory leadership rival Liz Truss today, branding her a “Remainer” for letting more European fruit pickers into the UK.
With just five weeks of the contest left to go, the underdog ex-Chancellor has ramped up attacks on frontrunner Ms Truss.
The Foreign Secretary is spending today touring Devon, where she hopes to woo over Tory farmers with promises to create the “agriculture industry of the future”.
The wannabe PM vowed to slash EU red tape on farming to boost productivity and food security.
She also promised to help farmers struggling to find staff by expanding the Home Office’s seasonal workers scheme.
The visa allows fruit pickers and farm hands live in Britain and work in agriculture for a maximum of 6 months.
In a dramatic escalation of campaign attack lines, Mr Sunak’s team hit their rival where it hurts, slagging off her farming plans as showing “true Remainer colours”.
Ms Truss famously backed Remain in 2016, but has since pitched herself as full fat Brexiteer.
A campaign spokesperson for the ex-Chancellor said: “Liz Truss’ announcement today does nothing for farmers and food.
“She blames Brexit and fails to see the opportunities from it to help farmers and food production, has no plan to tackle inflation which has hit input costs hard, and neglects to mention trade deals because of her record in this area. The true Remainer colours are starting to show.”
Talking up her plans for farmers, Liz Truss said: “The pandemic and cost of living crisis have shown it is more vital than ever for us to ensure we have a high quality and affordable supply of British food.
“As a former DEFRA Secretary of State, I understand the challenges faced by farmers and they can trust me to deliver the changes they need. I will cut the red tape that is holding them back and hitting them in their pocket.”
Mr Sunak and Ms Truss will meet tonight for the second of 16 Tory leadership hustings in Exeter.
The wannabe PMs will be grilled on their plans for Britain’s blue wall, where Tories face serious electoral threats from insurgent Lib Dems.