LIZ Truss got a boost in her battle for No10 last night — the backing of Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
And on another day of blue-on-blue warfare, her rival Rishi Sunak was the subject of a pointed jibe on tax by outgoing PM Boris Johnson.
Liz Truss, with her mum Patricia, has received a boost after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace backed her campaign
Foreign Secretary Liz was already the bookies’ favourite but getting the backing of Mr Wallace — who is hugely popular with the Tory grassroots — is a huge lift.
In an exclusive Sun interview, Mr Wallace declares he would “love” to serve as her military chief.
Ms Truss has also won the backing of MP Jake Berry, head of the influential Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, after she vowed to splash billions levelling up.
But she ruled out another windfall tax on big-profit energy firms.
Mr Sunak faced criticism for promising to ban building on green belt — which opponents say will make it harder for first-time buyers.
Both Tory hopefuls went to Leeds for their first of 12 UK hustings with members — Liz with her mum Patricia.
Meanwhile, BoJo mocked Rishi’s U-turn over slashing VAT on energy — which the ex-Chancellor had opposed.
In a sarcastic swipe at Rishi, the PM said the idea “turns out to be easier than we thought”.
Mr Sunak told the event he would raise corporation tax as a low rate for the past decade “hasn’t worked.”
In snap questions he BACKED new grammar schools, sat on the fence on whether polluting water bosses should be sacked and said he had never taken drugs.
Meanwhile Ms Truss admitted for the first time that ministers were wrong to shut classrooms during the Covid pandemic.
She said: “I think it has caused a great deal of damage to children.”
And she also said would make sure single-sex loos would be brought back into schools that had replaced them with mixed loos, saying: “Young girls should be able to have the privacy they need.”
In a quickfire round she said was “horrified” watching Love Island and turned it off after ten minutes, despite her teenage daughter being a fan.
She said England and Wales SHOULD go to the World Cup in Qatar despite the Gulf state’s human rights record.
She also said she had never taken drugs.