By Kate Holton and Andrew MacAskill

LONDON (Reuters) -British Overseas Secretary Liz Truss entered the race to interchange Boris Johnson as prime minister on Monday, taking the variety of candidates in an more and more bitter and unpredictable contest to 11.

Truss, who has held ministerial jobs in plenty of authorities departments together with commerce, justice and the treasury, mentioned she would slash taxes and preserve a troublesome line in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Johnson was compelled out final Thursday after his authorities imploded over a sequence of scandals.

The competition is for the management of the ruling Conservative Get together, with the winner then turning into prime minister. The purpose is to discover a successor by September.

"I'll lead a authorities dedicated to core Conservative ideas: low taxes, a agency grip on spending, driving progress within the financial system, and giving folks the chance to attain something they need to obtain," she mentioned in a marketing campaign video.

The race adopted one of the crucial outstanding intervals in fashionable British political historical past, when greater than 50 authorities ministers give up, denouncing Johnson's character, integrity and incapacity to inform the reality.

With many lawmakers sad with the disgraced Johnson remaining in workplace till a successor is discovered, the occasion is prone to speed up the election course of. It may insist that candidates have the backing of round 30 lawmakers to enter the method, earlier than voting begins this week to whittle the quantity down to 2.

The problem of tax cuts was quick turning into the central battle within the race with practically the entire candidates promising to chop enterprise or private taxes.

Setting out her pitch to the Conservative Get together's 200,000 members who will determine the result of the competition, Truss mentioned she would reverse the current rise in Nationwide Insurance coverage contributions and signalled a reduce to company tax.

Fellow contenders Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid have each pledged to chop company tax, whereas the previous defence minister Penny Mordaunt has promised to chop gasoline obligation.

Former finance minister Rishi Sunak is the early entrance runner, however he's the one candidate who has performed down the prospect of imminent tax cuts, saying the adoption of "comforting fairy tales" would go away future generations worse off.

"Somebody has to grip this second," he mentioned in his launch video.

This has prompted his rivals to assault his financial document after the tax burden rose to the very best stage for the reason that 1950s. One lawmaker confirmed {that a} file criticising Sunak's document had been circulating on lawmaker WhatsApp teams.


Nadhim Zahawi, appointed finance minister within the turmoil of final week, mentioned he was additionally being focused by rivals after media experiences raised questions in regards to the former businessman's private funds and tax document.

"I used to be clearly being smeared," he informed Sky Information.

Whoever wins the management race shall be confronted with a frightening in-tray.

Britain's financial system is going through rocketing inflation, excessive debt, and low progress, with folks dealing with the tightest squeeze on their funds in a long time, all set in opposition to a backdrop of an vitality crunch exacerbated by the battle in Ukraine which has despatched gasoline costs hovering.

On the difficulty of immigration, all the principle management candidates have pledged to maintain the federal government's coverage of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, exhibiting how the occasion has moved to the suitable of the political spectrum in recent times.

Different candidates embody the lawyer basic, Suella Braverman, the chair of parliament's overseas affairs committee Tom Tugendhat, and the transport secretary Grant Shapps.

One Conservative member of parliament mentioned he was astonished by the variety of his folks coming into the management contest.

"I should not be stunned by the ambitions and the delusions of a few of my colleagues, however I'm," he mentioned. "I anticipate we'll slender down the record of candidates in a short time."

The opposition labour chief Keir Starmer in a speech took purpose at an "arms race of fantasy economics" from the Conservative management candidates, claiming that greater than 200 billion kilos ($239 billion) of commitments made by them over the weekend had been unfunded.

Within the first media look since Johnson introduced his resignation, the prime minister declined on Monday to endorse any of the candidates who're within the race to interchange him, saying he didn't need to harm their possibilities.

"The job of the prime minister at this stage is to let the occasion determine," he mentioned.

($1 = 0.8357 kilos)

(Further reporting by Muvija M. Modifying by Angus MacSwan and Hugh Lawson)

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