HAVING watched the Conservative leadership debate last night between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss ("Truss and Sunak clash in noisy head-to-head debate", The Herald, July 26), my position remains unchanged in so far as I am dismayed that Westminster MPs have chosen to select, as their finalists, two candidates with the least chance of reviving Tory Party fortunes.

Both are tainted by their close association with Boris Johnson, having served in his Cabinet, and in the case of Liz Truss still there as Foreign Secretary, and if ever there was a chance to make a clean break from the current regime, then this was it. However, the Conservative MPs, in the main, chose familiar names instead of opting for a clean break by selecting either Penny Mordaunt, who was clearly unfairly maligned by some of them along with the Tory press, or Kemi Badenoch or even Tom Tugendhat, a former soldier.

Not only would any one of these candidates have brought a refreshing new look to the party but also a raft of ideas for fixing the many issues that affect our country today. In addition, they would have put some distance between themselves and the Partygate fiasco that many incumbent Downing Street and Whitehall officials have been mired in over recent months. Alas, a lack of vision has prevailed and unfortunately, for that reason I forecast a Labour victory at the next election, and Tory MPs will only have themselves to blame.

Christopher H Jones, Giffnock.


THE Conservative Party is supposedly the most successful election-winning machine in history. Well, it's only firing on two of its three cylinders at the moment: its MPs and the voting public. They rightly favour Rishi Sunak while the other cylinder, its members, who three weeks ago were resigned to ditching Boris Johnson, are now in the huff with the person who risked his political future to initiate the ditching process. Cutting off their hard noses to spite their torn faces, you might say.

If this was a process managed by a team of headhunters looking for a CEO with charisma, focus on the share price and profitability, good handle on corporate governance and health and safety (aka public services and defence), they'd recommend Mr Sunak.

I though both candidates did much better in last night's debate, and if the Conservatives want to win the next election they need to make Mr Sunak PM, give Ms Truss any key role other than Chancellor, and project them both as their "dream ticket".

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven.


I HAVE just watched the live TV head-to-head between the two Tory PM contenders and was once again struck by the fact that, apart from tributes to the late David Trimble and Liz Truss recalling her Paisley "upbringing", none of the devolved "partners" in the United Kingdom merited a mention. Not even a solitary kilted, haggis-fed caber-tosser could be spotted among the audience of Stoke-on-Trent Tories. Swearing unswerving allegiance to Brexit and ending illegal immigration appeared to be the only issues on which the rivals were in total agreement.

Why did I feel as if I had tuned in to a broadcast from another country?

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

• CAN anybody tell me why any of us, apart from the media and the minuscule percentage of the population who will decide the result, should be in any way excited by the current Tory leadership election? Two candidates who, disgracefully, backed then back-stabbed the current useless tenant of No 10 and who, whichever wins, will probably spend even less time in that once-respected address.

In the words of the immortal Bertie Wooster, created by that truly great Englishman, PG Wodehouse: "What a crew, I mean, What a crew!"

Dave Henderson, Glasgow.


THE 42 million people who were, as claimed by Francis Deigman (Letters, July 26), eligible to select Boris Johnson as Prime Minister had no such power. The 47 million people registered to vote in 2019, including those in Northern Ireland who could not vote for a supporter of Boris Johnson, simply had the power to select their own Member of Parliament. The Prime Minister would be whoever had the necessary support to form a government. By that token the next Prime Minister should be chosen by the Members of Parliament who support the current Government and not by members of the Conservative and Unionist Party, nor the electorate at large.

Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007 without any vote within the Labour Party or elsewhere. Similarly, Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister of Scotland in 2014 without any opposition from within the Scottish National Party and was duly elected to the post by Members of the Scottish Parliament with a comfortable majority over Ruth Davidson.

Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh.


WALTER Paul (Letters, July 25) calls the First Minister "divisive, clever, dictatorial and the most selfish leader of a political party ever to be found in recent years". Perhaps he could draw breath and reflect on those to whom the comment should really be addressed: those who have been creating the headlines in recent days. Those who have been creating rebellion within their own ranks, calling for their leader to go, throwing the country into even more chaos and crisis, resulting in the sheer shambles that is currently UK politics amidst a cost-of-living crisis.

Both the Conservatives and Labour have been unable to light a candle against the SNP at the polling stations, so have sunk to a new low of personal attacks.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


STAN Grodynski (Letters, July 26) manages to be wrong in three different ways when comparing Scotland's referendum processes to those of Northern Ireland.

First, he neglects that the increased powers of Holyrood post-2014 were negotiated by the Smith Commission. At the end of its deliberations, all Holyrood parties happily agreed a set of powers which significantly did not include any change to those relating to independence referendums. So no nationalist can really complain except to their own co-signatories to the report.

Secondly, he claims that no-one envisaged Brexit in 2014. In fact, the prospect was raised in the SNP's own White Paper. It may be that no-one took any notice, but that is another story.

Thirdly, he seems to be unaware of a key provision of the Good Friday Agreement, namely that a border poll is not in the hands of Stormont but exclusively in the hands of the Secretary of State and then with the specific requirement that it would be likely to succeed. And if Mr Grodynski really wants the same for Scotland, all I can say is "be careful what you wish for".

Peter A Russell, Glasgow.


CAROLINE Wilson ("Why The Herald is fighting dementia injustice", The Herald, July 23) asks: "Is it fair that because of their diagnosis, people living with dementia must foot the bill for round the clock nursing care that would be free if they had another terminal illness?"

Having worked as a staff nurse in care homes for 14 years, anyone admitted for care stayed till end of life. Nowadays it is not legally permitted to write on a death certificate that the cause of death was old age. As well as campaigning for those with dementia to be excused paying should this campaign not extend to all who need care until the end of their days?

Prior to the proliferation of care homes it would seem that most people who needed care at the end of their days received it in geriatric hospitals. This was not a satisfactory solution, but no one paid for their care at end of life post-1948 with the introduction of the NHS.

But another issue needs to be addressed. There are also those who reside in care homes for a much longer time than those with dementia. They are those living with neurological illnesses like multiple sclerosis. There seems to be no other place for those who are young and need round-the-clock care, apart from a care home which may not be specifically geared to their needs.

The question has to be asked: shouldn’t they also be excused paying for their care?

Irene Munro, Conon Bridge.

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