Mordaunt and Rayner clash over tax, NHS waiting lists and net zero

Penny Mordaunt and Angela Rayner engaged in heated exchanges during the BBC General Election Debate, as they clashed over tax, NHS waiting lists, and the push for net zero.

The Commons leader continued to repeat the claim made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that Labour would raise taxes by £2,000 if elected, prompting Labour’s deputy leader Ms Rayner to accuse Ms Mordaunt of lying.

Meanwhile, Ms Rayner received applause from the audience after she said former Conservative prime minister Liz Truss “crashed” the economy.

General Election campaign 2024
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner and Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt shake hands after taking part in the BBC Election Debate (Jeff Overs/PA)

Despite these attacks, the pair shook hands at the end of the debate.

Ms Mordaunt told the audience: “We have got to cut taxes and we have got to alleviate the burdens on business.

“Angela Rayner’s party – Keir Starmer confirmed this earlier this week – they are going to put up your taxes by £2,000 per working household.”

Ms Rayner said “that is a lie” and added that the Government had raised taxes to a “record level”.

The pair then began to shout over each other before debate host Mishal Hussain cut them off.

“That was terribly dignified wasn’t it?” Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer, who also took part in the seven-party debate, added.

The Tories’ £2,000 claim has been criticised, with Sir Keir accusing Mr Sunak of lying about how the sum was calculated.

On reducing healthcare waiting lists, Ms Mordaunt said: “There are many things we need to do, but there are two really important things.

“We have to keep the budget strong. We need a strong economy.”

She continued: “Labour’s plans to tax your future pension, senior nurses and doctors, is going to get healthcare professionals to leave the service. That is going to lead to more waiting lists.”

Stephen Flynn of the SNP watches as Greens co-leader Carla Denyer responds to Labour leader Angela Rayne
Stephen Flynn of the SNP watches as Greens co-leader Carla Denyer responds to Labour leader Angela Rayner (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Ms Rayner responded: “Penny, that’s rubbish and you’ve just said we need a strong economy – you backed Liz Truss and crashed our economy.”

The studio audience applauded as Ms Rayner, a care worker when she entered politics, added: “You made people like me redundant when we were in the homecare service.”

Ms Mordaunt also claimed Labour’s Great British Energy plans – known as GB Energy – would result in “giant bills” for voters.

She said: “It’s not just your taxes that I’m worried about, I’m worried about my constituents being able to afford a Labour government.

“Angela mentioned GB Energy, do you know what the GB stands for? It stands for giant bills, and more bills are coming with the net zero plans that Labour have.”