Liz Truss snaps back at militant eco-protestors who STOPPED her opening remarks at Tory hustings

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Liz Truss was left fuming by eco-protesters who stormed tonight's Tory leadership hustings in Eastbourne before being removed by security.

The Foreign Secretary snapped back at the eco-warriors who could be heard shouting 'shame' and calling for a Green New Deal to be implemented by a new Prime Minister.

Five protesters were kicked out of the Tory leadership hustings in Eastbourne after shouting 'shame on you' to Liz Truss, calling for a 'Green New Deal' and claiming to be the majority. Tory members in the audience could be heard chanting 'out, out, out!' 

Ms Truss said that she would legislate to stop the likes of these protesters and vowed to clamp down on them immediately if she wins the leadership.

The Foreign Secretary snapped back at the eco-warriors who could be heard shouting 'shame' and calling for a Green New Deal to be implemented by a new Prime Minister

Ms Truss said that she would legislate to stop the likes of these protestors and vowed to clamp down on them immediately if she wins the leadership

'I would legislate immediately to make sure that we are standing up to militant trade unions who stop ordinary commuters getting into work.

'And I would legislate to protect our essential services. I will make sure that militant activists such as Extinction Rebellion are not able to disrupt ordinary people who work hard and do the right thing and go into work.

'And I will never ever ever allow our democracy to be disrupted by unfair protests.'

The protesters were from Green New Deal Rising, a youth climate group, and they said: 'This is a critical moment for our country. Our next Prime Minister should be responding to what the majority wants, which is good wages, secure jobs and a safe climate.

'But Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are clogging up the airwaves with policies that will make things worse, not better.

'Energy bills are set to rise to over £3000 a year and nothing they have announced will come anywhere near putting that money back in people's pockets.

'We disrupted the hustings tonight to send a clear message that we are the majority and we are rising up.'

'Liz Truss is leading in the polls and is likely to become the next Prime Minister but she has nothing credible to say in response to the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis. The UK just experienced record breaking heat waves and energy giants are raking in billions of profit whilst every day people are pushed further into poverty as prices soar and wages stagnate.

'As young people who are scared for our futures, we desperately need a Green New Deal and political leadership to meet this moment of crisis rather than this sideshow.'

It comes as her opponent Rishi Sunak is under fire from Tories and Labour today after he was recorded saying he had been working to divert funding from 'deprived urban areas' towards prosperous towns.

Responding to the furore, Mr Sunak said: 'I wanna level up everywhere, and as you may have seen from a video clip that is online, I don't believe that's just about our very large urban cities.

'I believe that's about investing in and leveling up small towns in rural communities, in coastal communities like those here in the south-east.'

The intervention garnered applause from the watching Conservative members despite widespread backlash to his earlier remarks. 

The former chancellor was filmed bragging that he had started changing public funding formulas when he was chancellor to ensure places like Tunbridge Wells receive 'the funding they deserve'.

The New Statesman magazine, which obtained video revealing Mr Sunak's remarks, said they were made to grassroots Tories in the Kent town on July 29.

It promoted criticism, with Foreign Office minister Lord Zac Goldsmith - a close ally of Boris Johnson - saying: 'This is one of the weirdest - and dumbest - things I've ever heard from a politician.'

Jake Berry, the chairman of the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, said that in public Mr Sunak 'claims he wants to level up the North, but here, he boasts about trying to funnel vital investment away from deprived areas'.

'He says one thing and does another - from putting up taxes to trying to block funding for our armed forces and now levelling up,' the Truss supporter said.

Labour said it was 'scandalous' that Mr Sunak was 'openly boasting that he fixed the rules to funnel taxpayers' money to rich Tory shires'.

But his supporters insisted he was talking about moving money from big cities to smaller urban areas, one of the key aims of levelling up.

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said' Strangely enough, most Red Wall areas that voted Conservative for the first time in 2019 - who have been left behind for decades -aren't urban/city areas. Exactly the whole point of levelling up.

 'They should post the full clip, which would show Rishi Sunak talk about the local council funding formula and how it discriminated against non metropolitan areas in favour of cities - by giving them less money for things like adult and children services, highways and fire.'

It came as Mr Sunak struggles to make up ground on Liz Truss  - who has made her own gaffe about northern areas in the campaign - in the race to become the new Tory leader and PM.

The former chancellor was filmed bragging that he had started changing public funding formulas when he was chancellor to ensure more prosperous towns receive 'the funding they deserve'.

Labour said it was 'scandalous' that Mr Sunak was 'openly boasting that he fixed the rules to funnel taxpayers' money to rich Tory shires'. Pictured is Tunbridge Wells town centre

It promoted criticism from allies of Liz Truss, with Boris Johnson loyalist Lord Goldsmith calling it 'one of the weirdest - and dumbest - things I've ever heard from a politician'. But Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said' Strangely enough, most Red Wall areas that voted Conservative for the first time in 2019 - who have been left behind for decades -aren't urban/city areas. Exactly the whole point of levelling up.'

Ms Truss has been accused by rival Rishi Sunak of unveiling economic plans that will drive up inflation and borrowing.

Minister insists Boris Johnson and Nadhim Zahawi are in 'regular contact' over economy despite holidays

A Cabinet minister defended Boris Johnson and Nadhim Zahawi's holiday plans today amid criticism that they are abroad while economists warn of a looming economic disaster.

Mr Johnson and Carrie are believed to be in Slovenia on a 'mini-moon' after a belated wedding celebration last weekend. 

At the same time, Chancellor Mr Zahawi has whisked his family off to their holiday home abroad, with Uk politics having largely shut down for the summer.

His deputy, Treasury Chief Secretary Simon Clarke, remains in London but has yet to appear publicly to discuss the situation.  

Completing a sense of a political vacuum, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is also on holiday. 

It came as the Bank Of England sent out a dire warning for the state of the economy in the coming months.

It predicted a five-quarter recession starting late this year and inflation hitting 13 per cent, up from a previous estimate of 11 per cent.

No10 has previously said that the PM will be keeping abreast of events while away. And this morning Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said he is in 'regular' contact with both men, adding: 'I'm here, I'm in your studio, I'm in a suit, I'm not on holiday'.

He admitted he 'doesn't know' where the PM is, but asked where the Chancellor is, Mr Kwarteng told Sky News: 'The Chancellor of the Exchequer is always available.'

Mr Sunak's campaign did not dispute the video and instead defended its content.

'Levelling up isn't just about city centres, it's also about towns and rural areas all over the country that need help too. That's what he changed in the green book and he will follow though as prime minister,' a source said.

'Travelling around the country, he's seen non-metropolitan areas that need better bus services, faster broadband or high quality schools. That's what he'll deliver as prime minister.'

In the video, Mr Sunak told Tory supporters in affluent Tunbridge Wells: 'I managed to start changing the funding formulas, to make sure areas like this are getting the funding they deserve because we inherited a bunch of formulas from Labour that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas and that needed to be undone.

'I started the work of undoing that.'

The remarks from last week came as Mr Sunak tries to make up ground against Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to win the backing of party members who will choose the next prime minister.

Labour's shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy said: 'This is scandalous. Rishi Sunak is openly boasting that he fixed the rules to funnel taxpayers' money to rich Tory shires.

'This is our money. It should be spent fairly and where it's most needed - not used as a bribe to Tory members.

'Talk about showing your true colours...'

She today wrote to Levelling-Up Secretary Greg Clark - who happens to be the MP for Tunbridge Wells, saying; 

'This is deeply concerning. The former Chancellor is admitting to fixing the rules to funnel taxpayers' money to affluent parts of the country at the expense of areas he himself admits are ''deprived''.

'Public money should always be distributed fairly and spent in areas where it is most needed. It is completely unacceptable for ministers to allocate taxpayer funds in order to secure political gain for themselves or their party.'

The need to improve areas of the north and Midlands has proven an Achilles heel for both candidates.

Liz Truss U-turned to scrap a major part of a proposed 'war on Whitehall waste' this week after Tory critics warned it meant cutting the pay of millions of workers outside the South East, leading to an electoral disaster.

The Foreign Secretary announced plans to save up to £11billion with major reforms to Civil Service pay and conditions.

Some £8.8billion of savings was to come from axing national pay boards outside the South East and tailoring pay for new starters to reflect local private sector rates.

But in order to save the colossal sum experts said the scheme would have to reduce pay for all public sector workers - including teachers, nurses and soldiers - and not just civil servants. This was denied by Team Truss.

But she reversed the plan today after criticism from Northern Tories and supporters of Rishi Sunak over how it would be seen in the Red Wall seats the party took from Labour at the last election, at a time of growing cost-of-living fears.

Ms Truss could bring in a sweeping round of tax cuts before the end of September as she insists a full-blown recession is not 'inevitable'.

The favourite to become the new Tory leader and prime minister is believed to have earmarked September 21  - two weeks after taking power - for her chancellor to hold an emergency budget.

The Bank of England has increased interest rates from 1.25 per cent to 1.75 per cent

The Bank of England has predicted that inflation will reach 13% in the coming months

It came amid dire warnings for the future of the UK economy as the Bank of England predicted a five-quarter recession starting late this year and inflation hitting 13 per cent.

Last night in a live TV debate on Sky News both she and rival Rishi Sunak insisted that their economic plans were the right way forward. They face another interrogation at a hustings in Eastbourne this evening.

She has pledged to cut National Insurance and scrap a planned Corporation Tax rise. But Mr Sunak has said his own cuts would have to wait until inflation was back under control because that is the most important issue.

Speaking in London today she acknowledged there will be a 'tough winter' ahead but said there is a need to move away from the 'business-as-usual' policies to help 'reform the economy'.

On a visit to meet key investors in the City of London, she told reporters: 'The reality is we're facing a recession if we carry on with our business-as-usual policies.

'People are struggling - whether it's to pay food bills or fuel bills - that's why it's very important we reverse the national insurance increase, we have a temporary moratorium on the green energy levy to help people with their fuel bills.

'The most important thing is getting the economy going so we avoid a recession and the business-as-usual policies aren't working, we need to do more, and that's why I am determined to reform the economy and keep taxes low.'

However both Tory leadership contenders tax cut plans were criticised by experts today, amid forecasts of economic doom.

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the 'fiscal headroom' they have quoted in order to make it work may no longer exist.

'What they're talking about is that the Office for Budget Responsibility at the time said that we'd be borrowing about £30 billion less than we absolutely could to meet the fiscal target of a balanced current budget in a few years' time,' he said.

'Now that was itself highly uncertain and still gave us a fairly high probability of not meeting the Conservatives' own fiscal rules, but more importantly now with the economy changing and completely going into recession, inflation much higher than expected, those numbers are massively out of date.

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