CAN WE TRUST TRUSS?All the False Claims During her Campaign to Become Prime Minister
The Conservative leadership frontrunner claims she is “honest” and “straightforward” but has repeatedly misled the public during her bid to succeed Boris Johnson
“I don’t make promises I can’t keep and I am a straightforward person who tells it like it is”, Liz Truss insisted at a Conservative Party hustings earlier this month.
So was she telling the truth?
Well, Byline Times has been closely following her appearances on the campaign trail since launching her bid to become the UK’s next prime minister.
Over that period, she has made a series of entirely false statements to Conservative Party members – which have also misled the wider public.
Taken together, they suggest that Truss, who was only given the opportunity to stand in this contest due to Boris Johnson’s own dishonesty being exposed, may prove to be no more reliable than the man she is set to replace.
Here are all the false claims that Liz Truss has made during her campaign.
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‘I Have Always Acted with Honesty and Integrity’
Truss has tried to make trust the central plank of her campaign, describing herself as “honest” and insisting that she can be “trusted to deliver” for the UK, while her supporters have used the campaign slogan ‘In Liz We Trust’.
However, her record both in Government, and during this campaign, suggests that she is not anywhere near as open and transparent as she likes to claim.
One good example of this came in July when Politico revealed that officials at the International Trade Department had previously warned that her trade deal with New Zealand would boost the UK’s trading partner at the heavy expense of UK farmers.
But rather than disclose this to the public, Truss instead continued to publicly insist that her deal would be a “huge boost” for the UK and allow “British exports to be even more competitive”.
This was directly contrary to the advice she had received from her own officials and caused bafflement – both to UK farmers and even to New Zealand media outlets.
Rather than defend her own “integrity” on this issue, Truss instead ran away from questions about it and refused to even join her Conservative leadership rival Rishi Sunak at a hustings organised by the National Farmers Union last month.
‘I Won’t Cut Pay for Public Sector Workers’
One of the hallmarks of Boris Johnson’s Government was his tendency to be forced into making major U-turns, before then denying that he had ever done any such thing. Truss looks set to continue this practice.
At the start of August, her campaign sent out a press release suggesting that she would save up to £8.8 billion a year from the Government’s budget by reducing the wages of public sector workers outside of London and the south-east.
It stated clearly that this projected saving was based on her regional pay policy being adopted “for all public sector workers in the long-term”.
However, when her announcement prompted an inevitable backlash from the public sector and some Conservative MPs, Truss was forced to make a rapid Johnson-style U-turn.
But rather than admit her error, she instead insisted that she had been “wilfully misrepresented” by the media and suggested that her policy had somehow “never been intended to apply to nurses, doctors and teachers”.
She continued to insist this despite multiple journalists sharing the original press release clearly showing exactly what she had announced.
‘I’m Against Talking Our Country Down’
Truss has repeatedly accused the media and her opponents of “talking the country down” during this contest.
“There’s been too much talking our country down”, she told one hustings, while telling another that “I believe in Britain, unlike some of the media who choose to talk our country down”. Meanwhile she compared her own claimed patriotism to the Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, who she accused of being a “plastic patriot”.
However, her claimed opposition to talking down Britain does not tally well with her own record.
As the Guardian revealed earlier this month, Truss was recorded deriding UK workers as lacking the “graft” and “skill and application” of workers from other countries. “There’s a fundamental issue of British working culture,” she said. “Essentially, if we’re going to be a richer country and a more prosperous country, that needs to change.”
This is not the first time that Truss has put her name to such comments.
In 2012, she jointly co-authored Britannia Unchained with her fellow Conservative MPs Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Kwasi Kwarteng and Chris Skidmore, which accused British workers of being “among the worst idlers in the world”.
The book claimed that British people “work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music”.
‘There Was No Disruption After Brexit’
Truss has claimed to be a passionate Brexiter, with her supporters Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg telling the BBC that their candidate is “as strong a Brexiteer as both of us”.
In reality, she was a passionate supporter of the UK remaining in the EU, telling voters during the 2016 campaign that leaving Europe would devastate the country’s industry.
Asked about this late conversion, Truss has repeatedly claimed that she changed her mind after discovering that the disruption that Remain campaigners had predicted, had not materialised. At one event this summer, she told Conservative Party members that there had in fact been “no disruption” after Brexit.
Truss’ denial flies in the face of all the evidence showing massive delays and disruption at British ports since 2020, with UK businesses also facing huge amounts of new paperwork and bureaucracy since Britain’s exit.
So obvious is this disruption that even the likes of Rees-Mogg now admit it. Asked why his predictions of there being no delays at UK ports after Brexit had been wrong, Rees-Mogg admitted to LBC that “yes of course I got it wrong”.
Post-Brexit BritainA Rotting, Corrupted StateChris Grey
‘I Wanted Boris to Carry On as Prime Minister’
A big part of the reason for Truss’ success in this campaign has been her ability to pose as a supporter of Johnson, who still remains popular with many Conservative Party members.
Unlike Rishi Sunak, who publicly called on the Prime Minister to stand down, Truss told the BBC that “I wanted Boris to carry on as Prime Minister”.
This is not how all of her colleagues recall events, however.
In fact, Truss supporter and ally Vicky Ford told the BBC’s Politics Live show that “I know that at the time when Rishi and others were saying it’s time for him to step down Liz was also of the same view”.
‘I Don’t Agree that Boris Misled Parliament’
This summer’s leadership contest was only called after it became abundantly clear to the public that the Prime Minister could not be taken at his word. His long record of lies over parties in Downing Street, for which he received a police fine, as well as a whole series of other scandals, made it no longer tenable for most Conservative MPs to continue defending him.
Truss, however, has refused to face up to this reality. Asked about the ongoing House of Commons investigation into whether Johnson deliberately misled Parliament, she told one hustings that “I don’t agree that Boris misled Parliament”.
It is hard to see how Truss can honestly make this claim. While some have suggested that there is doubt over whether it can be proven that he ‘knowingly’ misled Parliament, the fact that he did mislead Parliament is entirely undeniable.
Johnson repeatedly told the Commons that there had been “no parties” in Downing Street and that “rules were followed at all times”.
Both of these claims have been investigated by the Metropolitan Police and found to be entirely false. There were parties and the rules were not followed at all times. Johnson, therefore misled Parliament.
By suggesting otherwise, Truss is merely further misleading the country she claims she can be trusted to lead.
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