Liz Truss’s campaign has U-turned on its original plan to cut public sector pay outside of London.
It comes after the plan received significant criticism from other MP’s, unions and the general public.
A spokesperson for Liz Truss’s campaign has claimed there had been “wilful misrepresentation” of the leadership candidate’s public sector pay cut plan.
There would be “no proposal taken forward on regional pay boards for civil servants or public sector workers”, they said.
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The spokesperson said:
“Over the last few hours there has been a wilful misrepresentation of our campaign.
Current levels of public sector pay will absolutely be maintained.
Anything to suggest otherwise is simply wrong.
Our hard-working frontline staff are the bedrock of society and there will be no proposal taken forward on regional pay boards for civil servants or public sector workers.”
But this statement too has already faced criticism, notably from those MPs supporting Rishi Sunak. The Conservative former chief whip and Sunak supporter, Mark Harper said that Liz Truss should “stop blaming journalists” in response to the spokesperson’s mentioning of a “wilful misrepresentation of our campaign”.
Meanwhile, Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire said “we need a Prime Minister who is a political signpost not a weathervane”.
By contrast, Truss supporting Fay Jones MP, said, “Sensible move to u-turn and scrap these
Opposition parties have been quick to jump on the apparent Truss U-Turn.
Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, has tweeted this regarding Liz Truss’ u-turn on her flagship policy of cutting public sector pay outside of London:
Having spent 18 months shadowing Liz Truss, the idea of her not realising what she’s signed up to is not exactly novel: the freeports fiasco, the shipbuilding blunder, the list goes on. After all, this is the minister who writes TL;DR with dead eye emojis on policy submissions….— Emily Thornberry (@EmilyThornberry) August 2, 2022
And the Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey agrees. He accused Liz Truss of running her leadership campaign with “incompetence”.
About the policy change, he said:
“U-turning on a multibillion-pound policy five weeks before even taking office must be a new record.
We can’t let Liz Truss run the country with the same incompetence she’s running her leadership campaign. The British people must have their say in a general election.”
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will take part in their next televised debate on Sky News on the 4th August.
Before that, they will embark on their third members’ hustings in Cardiff on 3rd August to decide which of the contenders will succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.
Liz Truss remains the book-makers favourite, but perceived campaign mis-steps may yet have an influence in the contest.
There are signs of a counter narrative developing in terms of the size of Liz Truss’ potential lead with party members. It is suggested that Rishi Sunak is polling better with Conservative members in the south of England than elsewhere. With almost three fifths of Conservative members thought to live in London and the South East of England, the views of this membership cohort is likely to prove decisive.