Politics

‘She will be, uh…’ Awkward moment MP left stuttering over explanation of Truss’ vision

Burley skewers Truss supporter over plans to combat 19% inflation

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Asked by Sky News’ Kay Burley to “tell me about her bold vision”, Truss backer Chloe Smith, who is the minister of state for disabled people, work and health, looked lost for words as she scrambled for an answer. She began by saying the foreign secretary “will be continuing to support the actions the Government has already taken”, before Ms Burley interrupted to say that Ms Truss “needs much much more than that”. It comes as Ms Truss said ahead of the Birmingham hustings today that she would put the West Midlands “at the heart of our economic revival” as part of her “bold vision”. 

Ms Smith said: “I would love Liz Truss to become Prime Minister for reasons I have already been clear on and I think she has a bold vision, but she will have to have all the data available to her at that time [of becoming Prime Minister] then to be able to make her decisions.” 

Ms Burley said: “Tell me about her bold vision? What is she going to do to help people?” 

Ms Smith said: “Well, uh, in the context of the cost of living she will be, uh, she will be continuing to support the actions the Government has already taken.” Ms Burley responded: “She needs much much more than that.” 

Ms Smith continued: “And, well, the news that I am bringing afresh is, uh, that the disability payments, the £150 that we began by talking about, will be rolling out from September 20. So, I hope that this new information is of some comfort to people. 

“That is part of a plan that gets over £1200 pounds into the pockets of those in households where most people live. 

“Now, that is really important, actually. In addition, Liz Truss has said that if she becomes the next Prime Minister, she does not rule out further help for the most vulnerable. 

Ms Burley said: “What does that look like?” Ms Smith responded: “I can’t tell you Kay, as you well know, because that would be the subject of her emergency budget.” 

Ms Burley said: “Well, that’s what people want to know!” Ms Smith responded: “Indeed, they do, and they will have to keep watching your programmes and others as the autumn rolls on.” 

Ms Burley said: “Yes but they are not necessarily going to vote for her if they do not know what she stands for.” 

The segment came to an awkward end as the pair continued to talk over one another. Ms Smith got halfway through her sentence, saying “what Liz has already set out is clearly…”, before Ms Burley interrupted to finish the phrase, saying “not enough”. 

Ahead of today’s Tory leadership debate in Birmingham, the third last hustings of the campaign, Ms Truss, who is currently the frontrunner in the race, set out her plan to boost growth and drive opportunity across the West Midlands.

Through lower taxes, better regulation and supply side reform, the foreign secretary believes she will create a favourable environment for the private sector, getting behind firms in the region, if she becomes prime minister.

Ms Truss also pledged to deliver key infrastructure projects, including the Midlands Rail Hub, and support West Midlands mayor Andy Street to deliver the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill metro extension in full.

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She said she would also put the government’s full weight behind efforts to bring a battery gigafactory to the region. Ms Truss said: “I will put the West Midlands at the heart of our economic revival with my Conservative plan to level up.

“My bold vision for lower taxes, supply side reform and regulation that works for our businesses will utilise the power of the West Midlands economy to boost opportunity for people across the region.

“From Coventry’s cars to Stoke’s ceramics, the West Midlands is a vital part of the UK’s economic engine, and plays host to some of the most innovative industries and companies in the country.

“My plan will support and harness that power, helping our businesses grow and provide the high-quality jobs that we need. The West Midlands can play a critical role in a new economic revolution in Britain.”

“I will cut taxes on families and firms, support vital infrastructure and create new investment zones to deliver for the people of the West Midlands. I will also strengthen devolution to put more power in the hands of our excellent local leaders like Andy Street.”

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