Truss hits back at 'militant activists' after eco mob crash hustings

5 August 2022, 21:22 | Updated: 5 August 2022, 21:26

Eco protesters crashed the event.
Eco protesters crashed the event. Picture: Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Liz Truss has slammed "militant activists" after eco protesters crashed her opening speech at Friday's Tory hustings.

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Five protesters interrupted Ms Truss' speech at the hustings in Eastbourne, shouting "shame on you" and "Green New Deal".

Tory members in the audience could be heard chanting "out, out, out!"

The Foreign Secretary described the protesters as "infiltrators", continuing: "Can I just say a few words on the militant people who try and disrupt our country and who try and disrupt our democratic process and try and disrupt our essential services.

"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."

She added: "And 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.

"I will never ever, ever allow our democracy to be disrupted by unfair protests."

However, it was not the last showdown Ms Truss had with the eco mob, with them later disrupting her Q&A at the event.

Ms Truss said: "I take it as a compliment that I'm so popular with Extinction Rebellion."

Read more: Truss says recession 'not inevitable' as Tory leadership hopefuls clash over Bank's dire economic warning

Read more: People who 'vilify' UK face being treated as extremists under Rishi Sunak plans

Five protesters were kicked out of the Tory leadership hustings
Five protesters were kicked out of the Tory leadership hustings. Picture: Getty

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak vowed to crack down on "lefty woke culture".

He said at the hustings: "I will be incredibly robust in standing up to the lefty woke culture that is trying to cancel our history, our values and indeed our women."

It came after he said last week that he would review the Equalities Act to stop the "woke nonsense" it has allowed to "permeate public life".

He said he had "zero interest in fighting a so-called culture war" but pledged to "end the brainwashing, the vandalism and the finger pointing".

Rishi Sunak at the hustings in Eastbourne
Rishi Sunak at the hustings in Eastbourne. Picture: Getty

The head-to-head between the Tory leadership rivals was the fourth of 12 hustings.

Ms Truss' bid to become PM got a major boost after former minister Nus Ghani came out in support of her campaign at the beginning of the debate.

She was introduced by Ms Ghani, who told Tory members that because of her role as the vice-chairwoman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs, she had not been able to back a candidate until this stage of the race.

She said: "Liz is straightforward. When she tells you she's going to do something, you can trust her that it will get done. Liz listens.

"When colleagues come forward with ideas or problems to solve, she engages with them. She is inclusive.

"I've been a minister and now a backbencher. And my experience with Liz Truss is that she is both fair and honest."

She added: "It's Liz that is going to bring us together."

Forrmer chancellor Rishi Sunak was instead introduced by Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, who told members Mr Sunak is the best candidate to "beat Keir Starmer and to win the next election".