Liz Truss slammed for saying UK workers should show 'more graft' like Chinese in leaked recording

17 August 2022, 00:00

Liz Truss said British workers need to produce "more graft"
Liz Truss said British workers need to produce "more graft". Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Tory leadership contender Liz Truss said British workers need to produce "more graft" like the Chinese, a leaked voice note has revealed.

The Foreign Secretary suggested UK workers lacked the "skill and application" of foreign rivals in a leaked audio clip which Labour has called "grossly offensive".

Ms Truss can be heard to make the claim in a leaked recording obtained by The Guardian.

In the recording, made while Ms Truss was a minister at the Treasury, she can be heard saying: "There's a fundamental issue of British working culture.

"Essentially, if we're going to be a richer country and a more prosperous country, that needs to change. But I don't think people are that keen to change that."

She added there was a "slight thing in Britain about wanting the easy answers", before saying: "But actually what needs to happen is more... more graft. It's not a popular message."

Read more: UK to launch dispute proceedings against EU over alleged Brexit deal breaches

"Where is the detail Liz? You could hardly make it up!"

She also said that productivity was "very, very different in London from the rest of the country", claiming this was "partly a mindset and attitude thing".

Adding: "If you go to China it’s quite different, I can assure you."

Asked about the remarks at the Tory leadership hustings in Perth on Tuesday, Ms Truss said: "I don't know what you are quoting there but the points that I have always made is what we need in this country is more productivity across the country and we need more economic growth.

Read more: 'Resisting the temptation to give up': Top Tory MP bravely opens up about battle with mental health

"The thing that we don't have enough of is capital investment and that is why it is so important that we get businesses investing, whether it is in the oil and gas industry, whether it is in the whisky industry."

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth referenced an abandoned Truss campaign pledge which would have cut public sector pay outside London, adding: "Now it's revealed she has been saying people outside London don't have the right culture or attitude.

"With wages shrinking thanks to Tory failure to bring inflation under control and years of lacklustre growth, it's grossly offensive for Liz Truss to effectively brand British workers lazy."

Earlier this month on the campaign trail, Ms Truss was forced to abandon an £8.8 billion plan which could have seen public sector pay slashed outside London.

Iain Dale doubts he'll vote Conservative at next election

The Tory leadership frontrunner scrapped the plan for regional pay boards a little over 12 hours after announcing it, following a revolt from senior Conservatives who warned it would be "levelling down" the nation.

Her Tory leadership rival Rishi Sunak and Labour savaged it, claiming it would slash pay for nurses, police and military personnel.

The Foreign Secretary insisted her policy had been "misrepresented", amid growing blue-on-blue attacks, and argued people had been "unnecessarily worried" about cuts as she confirmed she would not be going ahead with the regional pay boards.

Ms Truss was a minister in the Treasury between 2017 and 2019.

Outside the hustings a large crowd of protesters gathered outside shouting "Tory scum" and "Tories out".

People demonstrating outside the city's Concert Hall were seen pushing through barriers and shouting at the attendees before the event started at 7pm on Tuesday.

Police officers were pictured managing the crowds, with people carrying placards saying "Tory scum go away", "refugees welcome" and "No ifs no buts no Tory cuts".

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Police investigating rioting in the Harehills area of Leeds have made a total of 20 arrests

Twenty people arrested after terrifying Leeds riot which saw bus set on fire and police car flipped over

Ligh-Anne Pinnock's niece, 13, is missing

Urgent search launched for Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock’s missing 13-year-old niece

Abdul Ezedi died by suicide, a coroner has ruled

Clapham chemical attacker Abdul Ezedi drowned himself hours after assaulting partner and two girls, inquest finds

Exclusive
Suella Braverman has said she would vote for Donald Trump if she was a US citizen, claiming "the world will be safer" if the Republican presidential hopeful wins the November election.

Sullea Braverman reveals she would vote for Trump if she were American because 'the world would be safer'

Exclusive
Suella Braverman.

Suella Braverman slams Labour scrapping the Rwanda plan claiming it signals the UK is 'open' to illegal migration

Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary has been found guilty of directing a terrorist organisation

Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary found guilty of directing terrorist organisation Al-Muhajiroun

Zara McDermott opened up about the "extremely distressing" events that occurred behind the scenes at Strictly Come Dancing.

'The line should never be crossed': BBC boss apologises for Strictly Come Dancing abuse controversy

Italy Walkway Collapse

Walkway collapses in Italy housing project, killing two and injuring a dozen

Up to five professionals could face the axe on next year’s Strictly Come Dancing

Long-serving strictly stars could face cull following scandals around alleged abusive behaviour

A man has been left fighting for life after being attacked at Seven Sisters

Man fights for life after stabbing at London Underground station - as two women arrested

The girl's mum, dad, and two little sisters died in the crash along with a motorbike rider and pillion passenger

Orphaned girl, 11, to live with aunt after losing whole family in horror car crash - as fundraiser passes £260,000

Tributes have been paid to Harry Savage after the reality TV star was found dead

Tributes pour in for Harry Savage after reality TV star found dead in home

Three men in suits

Hamas and Fatah sign deal to end years-long rift after talks in China

Crowd of people on a hillside

Death toll in Ethiopia mudslides rises to 157 as search operations continue

The bodycam footage of a black woman getting shot by a white police officer has been released

Shocking bodycam footage shows police shooting black woman dead in her home after she rang 911

Tributes have been paid to Clodagh Phelan who died after falling from a hotel balcony in Majorca

Tributes paid to Irish girl Clodagh Phelan, 11, who died in fall from Majorca hotel balcony