Truss hints she could scrap motorway speed limits and pledges to ban smart motorways if she becomes PM

31 August 2022, 22:58 | Updated: 1 September 2022, 00:01

Liz Truss pledges to ban smart motorways

By Sophie Barnett

Tory leadership frontrunner Liz Truss has hinted that she could scrap mandatory speed limits on smart motorways if she becomes Prime Minister.

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Ms Truss told Nick Ferrari at the twelfth, and final, leadership hustings on Wednesday, that she was “prepared to look at” introducing a German-style system of smart motorways with no mandatory speed limits.

An audience member asked Ms Truss whether she would "restore hard shoulders" and "change the speed limit from mandatory to advisory".

He said: "Smart motorways kill. They also cause long delays because they close lanes off when there's a breakdown. They also often impose very low speed limits, mandatory ones, much lower than necessary, so will you restore hard shoulders to all motorways and in the meantime will you change the speed limit from mandatory to advisory?"

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"I agree with you, I absolutely think we need to review them and stop them if they are not working as soon as possible," Ms Truss replied.

"And on speed limits, again, I would be prepared to look at that."

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She also pledged to ban smart motorways, telling Conservative party members that where they have been found to be unsafe, we need “to review them and stop them as soon as possible”.

“I do believe the smart motorway experiment hasn’t worked," she told LBC presenter Nick Ferrari, live at Wednesday's hustings at Wembley Arena.

Pressed on whether she would stop them, Ms Truss replied: "Yes."

In Germany, most autobahns have no speed limit, but drivers face increased liability if they are involved in a crash while travelling at very high speeds.

Ms Truss said she would work to end smart motorways, which have been paused in the UK because of safety concerns.

On other policy areas, Ms Truss claimed there would be no new taxes or energy rationing if she became prime minister, as she dropped hints about further cost-of-living support.

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The Tory leadership frontrunner reiterated her two priorities are to cut taxes and to secure the UK's energy supply as people across the country battle soaring costs.

She added a third priority would be to address costs in the form of a budget or a "fiscal event", telling the audience: "In a fiscal event, the chancellor would address the issue of household support."

Asked by LBC's Nick Ferrari whether she would agree to no new taxes as outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson did, Ms Truss said: "Yes, no new taxes."

Ms Truss also confirmed she would "absolutely be looking to act on business energy costs" amid concerns over the crippling effect of high bills.

Pressed on whether she could rule out energy rationing, Ms Truss replied: "I do rule that out."

Rival Rishi Sunak, who had a warm-up video labelling himself the "underdog", offered a less definitive answer on the issue of energy rationing.

He said: "We shouldn't rule anything out because the challenges that we face with this crisis are significant."

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