James O'Brien on Liz Truss' 'incompetence, cowardice, and dishonesty' in pay U-turn

3 August 2022, 12:57 | Updated: 3 August 2022, 13:13

By Tim Dodd

This is James O'Brien's epic takedown of "useless, cowardly and dishonest" Liz Truss who announced a "ridiculous policy" on public sector pay "and then disowned it... and then lied about it".

Yesterday Liz Truss rapidly U-turned on her pledge to cut public sector pay by almost £9bn after the idea was savaged by Rishi Sunak and Labour.

The foreign secretary had proposed to save money on Government employees by introducing regional pay that could see staff who live in cheaper places than London and the South East paid less.

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

A Truss campaign spokeswoman 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."

After playing a clip of Liz Truss saying that her policy had been "misrepresented", James told listeners: "So she's not only lying about what happened yesterday, she's lying about her whole life because it was when she was Chief Secretary to the treasury to Theresa May, that she endorsed this policy.

"If she wasn't talking about regional pay boards designed to cut the pay of nurses and everybody else in the public sector working outside London and the South East, then anyone who has the pleasure of talking to her in the coming days would have to say 'how were you going to save £8.8bn if it wasn't going to affect all of these people?'."

James asked how Liz Truss could demonstrate "epic incompetence, followed by epic cowardice because she disowns her own incompetence, followed by epic dishonesty - all in a 12 hour window" without it making "the blindest bit of difference to the Conservative leadership campaign".

Despite the backlash her initial plans received, the Tory leadership frontrunner Liz Truss had reason to celebrate on Tuesday, as a YouGov poll of Conservative Party members showed her lead over rival Rishi Sunak has increased to 34 points.

The YouGov poll shows 60% of the party members polled between July 29 and August 2 say they intend to vote for Ms Truss, the Foreign Secretary, up from 49% in the period July 20 to 21, which was immediately after the final two were announced.

Meanwhile, support for the former chancellor has dropped in the poll, from 31% to 26%, over the same period.

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