Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss snubs journalists on Hampshire visit

By David George   |   Local Democracy Reporter for Hampshire   |
Monday 8th August 2022 2:38 pm
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Tory leadership rivals Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak (Houses of Parliament )

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Prime minister candidate and MP Liz Truss has snubbed journalist questions about how her leadership would benefit Hampshire.

The South West Norfolk MP, who is battling with Rishi Sunak for the top job in Downing Street, met with Conservative members at the Queen’s Hotel in Southsea last Friday.

However, after initially claiming that “the local press will have its pound of flesh” Mrs Truss did not answer questions, and a reporter following her on her way out was physically pushed aside by her security.

Local Democracy Reporting Service journalist, David George, was intending to ask her how her defence spending plans would impact the Royal Navy, how she would respond to Hampshire’s dentistry and GP crisis and her thoughts on the pan-Hampshire county deal, which would see devolved powers given to local authorities.

While the Downing Street hopeful did speak with members about defence spending – where she has pledged an increase of three per cent of GDP – all other questions remained unanswered.

Speaking to members at the event, she said: “We face a huge threat from Vladimir Putin – that’s why I’m proud that we were the first European country to send weapons to Ukraine but that’s not enough.

“We need to make sure we’re improving our own defences to reflect the fact we’re living in a more dangerous world.

“Portsmouth has a very important role to play in that.”

During her speech, the Conservative candidate pledged a u-turn on the transforming cities fund – which is set to help pay for the new Gosport Bus Station, changes to the Portsbridge roundabout and an overhaul of the A27 in Fareham.

She also insisted that “a woman is a woman” and vowed to protect single-sex spaces.

On her way out, Mr George approached Mrs Truss with a couple of questions, but was told by security that “we are running late, we’ve got to go”.

It’s at this point that a member of her security physically blocked journalists from following her.

Responding to Truss’ campaign visit the Labour MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said: “As this dreary side-show rattles on, the real problems facing Portsmouth and our country are being ignored by the Conservatives.

“The two continuity candidates in Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have no answers to sky-high inflation, rocketing energy bills and the lengthy recession the Bank of England has warned is on the horizon.

“Whichever candidate wins: their low-growth, low-wage plans won’t fix the damage the Conservatives have done during their 12 years in power, nor will they address the chronic underinvestment in Portsmouth this government has overseen.”

The Herald has given Mrs Truss’ camp the opportunity to respond.

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