Tory leadership: Climate activists hijack Liz Truss Husting’s speech

The Foreign Secretary described the protesters as

The Foreign Secretary described the protesters as “trespassers” (Image: Getty Images)

Liz Truss has vowed to crack down on “unfair protests” after a small group of climate activists disrupted her speech at a Tory leadership husting.

The five protesters in Eastbourne, East Sussex, were believed to belong to the Green New Deal Rising group.

They harassed Ms Truss about climate change and energy bills and could be heard shouting “shame on you” and demanding a Green New Deal.

The foreign secretary described them as “trespassers” before vowing to crack down on “militant unions” and “unfair protests”.

As the protesters were escorted out of the studio by security forces, a member of the Conservative Party was heard saying in the crowd, “Go back to America or wherever you’re from.”

The protester says she is South American, to which the man replies, “Go back to your own country.”

After leaving the studio, she said: “Can I just say a few words about the militant people who are trying to disrupt our country and who are trying to disrupt our democratic process and disrupt our essential services.

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A protester interrupts Liz Truss's speech during a Hustings event in Eastbourne as part of the campaign to become Conservative Party leader and the next female Prime Minister. Picture date: Friday August 5, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller /PA Wire

A man was heard in the crowd saying: “Go back to your own country” (Image: PA)

“I would legislate immediately to ensure we stand up to militant unions who are preventing ordinary commuters from getting to work. And I would legislate to protect our essential services.’

She added: “And I will make sure that militant activists like Extinction Rebellion are not able to disrupt normal people who are working hard and doing the right thing and going to work.

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

The disruption came as Ms Truss was delivering her opening remarks at the Conservatives’ fourth of 12 official leadership talks.

Another protester was later escorted out as Ms Truss was in the middle of a question-and-answer session with Tory members.

She joked, “I take it as a compliment that I’m so popular with Extinction Rebellion.”

EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: A protester interrupts Liz Truss's speech during a Conservative Party General Meeting on August 5, 2022 in Eastbourne, England. Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are vying to become the leader of the Conservative Party and the next British Prime Minister. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Protesters shouted ‘shame on you’ and called for a green New Deal (Image: Getty Images)

The foreign secretary’s bid for prime minister received a major boost after Conservative former minister Nus Ghani came out in support of her campaign earlier in the debate.

Mrs Truss was introduced by Mrs Ghani, who told Tory members that her role as Deputy Chair of the 1922 Backbench Conservative MPs Committee meant she was unable to endorse any candidate up to this stage in the race.

She said: “Liz is straightforward. When she tells you she’s going to do something, you can trust her to get it done. Lisa listens.

“When colleagues come up with ideas or problems to be solved, she is committed to them. It’s included.

“I was a minister and now a backbench. And my experience with Liz Truss is that she’s both fair and honest.”

She added, “It’s Liz who will bring us together.”

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak was instead introduced by Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, who told members Mr Sunak was the best candidate to “beat Keir Starmer and win the next election”.

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Justin Scacco

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