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British workers need to work harder: Liz Truss in leaked audio

Britain’s Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss speaks during a hustings event, part of the Conservative party leadership campaign, at Perth Concert Hall, in Perth, Scotland, Britain on August 16, 2022.

Britain’s Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss speaks during a hustings event, part of the Conservative party leadership campaign, at Perth Concert Hall, in Perth, Scotland, Britain on August 16, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

 In a leaked audio, the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary and candidate for the Conservative Party leadership and the Prime Minister’s post, Liz Truss, said that British workers needed ‘more graft‘ (hard work).

Ms. Truss is heard saying that British workers’ hourly productivity is less than a comparator (the name of which is not available in the recording) and she attributes this to “a combination of skill and application”.

Also read: Second survey shows Liz Truss ahead of Rishi Sunak in U.K. PM race

The story was first reported by the  Guardian, which posted the leaked audio and parts of the transcript on its website. The recording dates back to when Ms. Truss was the Chief Secretary at the Treasury during the 2017-19 period.

“If you go to China, it’s quite different, I can assure you,” she says at one point, referring to the work culture.

Ms. Truss says that there’s a “slight thing” in Britain of wanting “easy answers”, and this was her reflection of the election (presumably the June 2017 election in which Boris Johnson succeeded Theresa May) and the 2016 Brexit referendum which resulted in the U.K. leaving the E.U.

“… We say it’s all Europe that’s causing these huge problems; it’s all these migrants causing these problems,” she is heard saying in the audio. “But actually what needs to happen is more … more graft. It’s not a popular message.” 

Ms. Truss had voted to remain in the E.U., but her position on the issue has since changed, she has said repeatedly during the campaign.

Ms. Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak are competing for their party’s leadership role, with hustings around the U.K. this month. Some 160,000 Conservative Party members are voting in this process and the winner is expected to be announced on September 5.

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The domestic economy is front and centre of the issues, with Britons facing a cost of living crisis. The country’s Inflation hit a forty-year high of 10.1% in July, as per consumer price index figures, which were released on Wednesday.

 Apart from the economy, the question of Scottish independence has featured in the leadership race, with Tuesday night’s hustings being held in Perth, Scotland. Both candidates rejected the idea of a second Scottish independence referendum (the first was in 2014), at least in the near future.


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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 10:46:50 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/british-workers-need-to-work-harder-liz-truss-in-leaked-audio/article65778881.ece