Liz Truss’ first speech as UK PM at Tory meet disrupted by protest

Whenever there is change, there is disruption,” said Ms. Truss.

October 05, 2022 05:03 pm | Updated 05:03 pm IST - London

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss leaves the stage after delivering her keynote address on the final day of the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, central England, on October 5, 2022.

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss leaves the stage after delivering her keynote address on the final day of the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, central England, on October 5, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

The first speech by Liz Truss since taking charge as British Prime Minister to the Conservative Party’s annual Tory conference in Birmingham on Wednesday was disrupted by Greenpeace protesters, who had to be taken away by security.

Two female protesters stood up with a banner reading “Who voted for this?” a few minutes into Ms. Truss’ speech to the governing party members, who had voted for her as party leader last month.

The Prime Minister brushed off the protest as action from an “anti-growth coalition” and went ahead to reiterate her central message of a tax-cutting growth agenda.

"As the last few weeks have shown, it will be difficult. Whenever there is change, there is disruption,” said Ms. Truss.

“Not everyone will be in favour. But everyone will benefit from the result – a growing economy and a better future… I have three priorities for our economy: growth, growth and growth,” she said, to applause from her party members.

The four-day Tory conference in Birmingham, which concludes on Wednesday, has been overshadowed by internal squabbles within the party over the future direction of the economy as the financial markets were jolted by the Truss-led government’s mini-budget last month.

On the platform that won her the leadership over British Indian former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the UK PM insisted the country's tax burden will be lowered and the Tory party will "always be the party of low taxes".

"Cutting taxes is the right thing to do morally and economically. Morally, because the state does not spend its own money. It spends the people's. Economically, because if people keep more of their own money, they are inspired to do more of what they do best. This is what grows the economy," she said.

The 47-year-old Tory leader, who succeeded Boris Johnson in the role, asserted that state intervention makes people feel smaller and means they "feel it's less worthwhile working the extra hour, going for a better job".

Referencing her recent troubles with her party backbenchers and a humiliating U-turn on cutting the 45-pence top rate of income tax for the wealthiest, she said that it was a sign that “I get it and I have listened”.

"Let me be clear, we have your back," she promised.

Ms. Truss received a standing ovation from the audience for her commitment to supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia, saying "Ukraine can, must and will win" the fight for "freedom and democracy".

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