December 10, 2023

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UK driving favorite Liz Truss Yew turned to pay plan in her first big gaffe

UK driving favorite Liz Truss Yew turned to pay plan in her first big gaffe
  • Conservative Trus cede major pledge
  • Opponents say the policy would have hit nurses and police officers
  • Polls show a conflicting picture of Truss’ progress
  • The Daily Mail gives Truss its support

LONDON (Reuters) – British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the front-runner to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister, was forced to back out of one of her most striking pledges a day after it was announced after a backlash from her Conservative and opposition colleagues. Parties.

In the first major gaffe in her campaign, Truss laid out plans to save billions of pounds a year in government spending in a pledge opponents said would require a pay cut for public sector employees, including nurses and teachers, outside England’s wealthy southeast. .

Truss said late Monday that it would introduce regional pay boards rather than a national wage agreement, to match local costs of living.

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But after Tuesday’s criticism, Truss said, “I had no intention of changing the terms and conditions for teachers and nurses. But what I want to make clear is that I will not move forward with regional wage boards.”

The shift came as polls showed widely divergent pictures of how far Truss is ahead of rival Rishi Sunak.

A survey of 807 Conservative Party members by Italian data firm Techne conducted July 19-27 found Truss supported by 48%, compared to 43% for former finance minister Sunak.

By contrast, a YouGov poll for The Times, conducted from July 29 to August 2, showed Truss having extended her lead. She had the support of 60% of the members versus 26% for Sunak, and the rest of the 1,043 members polled either didn’t decide or didn’t plan to vote.

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A previous YouGov poll on July 20-21 showed a 49%-31% split in favor of Truss.

Shortly before the latest poll was conducted, the Daily Mail – one of Britain’s bestsellers and popular with Conservative voters – said it backed Truss, despite her shift.

“Mr. Sunak is a by-born, albeit skilled, technocrat; Miss Truss is a genuine Tory standard-bearer in the small, low-tax country,” the newspaper said in an editorial.


Truss’ public sector pay plan has faced criticism from the main opposition Labor Party and some Conservative MPs.

The Conservatives won the largest majority in three decades in the 2019 national election by upending traditional British politics and winning more industrial regions in central and northern England while vowing to reduce regional disparities.

One of Truss’s supportive Conservative lawmakers said the miscalculation would hurt the rest of the campaign.

“This was a completely avoidable mistake, but I don’t think that in the end it will prevent her from being prime minister,” he said.

Sunak’s supporter, Ben Huchen, mayor of Tees Valley in north-east England, said he was “speechless” about the proposal.

Sunak’s campaign said millions of nurses, police officers and soldiers would have cut their salaries by 1,500 pounds ($1,830) a year.

Financial Action spokeswoman Rachel Reeves said Truss’ plan would have sucked money out of local communities.

“This latest mess has revealed exactly what Liz Truss believes about public sector workers across Britain,” she said.

Sunak and Truss are vying for the votes of about 200,000 Conservative members who will choose the next prime minister, with the winner announced on September 5.

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Taxes have dominated the election race so far. Sunak accused Truss of being “dishonest” with voters over her promises of immediate tax cuts, saying he would wait until inflation was under control before cutting taxes. That would push the country into recession, Truss says.

More than 60% of conservatives in a Techne poll said Truss has better ideas on taxes and inflation than Sunak. They also preferred her plans to emigrate.

However, survey respondents said Sunak has better policies on Brexit and energy.

The YouGov poll showed that a majority supported Truss on the cost of living, immigration and defense.

John Curtis, a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde and one of Britain’s leading pollsters, said it was difficult to be sure the race was over for Sunak.

“In a race that has certainly seen some radical and bold proposals made by both candidates … we certainly don’t know what the impact (if any) of that would be on the Conservative Party membership as a whole,” he told JB News. .

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Additional reporting by David Milliken. Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Christina Fincher, Mike Harrison and Nick McPhee

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.