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Truss vows to clamp down on ‘unfair protests’ after activists disrupt hustings

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 in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

The five protesters, believed to be from the Green New Deal Rising group, harassed Ms Truss over climate change and energy bills.

They were heard shouting “shame on you” and calling for a Green New Deal.

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

Ms Truss said after leaving the studio: “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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Protesters harassed Ms Truss over climate change and energy bills (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“I would legislate immediately to make sure 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.”

I will make sure that militant activists like Extinction Rebellion are not able to disrupt normal people who work hard and do the right thing and go to workLiz Truss

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 with ideas or problems to be solved, she exchanges ideas with 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”.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/truss-vows-to-clamp-down-on-unfair-protests-after-activists-disrupt-hustings-41893033.html Truss vows to clamp down on ‘unfair protests’ after activists disrupt hustings

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