Liz Truss Swerves Question On Her Controversial 'Graft' Comments

In a leaked recording Truss suggested UK workers lacked the “graft” of rivals in other countries.
Hamilton and Truss
Hamilton and Truss
Parliament TV

Liz Truss dodged questions today about her controversial comments that British workers need “more graft”.

She was put on the spot by a Labour MP during her first prime minister’s questions on Wednesday.

During the Tory leadership race, a leaked recording emerged in which Truss suggested that UK workers lack the “graft” of rivals in other countries.

The comment from before 2019, unearthed by The Guardian, was in stark contrast to her pledge not to “talk our country down”.

Labour spinners think the revelation is hugely damaging to Truss’s brand and it was the first issue she was asked about at PMQs.

Paulette Hamilton, Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington, told her how thousands of children were living in child poverty in her constituency - and most had working parents.

She asked her: “Does the prime minister believe that thousands of working parents on low incomes in my community should just put in more graft?”

Truss swerved answering the question directly, telling the Commons: “What I am determined to do as prime minister is to make sure we have an economy with high wages and high skilled jobs and the way I will achieve that is through reducing taxes on people across our country and boosting economic growth.

“That is the way that we will make sure that we get the investment and the jobs that people deserve.”

In the recording, Truss hinted at a belief that workers outside London lacked the “mindset and attitude” to be as productive as those in the UK’s capital city.

She was speaking in her capacity as chief secretary to the Treasury when she talked about a combination of “skill and application” that led to British workers producing less per hour than elsewhere.

She added: “There’s a fundamental issue of British working culture. Essentially, if we’re going to be a richer country and a more prosperous country, that needs to change. But I don’t think people are that keen to change that.

“There’s a slight thing in Britain about wanting the easy answers. That’s my reflection on the election and what’s gone before it, and the referendum – we say it’s all Europe that’s causing these huge problems…it’s all these migrants causing these problems. But actually what needs to happen is more…more graft. It’s not a popular message.”


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