CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

No mistakes: Justice Secretary Liz Truss can’t think of a single error made by Tory government

Cabinet member insists the Conservatives were right to hold a referendum on EU membership

11 May, 2017 — By Richard Osley

Claire-Louise Leyland with Liz Truss

JUSTICE Secretary Liz Truss was stumped today when the New Journal asked her if the Conservatives had made any mistakes at all in government since the last general election.

With cabinet members arriving in the target constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn at a rate of one every four days since Theresa May called a snap election, Ms Truss was in West Hampstead this afternoon (Thursday) to help with the local Conservative campaign aiming to unseat Labour’s Tulip Siddiq.

After rolling off a list of achievements and insisting that, despite her role in the Remain campaign, that her party had been right to call a national referendum on EU membership, the New Journal asked the simple question as to whether she could think of any mistake the government had made over the last two years.

She paused, looked surprised by the question, and then replied: “Well, I think given where we were as a country, given what we inherited in 2010, which was a country with serious financial problems, I think we’ve done a very good job in getting us back into a better position. We have record levels of employment, we’ve got more children in good and outstanding schools, we are putting more money into the NHS and that’s what people want to see.”

Ms Truss canvassed residents in Maygrove Road with candidate Claire-Louise Leyland – the leader of the Tories at the Town Hall –  before heading off to meet pensioners at the Spring Lodge luxury retirement home on the Finchley Road.

A passer-by pledges a vote to Claire-Louie Leyland

She is among Remain supporters who say the British public has accepted the result of the referendum and now want Mrs May to deliver a Brexit settlement. Asked by the New Journal whether the complexities of the EU debate could ever be boiled down into a yes-no, in-out single question, Ms Truss said: “It was the right thing to do, we had committed that we would do that in our manifesto and we were elected on that manifesto in 2015 – and there have been numerous promises over the years for a referendum. What people want to see strong leadership of the country, and they want to see it progress.”

We then asked her whether she had any regrets over austerity budgets which have left Labour budgets like Camden blaming central government for decisions such as cutting back bin collections.

“This issue has come up on the doorstep here, it has not been coming up in other parts of the country or other parts of London that I’ve been canvassing in, so that shows to me the council could be doing a better job – but they’re just not doing it,” Ms Truss said. “What I find is, that there is a massive difference between councils who are running their services well and where there’s actually a high level of satisfaction from those residents, and other areas where there isn’t. It’s [bins] is not an issue that’s come up elsewhere.”

She added on the government’s economic strategy: “It was absolutely right that we got the country’s finances in a good state. If you don’t have a strong economy, then you cant afford to invest in public services, whether that’s the NHS whether its education, whether its local government. The alternative at this election is Jeremy Corbyn, who has accidentally released his manifesto today and it’s uncosted, spending huge amounts of money, how on earth is that going to be paid for.”

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