Liz Truss vows to be 'robust' with French to solve migrant crisis

Tory leadership favourite Liz Truss vows to be ‘robust’ with French and ‘to deal with’ European judges in order to solve Channel migrant crisis

  • Liz Truss vows to be ‘robust’ with French in response to Channel migrant crisis
  • Foreign Secretary vows to see through Rwanda scheme and ‘deal with’ judges
  • She pledges to push through Bill of Rights to reduce influence of ECHR on Britain

Tory leadership favourite Liz Truss today promised to be ‘robust’ with the French and ‘to deal with’ European judges in order to solve the Channel migrant crisis.

The Foreign Secretary vowed to see through the Government’s Rwanda scheme, if she becomes prime minister, to stem the numbers arriving on British shores in small boats.

She pledged to push through a proposed ‘Bill of Rights’ to reduce the influence of the European Court of Human Rights, which has previously put a legal block on migrants being sent from Britain to the African country.

Ms Truss promised action as she answered a question on the Channel migrant crisis from a Daily Mail reader while appearing on GB News.

Speaking to an audience of ‘Red Wall’ voters in Leigh, Greater Manchester, she pointed to her record in dealing with French counterparts in her role as Foreign Secretary.

‘I did have a very tough conversation with the French foreign minister two weeks ago, because the French are not putting enough staff on the borders at Dover to deal with the long backlogs,’ Ms Truss said.

‘I will be very clear and robust in my negotiations with the French.

‘I think you’ve seen on the Northern Ireland Protocol, that when we didn’t get what we needed to change the Protocol and restore peace and stability in Northern Ireland, I got the Protocol Bill through Whitehall and I got it through the House of Commons.

‘So I am prepared to take robust action with the French and with the EU to get things done.’

Addressing the current problems with getting the Rwanda scheme up and running, the Foreign Secretary added: ‘The issue is, at the moment, what is happening is people are getting on the phone to their lawyers when they’re just about to take off.

‘And they’re using the European Court of Human Rights to stop it, so that is the issue we need to deal with.’

Liz Truss spoke to ‘Red Wall’ voters in Leigh, Greater Manchester, during an appearance on GB News

Earlier in the day, Ms Truss appeared to soften her opposition to offering direct payments to Britain’s poorest to help with their energy bills

On a visit to a life sciences laboratory in Manchester, Ms Truss insisted she was not ruling out further payments to help struggling families

Ms Truss and her rival, Rishi Sunak, clashed over the cost-of-living crisis during a hustings event in Darlington last night

Earlier in the day, Ms Truss appeared to soften her opposition to offering direct payments to Britain’s poorest to help with their energy bills.

With energy bills for typical households forecast to soar to more than £4,200 next year, both Tory leadership contenders have faced calls to pledge further support for struggling families.

Ms Truss has previously steered away from promising more ‘handouts’ to ease the cost-of-living crisis, saying she would rather provide help through tax cuts and a focus on economic growth.

But – amid fierce criticism of her plans from leadership rival Rishi Sunak and Money Saving Expert guru Martin Lews – she today appeared to change tack.

The Foreign Secretary said keeping taxes low was ‘vitally important for growing our economy and avoiding a recession’ and remains her ‘priority’.

But, asked on a visit to a life sciences laboratory in Manchester whether she was ruling out cash payments in ‘whatever form’ – and would only help people through tax cuts – she insisted: ‘That’s not what I said.

‘What I said is my priority is making sure we’re not taking money off people and then giving it back to them later on.

‘I believe in people keeping their own money and I believe in a low tax economy.

‘I can assure people that we will do all we can to make sure that energy is affordable and we can get through the winter.’

Ms Truss’s campaign team later issued a statement in which the Foreign Secretary vowed she would ‘do all that I can to help struggling households’ if she was elected PM.

Mr Sunak has pledged – if he becomes PM – that households would receive ‘a few hundred pounds more’ of help over the coming months

Last night, at a hustings event in Darlington, the Foreign Secretary told Tory members that ‘handouts’ were ‘Gordon Brown economics’ in a slapdown aimed at her rival Mr Sunak.

In seeking to draw a distinction between his approach to the cost-of-living crisis and Ms Truss’s, the ex-chancellor has pledged – if he becomes PM – that households would receive ‘a few hundred pounds more’ of help over the coming months.

Ms Truss’s remarks today prompted an accusation from Mr Sunak’s campaign that his rival’s economic policy was ‘as clear as mud’. 

A spokeswoman said: ‘This is starting to look like another major U-turn, after she abandoned plans to cut the pay of nurses and teachers outside London last week.

‘She now urgently needs to clear up her position. She needs to be honest with the millions of people concerned about how they will pay their bills, and confirm whether or not they can expect direct support from her.’

Boris Johnson is steering clear of taking further action on the cost-of-living crisis while he remains as caretaker PM while his successor is chosen. 

But one of Ms Truss’s leading backers today revealed the Government is working up a package of cost-of-living support that the next PM can consider when they take office.

In a series of tweets, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke said it was ‘absolutely right to consider these options in the round’ when the new leader takes the reins, rather than announce ‘new uncosted policies’ during the Tory leadership contest.

Mr Clarke said he had ‘no doubt’ that Ms Truss, who he is supporting, would do the ‘responsible and honest thing’ if elected, by ‘making decisions in light of all the facts and the options’.

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