Greenpeace protestors barge in on Liz Truss’ speech at Conservative Party Conference 2022 in Birmingham

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The two protestors were removed from the hall immediately.

Greenpeace protestors have barged-in on Prime Minister Liz Truss’ keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

Two female protestors interrupted the prime minister approximately 10 minutes after the beginning of her highly anticipated address.

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The protestors held a yellow flag with the slogan: “Who voted for this?”.

It has been reported that the pair were opposing the decision by Prime Minister, Liz Truss, to lift a ban on the fracking of natural gas.

Environmental campaigners were identified by Ms Truss as “enemies of enterprise” as part of an “anti-growth coalition” including opposition parties, trade unions and “Brexit-deniers”.

Ms Truss could be heard saying “let’s get them removed”, before being roundly cheered and applauded by party members as the protesters were lead away.

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Greenpeace protesters interrupt Prime Minister Liz Truss as she delivers her keynote speech to the Conservative Party annual conferenceGreenpeace protesters interrupt Prime Minister Liz Truss as she delivers her keynote speech to the Conservative Party annual conference
Greenpeace protesters interrupt Prime Minister Liz Truss as she delivers her keynote speech to the Conservative Party annual conference

Greenpeace quickly confirmed that it was behind the demonstration, accusing the new Prime Minister of “shredding” the promises made in the 2019 manifesto.

In a statement Rebecca Newsom, one of the protesters and Greenpeace head of public affairs in the UK, elaborated on the message set out on the flag.

“In a healthy democracy, people should get the government programme they voted for, but Liz Truss is putting most of it through the shredder,” she said.

She was joined in the protest by Greenpeace policy officer Ami McCarthy.

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“People voted for strong action on climate, a fracking moratorium, world-leading environmental protections, and tackling poverty and inequality,” Ms Newsom said.

“What they’re getting instead is fracking, a potential bonfire of rules on wildlife and nature protection, and now the prospect of benefit cuts.

“Broken promise after broken promise, the Prime Minister is quickly turning her party’s manifesto into the longest piece of false advertising ever written.

“Many will be left wondering whether her Government answers to the public or to the hedge fund managers, right-wing think tanks and fossil fuel giants that are cheering it on. The Chancellor said the Government is now listening.

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“If so, they may want to pay attention to the widening chorus of leading businesses, energy experts, former Conservative ministers and even the US president telling them to go in the opposite direction.”

PA Best Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers her keynote speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Wednesday October 5, 2022.PA Best Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers her keynote speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Wednesday October 5, 2022.
PA Best Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers her keynote speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Wednesday October 5, 2022.

The interruption to her speech in Birmingham followed a bruising conference for Ms Truss after just a month in the job, including a U-turn over a totemic tax policy and dissent within her Cabinet.

Despite the decision to ditch plans to scrap the 45p top rate of tax, Ms Truss insisted “we must stay the course” in pursuit of her three priorities: “Growth, growth and growth.”

She told the audience: “This mission will be difficult but necessary. We have no alternative if we want to get our economy growing again.

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“I am ready to make hard choices. You can trust me to do what it takes. The status quo is not an option. That is why we cannot give into the voices of decline.”

Setting out her vision, she said: “Growth means more money in people’s pockets and for businesses creating jobs.

“Growth means people can feel secure and plan for their future. Fundamentally, it enables people to fulfil their hopes and dreams.”

In a sign of support for Kwasi Kwarteng following the humiliation of the 45p U-turn, Ms Truss said she was “in lockstep” with her “dynamic” Chancellor.

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She said: “Cutting taxes is the right thing to do morally and economically. Morally, because the state does not spend its own money. It spends the people’s.

“Economically, because if people keep more of their own money, they are inspired to do more of what they do best.”

A low tax economy was a sign that “Britain is open for business”, she said.

But in an attempt to calm markets which had been spooked by Mr Kwarteng’s mini-budget, Ms Truss promised to “keep an iron grip on the nation’s finances”.

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“I believe in sound money and the lean state,” she said. “I remember my shock opening my first paycheque to see how much money the taxman had taken out. I know this feeling is replicated across the country. That is why we must always be careful with taxpayers’ money.”

Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers her keynote speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Wednesday October 5, 2022.Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers her keynote speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Wednesday October 5, 2022.
Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers her keynote speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Picture date: Wednesday October 5, 2022.

The pound wiped out its gains from earlier in the day, falling in value against the US dollar, following the speech.

Costs of government borrowing, known as gilt yields, also went up with 10-year gilt yields rising by nearly 4% on Wednesday afternoon.

Rising interest rates also risk causing misery for homeowners, but Ms Truss stressed the independence of the Bank of England over that.

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But she said “the Chancellor and the Governor will keep closely co-ordinating our monetary and fiscal policy”.

She also promised reforms to slash red tape, promising: “Now is the time to harness the power of free enterprise to transform our country and ensure our best days lie ahead.”

In a message to the public, she said “we have your back” and she was working “flat out to ensure people can get through this crisis”.

She said the death of the Queen and the succession of the King heralded a “new era”, but warned: “These are stormy days.”

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Ms Truss added: “We’re dealing with the global economic crisis caused by Covid and by (Vladimir) Putin’s appalling war in Ukraine.

“In these tough times, we need to step up. I’m determined to get Britain moving, to get us through the tempest and put us on a stronger footing as a nation.”

Prime Minister Liz Truss with her husband Hugh O’Leary after delivering her keynote speech in Birmingham. Credit: PAPrime Minister Liz Truss with her husband Hugh O’Leary after delivering her keynote speech in Birmingham. Credit: PA
Prime Minister Liz Truss with her husband Hugh O’Leary after delivering her keynote speech in Birmingham. Credit: PA | PA

But in a sign of the difficulties she faces, shortly ahead of her speech YouGov released polling suggesting Ms Truss is already more unpopular than her predecessor Boris Johnson or former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ever were.

Just 14% of the public now say they have a favourable impression of the Prime Minister compared with 26% who said so between September 21-22.

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Nearly three-quarters – 73% – now see the Prime Minister in an unfavourable light, including more than half – 55% – who see her very unfavourably.

In response to the speech, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “The Tory economic crisis we are facing was made in Downing Street, paid for by working people facing higher mortgages and soaring costs.

“Liz Truss has been a Government minister for the last 10 years. She has been at the heart of building a Conservative economy that has led to the flat wages and low growth she highlighted today.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “The Conservatives have lost control of the economy, causing eye-watering mortgage payments, soaring inflation and an ever-deepening cost-of-living emergency.”

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