Liz Truss has vowed to defeat the “enemies of enterprise” and said her three biggest priorities are “growth, growth, growth” in her Tory conference speech, after being heckled by Greenpeace protesters.
The Prime Minister launched a strong defence of her government’s recent mini-Budget, saying that “cutting taxes is the right thing to do morally and economically” and that “not everyone will be in favour of change, but everyone will benefit from the result”.
Truss’ speech was disrupted by two female protesters who were rallying against the government’s fracking ban.
The pair yelled slogans at the Prime Minister and held a sign reading: “Who voted for this?”
The Prime Minister could be heard saying “let’s get them removed” as she stopped her speech and security scrambled to escort the pair out.
Truss went on to promise an “iron grip on the nation’s finances” and attacked the “anti-growth coalition”.
She said the “anti-growth coalition” consisted of “Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, the militant unions, the vested interests dressed up as think tanks”.
“Previously we faced barriers to growth like militant unions, nationalised industries and outdated City regulation,” she said.
“Now we must break down the barriers of growth built up in our system over decades. Decisions take too long, burdens on businesses are too high.
“Infrastructure projects get delayed for years and years and years. As a result we’ve seen economic growth choked off.”
Speaking again of the “anti-growth coalition”, she said: “Have these people ever seen a tax rise they don’t like? Or an industry they don’t want to control. They don’t understand the British people, they don’t understand aspiration.”
Today’s conference speech was seen as key to resetting Truss’ premiership, which is faltering just a month after she entered Number 10.
The four-day party conference has been marked by cabinet splits, in-fighting and a screeching U-turn on plans to cut the top rate of Income Tax.
The Tories are also now behind Labour by between 25 and 33 points, according to a series of polls over the past week.
Truss tried to strike a personal connection with her speech to women from working class backgrounds across the country.
“I want what you want. I have fought to get where I am today. I have fought to get jobs, to get pay rises and get on the housing ladder,” she said.
“I have juggled my career with raising two wonderful daughters. I know how it feels to have your potential dismissed by those who think they know better.
“I remember as a young girl being presented on a plane with a junior air hostess badge. Meanwhile, my brothers were given junior pilot badges. It wasn’t the only time in my life that I have been treated differently for being female or for not fitting in.”
The Institute of Economic Affairs, a free market think tank closely linked to Truss, said:”During her leadership campaign Truss spoke about ‘delivery, delivery, delivery’.
“She now needs to return to this theme if she’s going to achieve today’s message of ‘growth, growth, growth.'”
A source close to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said there was “certainly no rabbit” in the speech, “not even a hat”.