Liz Truss vows action on 'repulsive' grooming gangs in bid to hold police to account
Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss issued a firm response to a question about grooming gangs as she addressed a live GB News audience in Leigh for the People's Forum
Ms Truss joined audience members representing a cross-section of political opinion in the Red Wall Greater Manchester town.
A standout moment came as GB News' Alastair Stewart, acting as a referee for the live event, invited a viewer to ask the 47-year-old politician a question on grooming gangs.
The viewer asked: "In this current climate, what are you prepared to do to confront and bring to justice the perpetrators of the grooming gangs?
"It seems at the moment that we live in a society where the police will happily turn up at your doorstep if you have the audacity to insult someone on Twitter and slap you in handcuffs, but if you're part of a grooming gang they turn the other cheek.
"That simply cannot be right. What are you going to do to enforce the law, that's already on statute, and bring criminals to justice?"
Responding, the Foreign Secretary said: "You're absolutely right that the police should not be spending their time policing Twitter.
"They should be on the streets, dealing with crime.
"What I would put in place is police league tables so people can compare how well their police force is doing with others around the country.
"On these child grooming gangs, it is absolutely repulsive what has gone on in places like Rotherham and in places like Telford.
"Of course those criminals need to be brought to justice but, more than that, I want the people held to account.
"The council officers, the councillors and the police who didn't do anything about it.
"Even, not just turned a blind eye, but actually condoned this behaviour.
"They need to be held to account because, until those people understand that their role in this was enabling those appalling crimes to be committed I don't believe we will fully deal with that.
"I will make sure that those people are gone after by the relevant authorities."
Ms Truss also promised to look again at the case of 300 war widows, who lost their pensions after remarrying.
She said: "This was something I looked at when I was Chief Secretary to the Treasury, before I was moved into another job.
"But I certainly will look at that issue, because I do think that it is very very unfair that war widows, who then remarry, are essentially penalised, so I will look at that issue."
Explaining why she had accepted an invitation from GB News to appear in the People's Forum, Ms Truss said: "I am looking forward to talking to GB News viewers and our members in the heart of our Red Wall and taking their questions.
"As Prime Minister, I will work tirelessly to deliver for those who voted for us across the Red Wall, including those who put their trust in us for the first time in 2019.
"I have a bold and ambitious economic plan and the experience in Government to deliver it.
"I am on the side of people who work hard and do the right thing and as Prime Minister I will make sure we are an ‘aspiration nation’ with a fast-growing economy and ensure every part of the country thrives.”