Liz Truss vows to 'put spades in ground and deliver on jobs' at GB News' People's Forum
Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss addressed a live GB News audience in Leigh for the People's Forum on Wednesday
Ms Truss joined audience members representing a cross-section of political opinion, asking questions on topics including Brexit, migration, tax and law in the Greater Manchester town.
GB News' Alastair Stewart, acting as referee for the live event, introduced Ms Truss to audience member Brian who put the Foreign Secretary on the spot about what it was that got the Conservative Party into power in 2019.
Brian pointed out that it was a combination of frustration with the liberal left trying to overturn Brexit, Boris Johnson having a clear vision for the country, and the weakness of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.
Brian also noted that levelling up, a key manifesto pledge in 2019, was a significant factor in why the Red Wall town of Leigh backed the Tories.
But he said residents "can't see any of it" and, despite understanding the economic circumstances Britain finds itself in, this frustration could push voters back towards Sir Keir Starmer's Labour.
Responding, Ms Truss insisted that Labour "let down Leigh for years, and years, and years".
The 47-year-old said she has a vision for the country and a proven track record of "getting things done".
She said a key part of levelling up is creating jobs, for which she promised she could "put spades in the ground" and deliver.
An impressed Brian said it was a "better answer than expected" when asked by GB News' Alastair.
Ms Truss was also quizzed on the situation in the Channel, as the number of migrants arriving from small boats continues to rise.
It was put to her that "the French have been completely uncooperative with this" to which she replied: "You don't say!"
She also stressed her belief that micromanagement is ineffective, promising a "leaner Number 10" and noting that she would "definitely" want the "brilliant" Kemi Badenoch as part of her team.
Ms Truss was asked about her position on child grooming gangs, and how best to address what has been discovered in towns such as Rotherham and Oldham.
She said the police forces in these areas "need to be held to account" and promised she "will make sure that those people are gone after by the relevant authorities".
On housing, GB News viewer Jessica said she is concerned she will "never become a homeowner" and asked what plans are in place to address this.
Ms Truss said she wants "more young people to get on the property ladder" and proposed a policy whereby rental history contributes to the mortgage application process.
On the NHS, she said "there is a question as to how we could encourage" some of those people who have "left the NHS to come back and help out".
It came at the event in Greater Manchester, screened live on GB News and on our DAB+ radio channel.
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.”
For GB News' Alastair, the event came 12 years after he hosted the very first televised leaders’ debate between David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown.
He said: “Having hosted the first ever leaders debate on UK TV in 2010, I am thrilled to be carrying on the tradition and helping it evolve as a format.
"This is a Peoples’ Debate where we will hear their questions and hear the candidates' answers."
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak did not take us up on GB News' invitation to take part.
This week, he made it clear that he would be happy to "get in a room" with Ms Truss and Boris Johnson to talk about cost-of-living support, but said Ms Truss's plans are "not going to work".