CLIMATE activists disrupted the Tory party’s leadership contest on Friday night, heckling frontrunner Liz Truss as she addressed members at a husting in Eastbourne.

As they shouted “shame on you,” the audience chanted “out, out, out!”

The five hecklers later identified themselves as Green New Deal Rising and said they were protesting "the rising cost of energy bills and the climate crisis”.

The Foreign Secretary described them as “infiltrators”.

She went on: “Can I just say a few words on the militant people who try and disrupt our country and who try and disrupt our democratic process and try and disrupt our essential services.

“I would legislate immediately to make sure that we are standing up to militant trade unions who stop ordinary commuters getting into work and I would legislate to protect our essential services.

Ms Truss added that she would make sure “militant activists such as Extinction Rebellion are not able to disrupt ordinary people who work hard and do the right thing and go into work. 

“And I will never ever, ever allow our democracy to be disrupted by unfair protests.”

After she was interrupted a second time, she said: “I take it as a compliment that I’m so popular with Extinction Rebellion.”

She later said she was “fine with peaceful protest” but people camping out in Parliament Square for weeks on end is “not the same” and it must hinge on not “harming others”.

“There is deliberately disruptive activity which isn’t just about peaceful protest, it’s about trying to disrupt democracy, it’s about trying to disrupt everyday life.

“One person’s freedom should not mean other people suffer misery.”

Later, answering questions from Tory members, Ms Truss also criticised the measures taken by the UK Government during the pandemic. 

"I would not want to have another lockdown and no lockdown would happen under my leadership. I can assure you of that."

Again, the big dividing line in the contest was over the economy

Ms Truss told party members that the UK must not talk itself into a recession.

She said: “Fundamentally, what we need to do is we need to show people that there is hope, and there is an optimistic future ahead of us. And as I’ve said, we’re brilliant at start-ups, but we need to be better at funding the scale-ups.

"So one of the things I would do is unleash more investment into our economy, through reforming solvency too.

“I met some investors in the city this morning. They told me that if we get on and do that we could release tens of billions.”

She said that the UK can create the British Silicon Valley.

“We can create the British version of Silicon Valley, we can create real opportunities,” she said.

“We have a talented generation of young people ready to take those opportunities on, but we need to get the growth.

“I know there are difficult forecasts out there, but forecasts are not destiny. And what we shouldn’t be doing is talking ourselves into a recession. We should be keeping taxes low.”

Rishi Sunak said that, unless inflation is under control, “we can kiss goodbye to winning that next election”.

He told the activists: “The first thing we need to do in order to make sure we can win that election is have got through this inflation problem by then.

“And that’s why I’m particularly worried about policies that risk making it worse and last longer.

“Because this is a problem that isn’t just for this winter. It’s a problem for next winter as well, and beyond.

“Because as the Bank of England said they are worried about inflation becoming embedded, then there’s no hope that we’re going to win that next election." 


“Absolutely none. It’s as simple as that. We all heard what they said yesterday, all of you saw the numbers. And if we don’t get a grip of this thing and get a grip of it fast, then we can kiss goodbye to winning that next election. 


“So the first thing to put ourselves in a position to win is to get through inflation and get through it quickly and not do things worse.”