Liz Truss news – live: Tories liken frontrunner’s U-turn to May’s dementia tax fiasco

Liz Truss has abandoned a Tory leadership pledge to slash public sector pay for workers outside London just hours after it was announced, prompting warnings from supporters of her rival Rishi Sunak that such a mistake could cost the party a future general election.

Former health secretary Matt Hancock and influential Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen were among those who likened the “poorly-judged” policy to the “dementia tax” fiasco which partly saw Theresa May fail to secure a majority in the 2017 general election.

Tory MP Mark Harper warned that Margaret Thatcher “would be livid” over the £8.8bn hole left in Ms Truss’s plans after the U-turn, and urged the foreign secretary to “stop blaming journalists” after she sought to claim she had been “misrepresented” in entirely accurate reports of her press release on the policy.

Ms Truss also sparked fury after branding Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon an “attention-seeker” who should be ignored, in comments at the Tory hustings in Exeter on Monday dubbed “deeply troubling” by Ms Sturgeon’s deputy, John Swinney.

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