Liz Truss's claims to have grown up in 'heart of Red Wall' in Leeds suburb labelled laughable

Liz Truss's claims to have grown up in the "heart of the Red Wall" in Leeds have been called "frankly laughable" by the MP who now represents the area she lived in.

The Foreign Secretary wrote: "I grew up in Leeds, at the heart of the Red Wall. I was educated at a comprehensive school in the city and went to primary school in Scotland. I got where I am today through working hard and focusing on results.

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"My journey was possible through aspiration, ambition and enterprise."

Liz Truss's claims about her upbringing in Leeds have been queried.Liz Truss's claims about her upbringing in Leeds have been queried.
Liz Truss's claims about her upbringing in Leeds have been queried.

Ms Truss was born in Oxford in 1975 but grew up in Leeds after her father got a job as a university professor in the city. She attended Roundhay School in the leafy suburb of the same name in the north-east of the city.

The Leeds North East constituency in which it sits was represented by a Conservative MP between 1955 and 1997 - covering Ms Truss's time in the city before she went to Oxford University. But the seat has been held since then by Labour's Fabian Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton said today: "The suggestion that Roundhay is a red wall area is frankly laughable and shows how out of touch Liz Truss and the Conservatives are when it comes to the north. I became the first Labour MP for the area in 1997.

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"Before then, North East Leeds was represented by Conservative MPs and mostly Conservative Local Councillors. But over the past 12 years, the people of Roundhay have strongly rejected the Conservatives at the ballot box time and time again, because they know that only Labour will deliver for them."

According to Rightmove data, the average sale price for a property in Roundhay is £335,301, with detached properties going for £572,040.

Ms Truss has previously attracted controversy for claims she has made about her upbringing in Leeds.

In a 2020 speech, she said: "As a comprehensive school student in Leeds in the 1980s and 1990s, I was struck by the lip service that was paid to equality by the City Council while children from disadvantaged backgrounds were let down.

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"While we were taught about racism and sexism, there was too little time spent making sure everyone could read and write. Rather than promote policies that would have been a game changer for the disenfranchised like better education and business opportunities, there was a preference for symbolic gestures."

At the time, Leeds council deputy leader James Lewis, who is now in charge of the Labour-run local authority, said in response: "As someone else who attended Leeds City Council schools in the 1980s and early 1990s, I think it’s sad that someone wants to score cheap political points in London by talking down a whole generation of pupils and teachers who struggled through the last period of Conservative austerity cuts."

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