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Liz Truss has been accused of showing “her true colours” after a 2009 paper promoting vast government spending cuts was unearthed.
The Tory leadership frontrunner called for patients to be charged to see their GP and for doctors’ pay to be slashed by 10%.
She floated the ideas in a controversial report she co-authored when she was deputy director of the Reform think-tank.
Labour said Truss’s report from 13 years ago, entitled “Back to Black”, revealed that “the reality of her agenda is devastating cuts”.
The report also called for the abolition of universal child benefit, the removal of the winter fuel payment, and the axing of several major military procurement projects including the Royal Navy’s planned aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales – which were described as “inappropriate defence projects”.
It was resurfaced by TalkTV on Thursday and was also reported by the i paper in January.
Truss’s campaign attempted to distance the Tory leadership candidate from the paper, telling TalkTV’s The News Desk: “Co-authoring a document does not mean that someone supports every proposal put forward.
“Liz is focused on her bold economic plan to boost growth, cut taxes and put money back into hardworking people’s pockets”.
But Labour pointed out she had led the promotion of the report in articles for both The Spectator and ConservativeHome.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “Liz Truss’s track record shows her true colours. She is out of touch and out of step with the public.
“The reality of her agenda is devastating cuts that risk national security, punishing patients already facing record waiting times and cutting the pay of frontline workers.
“Her desperate attempts to distance herself from her own views now will fool no-one.”
Polls have consistently put Truss as clear favourite to win the race for No.10, with elections guru Sir John Curtice saying he would be “extraordinarily surprised” if she does not take office.
He told The Times that the foreign secretary “would have to foul up in some spectacular fashion” for her rival Rishi Sunak to enter Downing Street.
Truss and Sunak will take part in a hustings in Manchester on Friday evening, as the pair continue to criss-cross the country to try and shore up the support of Tory members.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.