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Backlash for Liz Truss after she misses election hustings

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While all her election rivals were gearing up for their constituency’s only public hustings, one candidate was 15 miles away in the pub watching the England game.Liz Truss skipped the event at Downham Market’s Methodist church on Thursday, as she enjoyed an evening at the Greyhound in Swaffham before heading off to another, undisclosed meeting.The Conservative candidate posted a photograph of herself with football fans watching England’s game against Denmark.

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss watching England v Denmark. She picked going to the pub and an undisclosed engagement afterwards over attending election hustings in Downham Market, where she was booed in her absence.

Danielle Cook, who works at the Greyhound, said the former prime minister was in “good spirits” and spent about two and a half hours there as she watched the Three Lions labour to a 1-1 draw.“She watched the whole game and was cheering and mingling with people,” she said.“It is the first time she has come in but she said she will see us soon.” At the Downham hustings, which started at 7.30pm, host Reverend Paul Critchley, told the crowd of more than 200 people that the former PM could not attend due to a “prior arrangement in another local village”.This was met with jeers and applause from the audience, with the Reverend replying: “As a thoroughly independent person I have no comment to say” which was met with laughter. A spokesman for Ms Truss said she visited the pub with her team until 7pm before attending a “pre-existing local meeting”.However, he declined to divulge any further information about what the meeting was about or who attended.Her absence from the hustings has been criticised by her rival South West Norfolk candidates, all of whom attended apart from Gary Conway, of the Heritage Party. Terry Jermy, who is standing for Labour, said: “Liz Truss has once again demonstrated her contempt for South West Norfolk residents.“It is a shame our former MP for South West Norfolk chose to disrespect democracy in this way. It’s time for a change and a return to respect, transparency and accountability.”Josie Ratcliffe, Liberal Democrat candidate, said: “The mood of the room suggests there is little support for Liz Truss. It was very disappointing as it was a significant event.”Independent James Bagge, a former Tory rebel who has been critical of her since she was selected as an MP 14 years ago, said: “This is the sort of arrogance we have come to expect from her.” The former PM’s team might be feeling the pressure amid recent polls that predict she will lose her seat to Labour.Ms Ratcliffe has said she has been contacted by national media outlets, including Sky News and Channel 4, asking her if she knew of Ms Truss’ whereabouts after attempts to contact her had failed.

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