Why Liz Truss is another Margaret Thatcher despite her Scottish connections, say Paisley residents

During the Conservative leadership contest, Liz Truss made big play of her Scottish connections – specifically the fact that she went to primary school in Paisley.

Her family moved to the former Renfrewshire mill town in 1979 when she was aged four and she spent six years in the middle class enclave of Castlehead, attending West Primary School.

To some surprise, she has claimed that she once had a strong “Paisley Glaswegian accent”, earning her the nickname “haggis basher” when she attended secondary school in Leeds.

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John Douglas, 74, went to the same primary school as Ms Truss – but that’s where any common bond ends.

Foreign secretary and Conservative leadership frontrunner Liz Truss arrives for 'Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg'. Picture: Hollie Adams/Getty Images
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He describes himself as pro-SNP and anti-Westminster.

“She is basically anti-Scottish despite what she says about her Scottish roots,” he said.

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“No English Government has the right to say to the Scottish people that they don’t have a right to make a decision on what happens in Scotland.

Liz Truss is another Maggie Thatcher. She went to the same school as me, but that doesn’t sway me.”

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Union Court tower block is a short distance from where Ms Truss lived.

Two elderly women friends are enjoying the sunshine on a bench by the high-rise.

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Neither want to give their names, but say they would welcome a Truss Prime Minister.

One says: “I think she is the best of the two candidates, although I would have liked it if Boris had stayed.

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"He didn’t kowtow to Nicola Sturgeon and I hope whoever’s next does the same.”

A short distance away, Paul Thomas, 43, is more forthcoming.

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“There is too much talk of independence,” he said. “The cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine are what matters.

“The problem for Liz Truss, if she gets the job, is that she will have to deliver. If she doesn’t, the Conservatives will be kicked out at the next general election.”

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The lady in the cake shop around the corner is less enthused about the whole situation.

“It doesn’t really matter who is in power, nothing changes,” she says.

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"Nobody knew she had a connection with Paisley until this leadership thing started.

“She would be better off not mentioning it at all. She is impressing no one here.”

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But Truss’s background stems far beyond just Scotland.

Born in Oxford in 1975 to parents she describes as “left-wing”, her mother, a nurse and a teacher, took a young Liz to marches for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1980s and to “peace camp”.

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Ms Truss has said her father, a mathematics professor, has long struggled to comprehend her move to conservatism, believing, perhaps wishfully, she is a “sleeper working from inside to overthrow the regime”.

After Scotland, the family moved to Leeds, where Ms Truss attended Roundhay state secondary school before studying philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University.

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There she became active in student politics, first with the Liberal Democrats, even once espousing an anti-monarchist sentiment.

At the 1997 Conservative Party conference, she met her future husband, Hugh O’Leary, with whom she has two daughters, now teenagers.



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