Liz Truss speaks during the Conservative Party leadership hustings in Eastbourne, UK on Aug. 5. Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The leading candidate for the Tory leadership said that Britons lacked “skill and application” as elections for Britain’s new PM come closer.

Liz Truss, who is now the frontrunner for the Tory leadership, said that British workers needed “more graft” and that they didn’t have the “skill and application” of their competitors from other countries in an audio recording leaked earlier this week.

In a recording that got out, the then-No. 2 at the Treasury also risked making Londoners and the rest of the country hate each other by trying to explain what made the capital different from other parts of the UK.

Truss, who has made patriotism a big part of her campaign, said that the difference was “partly a mindset or attitude thing.”

Truss said these things when she was the head of the Treasury, a job she held until 2019. In the recording, she hinted that not many people seemed to want to change the way people work so that the UK could be more successful.

Her comments about how productive workers are outside of London could be especially harmful since, earlier this month, Conservative MPs forced her to back down on plans to cut civil service pay outside of London.

The damaging disclosure comes as Truss has been consistently polling ahead of her closest challenger, Rishi Sunak, in the contest to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister upon Johnson’s resignation early next month.

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