Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Adam Forrest

Liz Truss: Five key things to watch out for as ex-PM gives first interview

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

It’s only three months since Liz Truss left Downing Street in disgrace, booted out by the Conservative party after her borrowing-fuelled tax cuts caused economic turmoil during her six-week reign.

Rishi Sunak’s predecessor has launched a comeback aimed at restoring her credibility, lashing out at the “economic establishment” and Tory tax refuseniks in a 4,000-word defence of her premiership.

Ms Truss will continue her defence – causing consternation among Tories – with an interview shown on The Spectator’s YouTube channel at 5pm on Monday. The Independent takes a look at the potential pitfalls and opportunities for the ex-Tory leader as she make her case.

Will Truss apologise for economic turmoil?

Ms Truss accepted only very minor responsibility for the fact her unfunded tax cuts spooked markets, caused the pound to crash and saw a hike in mortgage rates, saying she was “not claiming to be blameless in what happened”.

But she only conceded to a failure to prepare the ground for her radical plan – taking a pop at the Treasury, the Office for Budget Responsibility and some in the Tory party for being too cowardly to get on board. Will she actually admit she got anything of substance wrong?

Sunak-supporting Tory MPs have dismissed the idea of a comeback as a “fantasy” and mocked her defence as “delusional” and “sour grapes”. One senior party figure told The Independent she should have “kept her head down and stayed loyal”.

How much does she blame Kwasi Kwarteng for the mess?

Ms Truss’s chancellor seemed in lockstep with her radical attack on economic orthodoxy. But she sacked Mr Kwarteng in mid-October, with her camp blaming him for failing to “roll the pitch” on the mini-Budget with Whitehall and the markets.

Tonight’s interview may give us more insight into any difference in views between Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng, and whether the once-close friends have spoken since their ignominious exit from the top jobs in government.

Will she pledge loyalty to Rishi Sunak?

Ms Truss took a swipe at her successor in her 4,000 article for the Sunday Telegraph, attacking him for raising corporation tax to 25 per cent. How far will she go in pushing him to cut taxes? Does she intend to cause him serious trouble?

The former PM still has “half a hope” she can lead the Tories in opposition after the next election, allies claimed at the weekend. Her most loyal backers have formed the Conservative Growth Group (CGG), and have revived WhatsApp a group from her leadership campaign. How much will she reveal about her political agenda for the Tory party?

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss in happier times (Stefan Rousseau / PA)

China – will she push Sunak to go further?

Ms Truss plans on speaking out about China when she addresses a conference of global politicians in Japan later this month. She is expected to focus on Beijing’s threat to Taiwan when speaks at the event organised the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.

The former Tory may want to push the issue to bolster her credentials as a China hawk, though in truth her time at No 10 was too short to leave any foreign policy legacy. Will she urge her successor to take a tougher approach? Could she join Boris Johnson in calling for fighter jets for Ukraine?

Does she intend on making as money as Boris Johnson?

Speaking of the other Tory prime minister kicked out of No 10 in 2022, Ms Truss may choose to join the international speaking circuit and boost her bank balance.

Mr Johnson has made £2.3m in the past 12 months, outstripping Theresa May who has banked close to £1m from after-speaking gigs in the past year. Can Ms Truss compete, even if she has only six weeks experience inside No 10 to boast of? Will she give us any idea of her plans for the future?

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.