Liz Truss

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 2022

Mary Elizabeth Truss (born 26 July 1975), known as Liz Truss, is a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party. She resigned from these posts on 20 October 2022, after only six weeks. Before her appointment as the British PM on 6 September 2022, in succession to Boris Johnson, she served as Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs from September 2021. Earlier in her career, she held posts as Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade from July 2019 in Boris Johnson's cabinet. Following the resignation of Amber Rudd, she gained the additional position as the Minister for Women and Equalities in September 2019.

As strong as the storm may be, I know that the British people are stronger. Our country was built by people who get things done. We have huge reserves of talent, of energy, and determination.

Truss has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for South West Norfolk since the 2010 United Kingdom general election. Truss was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2014 to 2016, Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor from 2016 to 2017 and Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2017 to 2019.

Quotes edit

 
What people in the Leave campaign are saying is "We can have our cake and eat it". We can't.

1994 edit

  • I agree with Paddy Ashdown when he said everybody in Britain should have the chance to be a somebody. But only one family can provide the head of state. We Liberal Democrats believe in opportunity for all. We believe in fairness, common sense. We believe in referenda on major constitutional issues. We do not believe that people should be born to rule, or that they should put up and shut up about decisions that affect their everyday lives.

2014 edit

  • Two-thirds of the apples and nine-tenths of the pears that we eat are imported, not to mention two thirds of the cheese. And that is a disgrace. From the apple that dropped on Isaac Newton’s head to the orchards of nursery rhymes, this fruit has always been a part of Britain. I want our children to grow up enjoying the taste of British apples as well as Cornish sardines, Norfolk turkey, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Wensleydale cheese, Herefordshire pears and of course black pudding.
    • Speech delivered at the Conservative Party Conference (29 September 2014)

2016 edit

  • We should all raise a toast to our biggest export success. Europe has a taste for Scotch and the industry will do better if we remain in the EU because whisky producers have hassle-free, easy access to the single market of 500 million people. The Scotch whisky industry has strong global trade links beyond Europe in America and Asia, and their business leaders are clear that the EU single market provides the best conditions to reach even greater heights. Leaving the EU would be a leap in the dark for our great British food and drink industry and could lead to years of negotiations on new trade deals - with no guarantees at the end.
  • I don't want my daughters to grow up in a world where they need a visa or permit to work in Europe, or where they are hampered from growing a business because of extortionate call costs and barriers to trade. Every parent wants their children to grow up in a healthy environment with clean water, fresh air and thriving natural wonders. Being part of the EU helps protect these precious resources and spaces.

2017 edit

2019 edit

  • I think there’s a danger in politics of being too risk-averse. I’ve fallen into that trap in the past and I'm not going to fall into it again. I'm now more honest about what I think.
  • We need to look like we're enjoying ourselves because no one wants to go to a party where everyone is looking miserable.
  • If it came down to a straight choice of revoking Brexit and a no-deal, I would choose no-deal.
  • [On no deal when leaving the EU] To say there are no plans for this and it would be a disaster is wrong, we are prepared for an exit on the 31st October. What we need now is to have the political leadership to follow through on that and I believe that Boris Johnson is the person capable of that political leadership and making that happen.
    • Speaking on Radio 5 Live, cited by The Herald (Glasgow, 23 June 2019)
  • I once wrote a book about this which got mischaracterised – British workers produce less per hour than … and that’s a combination of kind of skill and application.
    [...] If you look at productivity, it’s very, very different in London from the rest of the country. But basically … this has been a historical fact for decades. Essentially it’s partly a mindset and attitude thing, I think. It’s working culture, basically. If you go to China it’s quite different, I can assure you
    [...] There’s a fundamental issue of British working culture. Essentially, if we’re going to be a richer country and a more prosperous country, that needs to change. But I don’t think people are that keen to change that.
    There’s a slight thing in Britain about wanting the easy answers. That’s my reflection on the election and what’s gone before it, and the referendum – we say it’s all Europe that’s causing these huge problems … it’s all these migrants causing these problems. But actually what needs to happen is more … more graft. It’s not a popular message.

2022 edit

 
I am confident that together we can ride out the storm, we can rebuild our economy, and we can become the modern brilliant Britain that I know we can be.
 
I came into office at a time of great economic and international instability.
Families and businesses were worried about how to pay their bills.
Putin's illegal war in Ukraine threatens the security of our whole continent.
And our country had been held back for too long by low economic growth.
I was elected by the Conservative Party with a mandate to change this.
 
I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.
I have therefore spoken to His Majesty The King to notify him that I am resigning as Leader of the Conservative Party.
  • I feel like I’m a child of the union, I really believe we’re a family and we’re better together and I think the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her. [...] She’s an attention seeker, that’s what she is.
    • Comments in Exeter in a discussion about an unconfirmed second Scottish independence referendum. Reported in The Scotsman (1 August 2022)
  • Q: You have supported a Prime Minister that has continually lied to the Queen, Parliament and the entire United Kingdom, therefore does this not bring into question your own personal integrity and honesty?
    A: I don't agree with that. Boris Johnson has been an excellent prime minister. He delivered on Brexit. He delivered on the Covid vaccine and he delivered on standing up to Vladimir Putin and backing the Ukrainians. I am proud of what he did.
    • Question to Liz Truss in Conservative leadership election hustings in Belfast, as quoted by The Telegraph (17 August 2022)
  • Q: President Macron, friend or foe?
    A: The jury’s out (applause). But if I become prime minister, I would judge him on deeds, not words.
  • I came into office at a time of great economic and international instability.
    Families and businesses were worried about how to pay their bills.
    Putin's illegal war in Ukraine threatens the security of our whole continent.
    And our country had been held back for too long by low economic growth.
    I was elected by the Conservative Party with a mandate to change this.
    We delivered on energy bills and on cutting national insurance.
    And we set out a vision for a low tax, high growth economy — that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit.
    I recognise though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.
    I have therefore spoken to His Majesty The King to notify him that I am resigning as Leader of the Conservative Party.

2023–present edit

  • So it was that I won the leadership election with a clear mandate from my party in the country and, by the close of the ballot, the backing of the majority of MPs declaring a preference. I entered 10 Downing Street determined to deliver the bold action I had promised, with the economy and energy as my key priorities at the top of the in-tray.
  • However, brewing in the background there was an issue relating to pension funds, which neither of us had been made aware of – a problem that would ultimately bring my premiership to an abrupt and premature end because of the panic it induced.
    At no point during any of the preparations for the mini-Budget had any concerns about liability-driven investments (LDIs) and the risk they posed to bond markets been mentioned at all to me, the chancellor or any of our teams by officials at the Treasury. But then, late on the Sunday night, came the jitters from the Asian markets as they opened. I was alerted to this on the Monday morning, at which point the Bank of England governor was wanting to make a statement on LDIs.
  • I am not claiming to be blameless in what happened, but fundamentally I was not given a realistic chance to enact my policies by a very powerful economic establishment, coupled with a lack of political support.

About Liz Truss edit

In alphabetical order according to author or source.
  • At dinner in the beautiful home of Britain’s best-connected peer, I sit next to Liz Truss. Is our Foreign Secretary the new Mrs T as those photos of her commanding one of our few remaining tanks would have us believe? She is clearly a toughie, possessed of a steely self-belief, an imperviousness to the media, a healthy contempt for the male species, a seemingly genuine belief in a low-tax, small-state economy and a disarming habit of asking abrupt questions and dismissing the response as ‘bollocks’ — a tactic clearly designed to gain further elucidation. I liked her and suspect she’s a comer. So I hope she won’t mind me suggesting that she might benefit from a Maggie-style makeover to smooth that metallic voice and irritating raucous laugh.
  • She has the boldness, vision and strength of conviction to build on what Boris began. That's why today the Mail backs Liz Truss for leader.
  • Truss was a disastrous dalliance who served only to remind us what a real leader looks like.
    • Daily Mail front page straplines (3 August 2022 and 21 October 2002 respectively)
  • Liz Truss is already a historical figure. However long she now lasts in office, she is set to be remembered as the prime minister whose grip on power was the shortest in British political history. Ms Truss entered Downing Street on September 6th. She blew up her own government with a package of unfunded tax cuts and energy-price guarantees on September 23rd. Take away the ten days of mourning after the death of the queen, and she had seven days in control. That is the shelf-life of a lettuce.
Leading article "Liz Truss has made Britain a riskier bet for bond investors" The Economist (11 October 2022)
  • This is a naked conservatism that believes in itself with such fervour it thinks facts should make way for its fantasies. Borrowing for tax cuts in a period of surging inflation was always going to spook the markets, but Truss’s faith told her otherwise. She was determined to jump off the cliff, insistent that all the talk of gravity was so much stuffy scientific "orthodoxy".
    The refusal to bow to empirical evidence, to reality, is Truss conservatism’s defining feature. Its origins are not mysterious. We might call it Brexitism: the creed that holds that the real world, even the facts of geography, can be bent to your will, just by closing your eyes and wishing it were so.
  • [In response to Truss's essay for The Telegraph published on 4 February 2023.] Truss’s wider point is that on economic matters, everyone else – the IMF, the OBR and the bond markets – was out of step with her. She had a mandate and that should have been respected. It is an odd argument for someone who professes to believe in markets.
    If your fiscal policies require you to borrow an additional £72bn, it is an unavoidable reality that you have to pay a lot of attention to what the people lending the money to you think. If they do not trust you, they will demand a higher price for lending to you.
  • I knew Truss at university. She was a library-bound anorak, with no lingering smell of depravity about her small, neat form. I never saw her drag a married man into a recess at a political meeting and ravish him on a pile of electoral reform leaflets. If she is debauched then I am the devil herself. But Truss had the courage and ambition to enter British politics. I did not.
  • The danger this new captain faces is not that she will be ousted by her MPs, but that any loss of authority will make her difficult job impossible. If her first week brings any sense of economic events spiralling out of control ... or of the No 10 operation being no more cohesive than the last one, then MPs will rebel more frequently, foreign leaders will make agreements less easily and millions of voters will look to other parties more eagerly.
  • There is a new nasty party, and it isn’t the Tories. Our declinist-Remainer class has outdone itself, demonising and dismissing Liz Truss, and working itself up into a frenzy of self-righteous rage and indignation at the supposed incompetence of her new Government. Even for those inured to the extreme tribalism and coarseness of modern political discourse, the insults, double-standards and prejudice have been something to behold.
    I'm optimistic about the Truss Government. Yes, of course, nobody can possibly know how well it will do – whether it will outwit the Blob to push through genuine improvements. But it is absurd to state, almost as self-evident fact, that it is bound to collapse, that it cannot last even two years [until the next UK general election.]
  • After the mini-budget we were going at breakneck speed and I said, you know, we should slow down, slow down. She said, "Well, I've only got two years" and I said, "You will have two months if you carry on like this". And that is, I'm afraid, what happened.
  • 10 Downing Street for a meeting with Liz Truss to discuss the issue of childcare. I like Liz, but she doesn’t listen very much, and when people try to make points, she just talks straight over them in a slightly irritating and rather 'deaf' way. Once she's made up her mind, she switches into full auto-drive mode.
    While Liz was in one of her long descriptions of how her policy should work and why it was better than all the other options, I happened to glance up onto the wall behind her, and there looking down on us was a portrait of Margaret Thatcher. Liz Truss is, in fact, like a young Margaret Thatcher on speed, and either she's going to shoot straight to the top of the Cabinet or she's going to overdo it and blow up entirely. I think it will be the former but we'll have to see.
  • The pandemic, explained the Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, was the definitive ‘end of the neoliberal era inaugurated by Thatcher and Reagan’. We don’t just hear that from Social Democrats these days. Now right-wing populists, journalists and economists also claim that ‘the Reagan/Thatcher era is over’. These two leaders are often used as symbols of the era of economic liberalization in the early 1980s, and I agree that it feels an awful lot like that era has come to an end. Donald Trump’s advisor Stephen Moore declared that the Republicans are no longer Reagan’s party but Trump’s, and that’s exactly how the party comes across in their recent agitation against free trade, immigration and tech companies, not to mention lies about election fraud. (Reagan once called the peaceful transfer of power the ‘magic’ of the free world.) Thatcher’s Tories have abandoned the European single market she was once instrumental in developing, and have simultaneously abandoned many other economic orthodoxies, toying with more active industrial policies and ‘Buy British’ slogans – a new attitude that Boris Johnson in an unguarded moment happened to summarize as ‘fuck business’. His short-lived successor, Liz Truss, who famously declared that large-scale imports of cheese were ‘a disgrace’, tried to invoke the Iron Lady, albeit through her boldness rather than her policies. Instead, Truss railed against the ‘consensus of the Treasury, of economists, with the Financial Times’ that budgets should be balanced and went on to doom her premiership with a massive, unfunded package of energy subsidies and tax cuts, which markets refused to finance.
    • Johan Norberg, The Capitalist Manifesto: Why the Global Free Market Will Save the World (2023)
  • Back in our tutorials, Truss demonstrated an unnerving ability to surprise. No other student matched her mischievous ability to read out essays on any number of the main events in British political history which always managed to say something new; not always accurate, but definitely new.
    These essays were creative and self-consciously unconventional. As we argued over the hour, she almost never backed down, even when I did what all Oxford tutors try to do and present fact after fact to try to change her mind.

External links edit

 
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