Liz Truss fires starting gun on frontline return – but is anyone really listening?

Politics

Nearly a year since the mini-budget that secured her place as Britain’s shortest serving prime minister, Liz Truss is back.

In her most significant intervention since resigning, the former PM was characteristically unrepentant, pointing the finger at “left-wing institutions” and the “anti-woke brigade”.

She did admit acting too fast, however, delivering another pork analogy for the ages: “I didn’t just try to fatten the pig on market day, I tried to rear the pig and slaughter it”.

Politics latest: Truss says getting rid of Boris Johnson was ‘mistake’

Overall, though, this was a defiant eulogy for the high-growth, brighter future Britain could have had.

Nodding along in the audience, Lord Frost and Nigel Farage.

Publicly – and privately – there are many in the Conservative Party who think the pendulum has swung too far under Rishi Sunak, and want a more coherent plan for growth. The messenger may be questionable, but her message itself will resonate with some.

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The trouble for Liz Truss is she risks damaging the growth cause she so passionately defends.

For all the detail of her speech – what could have been done and how much it all costs – being prime minister is all about credibility.

During her tenure, UK economic policy was called into question in a way it hasn’t been for decades. She faced a credibility crisis that lost the faith of the markets.


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Truss ‘tried to fatten and slaughter the pig’

Many on the left of the Conservative Party believe her public appearances now are highly dangerous. One Tory MP texts to say they think Liz Truss is “working for the Labour Party”.

The former prime minister is strongest when she attacks the Bank of England; she said central bankers and officials are let off too lightly while politicians are blamed – and she may have a point.

Following the mini-budget the bank was forced to intervene with gilt purchases after a sharp rise in bond yields exposed vulnerabilities in liability-driven investment (LDI) funds. These are something pension trusts are heavily invested in.

Truss said that the central bank was not held fully accountable for the meltdown in financial markets.

The bank has since effectively accepted some responsibility by recommending strengthening the rules.

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But any remarks worth listening to are drowned out by the facts of history, and her unwillingness to accept what happened. Her message is no more coherent than it was a year ago.

Those close to Liz Truss say she has genuine ambitions to return to frontline politics. Today may have been the starting gun in her big come back attempt – and she warns there’s more to come at the party conference – the bigger question is whether anyone is really listening.

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