'National embarrassment' Liz Truss hints at new bid for Tory leadership

Liz Truss was blasted as a “national embarrassment” on Monday as she refused to rule out running for Conservative leader again despite her disastrous tenure as the shortest-lived prime minister in history.

"I have unfinished business, and I think the Conservative Party has unfinished business,” she told LBC when asked if she would stand again if the beleaguered Rishi Sunak quits the role. She added: “It's never wise to rule anything out in politics.”

The former prime minister is promoting her new book Ten Years to Save the West.

Liz Truss’s new book
Liz Truss’s new book

The book attempts to justify her 49 days in power, including a hard-charging mini-budget that bombed with the financial markets and drove up borrowing costs, worsening a cost-of-living crisis for millions of Britons.

“They're trying to smear me with economic results that I'm clearly not responsible for,” she said of critics who accuse her of sabotaging the economy, having previously blamed a mysterious “deep state” and “anti-growth” activists for thwarting her policies.

Asked whether Andrew Bailey should still be Governor of the Bank of England, she said: “No… I do think that democratically elected ministers should be responsible for managing fiscal and monetary policy.” She also said she wanted “to see the back of the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility)”.

In another interview with The Sun, Ms Truss also called for the abolition of the Supreme Court and the Human Rights Act, coupled with UK withdrawal from the European Court of Human Rights after it blocked the Government’s plans to deport migrants to Rwanda.

She also called for Nigel Farage to join the Conservatives, as his Reform UK party threatens to take a large bite out of the Tory vote in an election this year.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman refused to engage in “line by line” commentary on Ms Truss’s book.

But he insisted that Mr Sunak continues to hold confidence in Mr Bailey, and said: “The Prime Minister is fully supportive of the work that the independent Bank of England has done to help bring down inflation.”

Asked whether she believes in net zero policies designed to counter climate change, Ms Truss also told LBC: “What I don't believe in is the UK acting unilaterally and outsourcing carbon production to the likes of China… essentially, because of our net zero regulations, and I think that is economic suicide.”

And the former PM, who curried favour with far-right activists on a recent trip to the United States, renewed her criticism of President Joe Biden and praise of his Republican rival Donald Trump.

“I don't think Biden has been particularly supportive to the United Kingdom,” she said.

“Trump's policies were actually very effective… In foreign affairs, he was more effective at preventing aggressive regimes expanding and I think we'd be in a different position if he got re-elected.”

Excerpts from the book have already provided revelations about everything from the Queen’s final days (she told Truss to “pace yourself”) to the difficulty of ordering an Ocado food delivery, and the allegation that the flat above 11 Downing Street was infested by fleas, possibly left by Boris Johnson’s dog Dilyn.

Figures on the Conservative Right have been on manoeuvres ahead of the General Election, which polls suggest the Tories will lose in a landslide. That is likely to set the stage for a new leadership battle, after Ms Truss beat Mr Sunak in the wake of Mr Johnson’s demise.

But her ambitions for an unlikely second coming were given short shrift by opposition parties. Labour shadow frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth said: “The prospect of Liz Truss returning as Tory leader will send shivers down the spine of working people.

“Homeowners are still reeling after the Conservatives crashed the economy and sent mortgages rocketing by hundreds of pounds every month. Rishi Sunak is too weak to stand up to the reckless actions of Liz Truss and it’s working people that pay the price.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said Mr Sunak should withdraw the Conservative whip from his predecessor. "Sunak cannot have a Conservative MP on his backbenches who peddles conspiracy theories, and is frankly becoming a national embarrassment on the global stage,” she said.

Ms Truss said she was “definitely” standing as a Conservative MP again in South West Norfolk, although she faces a revolt there from some grassroots Tories unhappy at her antics of late.

“There is a perception that she spends all her time in America with fascist groups,” retired teacher Andrew Steven told The Sunday Times, arguing that her “money making” abroad meant that she had in effect “vanished” from the constituency: “She hasn’t been seen for dust.”