Liz Truss: The Remain-backing former Lib Dem leading the way to succeed Boris Johnson

She’s adopted more political positions than most people have had hot dinners, yet Liz Truss stands as one of the most popular cabinet ministers among Tory grassroots. Ahead of the new foreign secretary’s conference speech on Sunday, Sean O’Grady looks at her meteoric rise

Saturday 02 October 2021 21:30
<p>Right now, Truss is topping the ConservativeHome popularity charts </p>

Right now, Truss is topping the ConservativeHome popularity charts

As the Tories head to Manchester for their conference (no vaccine passport required, but they’ll still need some petrol), Liz Truss is likely to be a very hot property for the delegates. She’s the one they’d most like to have a selfie with, the one they’ll squeeze into an undersized, overheated hotel conference room in order to listen to and, mayhap, she’s the one they’d really like to lead them into their Brexity shortage-ridden future. They have a saying, apparently – the cringeworthy “In Liz We Truss”. Ambitious beyond belief (albeit that her ambitions run far beyond her ability), she has time on her side, too – she turned 46 in July; she was the youngest female cabinet minister ever appointed, at 38, to the Defra role in 2014; she’s the first female foreign secretary – and she has only been in the Commons for 11 years. You have to give it to her: she has momentum. It could happen.

If Boris Johnson were suddenly toppled as leader of the Conservatives, there is a very strong possibility that he would be replaced by the Right Honourable Elizabeth Mary Truss MP, Her Majesty’s secretary of state for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs. There’s a sobering thought for you. In this not entirely fantastical scenario, and provided she got past the MPs stage and made it onto the ballot that goes out to the 160,000 or so members of the party (who might actually select our next prime minister), there is every chance she’d walk it, elbowing her only serious rival, Rishi Sunak, out of the way. They might respect Sunak for his brains, competence, easy manner and presentational skills, but he’s not much excited about statues, or waging war on wokery and being needlessly offensive to minorities. Liz is. It’s Liz who can give them an ideological orgasm. Just watch this week.

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