Liz Truss wanted to sack Bank of England governor and blames Boris’s dog for fleas in No 10

Former PM ordered furniture for Downing Street but was forced to resign before it arrived

Kate Devlin
Politics and Whitehall Editor
Friday 12 April 2024 20:14 BST
Liz Truss claims Brexit caused no disruption

Liz Truss has suggested Boris Johnson’s dog left fleas in No 10 and revealed she wanted to sack the governor of the Bank of England in extraordinary extracts from her new book.

The bombshell revelations include that she spent several of her six weeks as prime minister “itching” because Downing Street was “infested” with the pests.

And her disastrous economic policy – which led to her being ousted from office – could have been even more extreme because she wanted to “appoint new senior leaders” in the UK’s central bank.

She admitted the move would have “amounted to a declaration of war on the economic establishment”.

She also:

  • Ordered furniture for Downing Street but was forced to resign before it arrived
  • Reveals she worried about how to get her hair done ahead of meetings with world leaders
  • Says she felt like a prisoner in No 10 and struggled even to get medicine for a cough
  • Says Boris Johnson asked at a meeting when he was PM: “Raise your hand if you want a steel industry in Britain”
  • Planned her disastrous economic policy at Chevening alongside the current cabinet secretary Simon Case
  • During her short time in office her daughters “did get to visit the nuclear bunker”

In extracts from the book published by the Daily Mail, she talked of her ruinous economic policy.

Former Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, has accused Ms Truss of turning Britain into “Argentina on the Channel” with her economic policy, saying she had a “basic misunderstanding of what drives economies”.

However, Ms Truss revealed she wanted to go even further and faster with the policies that would eventually drive her from office.

One option, discussed during planning sessions with Mr Case and others, included appointing “new senior leaders in the Bank of England and Treasury who were prepared to challenge the status quo. But this would have amounted to a declaration of war on the economic establishment”. It would also have taken too long, she noted.

In the end, she decided to “try to work constructively with the governor” of the bank.

Explaining her desire to shake up the system, she said that when Mr Johnson was PM he asked in a meeting for those who “want a steel industry in Britain” to put up their hands. Treasury officials “sat on their hands”, she said.

She was also scathing about the realities of living in No 10.

“The place was infested with fleas,” she wrote. “Some claimed that this was down to Boris and Carrie's dog Dilyn, but there was no conclusive evidence. In any case, the entire place had to be sprayed with flea killer. I spent several weeks itching.”

The “most difficult thing to get used to”, she wrote, was that “spontaneous excursions were all but impossible: I was effectively a prisoner”.

She recruited her teenage daughters, Liberty and Frances, to run errands “because it was easier for them to leave the buildings without being spotted”. Of their time in one of the most famous addresses in the country she said: “I’m pleased they at least managed to fit in a sleepover with their friends. And they did get to visit the nuclear bunker.”

But at one point, suffering from a cough, “my diary secretary had to go out in the middle of the night to buy me some medicine”, she said.

She also complained about the “lack of personal support” for the PM, which she describes as “pretty shocking”.

“Despite now being one of the most photographed people in the country, I had to organise my own hair and make-up appointments,” she wrote.

She also hit out at her successor Rishi Sunak. Who she defeated to become prime minister but was forced to hand over to less than two months later.

Writing about his initial leadership campaign she said that “junior ministers and aides “had apparently been told by his backers that if they wanted a place on Rishi's team, they'd have to join the revolt against Boris and resign at once. Many duly did”.

She added: “Although there was never any suggestion that Rishi himself indulged in such underhand behaviour, reports circulated that MPs were being warned to support him or remain permanently out in the cold.”

In the book the former PM, who was famously outlasted by an iceberg lettuce in a blonde wig, attempted to explain the failures of her time in office – including her radical policies.

Ten Years Tto Save the West also documents her historic meeting with the late queen at Balmoral in Scotland just days before she passed away.

According to Ms Truss, the 96-year-old monarch had given the prime minister two words of advice: “Pace yourself.” The former Tory leader wrote that maybe she should have listened.

Since leaving No 10, Ms Truss has been a consistent thorn in Mr Sunak’s side. She is leading opposition to his smoking ban plans, calling the move “profoundly un-Conservative”.

She has also regularly appeared at Conservative meetings on both sides of the Atlantic claiming that the “deep state” had “sabotaged” her tax-cutting plans from Kwasi Kwarteng’s notoriously disastrous 2022 mini-Budget.

Questioned about her comments last month, Mr Sunak said if he was part of the “deep state”: “I probably wouldn’t tell you if I was, would I?”

On the smoking ban he has also insisted there is nothing “un-Conservative about caring about our children’s health,” adding: “I respect that some people will disagree with me on this but … I think this is the right long-term thing for our country.

“Smoking causes one in four cancer deaths. It’s responsible for a hospital admission every minute.”

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