Politics explained

What are the odds of Liz Truss becoming the next Tory leader?

She may be the darling of the party membership, and she’s certainly on manoeuvres, but has the foreign secretary got what it takes to be the new Iron Lady?

Friday 24 December 2021 08:01 GMT
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All trussed up and somewhere to go: Truss has recruited an adviser to manage her social media
All trussed up and somewhere to go: Truss has recruited an adviser to manage her social media (Reuters)

Even making allowances for the usual vanity of politicians, it does rather look as though Liz Truss is stepping up her campaign for the party leadership. The latest media move is one of those high-profile, image-building pieces that basically amount to a declaration of malign intent. Truss is a natural for these, with her Theresa May-like taste for stylish gear and a willingness to pose any which way the features editors would like her to.

You may remember a fashion shoot, sorry policy interview, she did for The Mail on Sunday a couple of years ago, when she appeared bent double in a pair of giant baggy trousers, vaguely reminiscent of David Bowie in his Scary Monsters clowny phase. Maybe that’s appropriate for Truss’s increasingly metaphysical approach to politics.

Politically featureless, with no fixed abode – she’s been everything in her time, from a Social Democrat to Cameron Remainer to, most recently, anti-scientific hardline Brexiteer – she represents a blank canvas upon which the Tories can paint whatever they like, magical thinking included. That’s an excellent approach to winning the leadership, but a terrible manifesto for government. These days she does rather make Boris Johnson sound look like head of research at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. She’s on manoeuvres, again, and travels light.

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