Liz Truss’s U-turn suggests that Rishi Sunak could yet win the argument

Editorial: Truss’s policy programme generally gives the impression of having been insufficiently thought through

For someone who has so consciously copied Margaret Thatcher, Liz Truss must have found her U-turn acutely embarrassing. “You turn if you want to. The lady’s for turning too,” as the former prime minister never said.

That is no excuse, however, for the bad grace with which this most familiar of political manoeuvres was carried out. Her campaign issued a statement saying: “Over the last few hours there has been a wilful misrepresentation of our campaign.” It was unwise to accuse journalists, even indirectly, of “wilful misrepresentation” when they were accurately reporting a policy announced by Ms Truss herself.

The policy published on Monday night said: “Truss’s government will save up to £8.8bn a year by replacing national pay boards with regional pay boards.” It was not “misrepresenting” this plan to suggest that it meant lower pay than would otherwise be the case for public sector workers outside London and the South East, as the next sentence in the policy announcement said: “This will make it easier to adjust officials’ pay.”

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