‘This is so awkward.’
Liz Truss is now the bookies’ favourite to be Johnson’s successor.
The Remainer turned hard-line Brexiteer is billing herself an experienced, “core Tory” candidate who can be “trusted to deliver” and can “hit the ground running from day one.”
We look at some of foreign secretary’s most painfully memorable moments, which offer a reminder of what is likely to come as the contest to be crowned next Tory leader and prime minister descends into a brutal six-week blue-on-blue fight.
Truss gets schooled by school kids
On July 22, Truss visited Peterborough to meet a group of school children, who didn’t hold back in voicing their feelings towards Boris Johnson and the situation at No 10.
A young boy accurately set the tone of the meeting, which was filmed by Sky News, saying: “This is so awkward.”
Another asked “where’s Boris Johnson,”, saying “we hate him”, leading to another child asking why they haven’t kicked him out of Downing Street yet.
When pressed to evict Johnson if she becomes prime minister, Truss attempted to gain some control over the conversation, saying, “he will have to move out at that point, that is true.”
Needless to say, the ‘awkward’ meeting rapidly spawned ridicule on social media.
Rant about cheese and pork
Truss’s passionate speech about cheese and pork markets resurfaced this week. During the bizarre speech at the 2014 Tory Party conference Truss ranted about the importance of eating British food. Describing how the UK only imports two-thirds of apples, nine-tenths of pears, and two-thirds of cheese, as a “disgrace”, the speech earned plenty of ridicule.
“I thought Boris was bad, she is embarrassing beyond belief,” a YouTube viewer wrote.
Another asked if the clip was a parody.
Truss tells Brits to fight in Ukraine
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the foreign secretary appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Morning show and suggested the government would back Brits who want to go and fight in Ukraine against Russian troops.
Truss was asked about President Zelenskyy’s calls for people from abroad to join an international force. The foreign secretary said: “If people want to support that struggle, I would support them in doing that.”
The comments directly contrasted to the government’s advice urging the people of Britain not to visit Ukraine because of the danger it would put on their lives.
The comments were labelled as ‘bizarre,’ and ‘crazy,’ leading to Truss making a rapid U-turn, claiming she was merely “expressing support for the Ukrainian cause.”
“I didn’t see the interview!”
Appearing on Sky’s Kay Burley show, Liz Truss was asked about Rachel Maclean’s comments that people should consider taking on more hours at work or move to a better paid job to combat the rise in the cost of living.
When pressed about the minister’s comments, the foreign secretary responded by saying it was a mischaracterisation of what Maclean had said. When pushed by Burley about how the remarks – made twice by the Tory minister – could be a mischaracterisation, Truss said: “I didn’t see the interview.”
The awkward interview was naturally teared into online, with astonished viewers sharing their views.
“Liz Truss here embodying the way this government acts:
“It doesn’t matter whether I’ve seen something or not, even if you are right you are wrong, end of,” someone tweeted.
Another said: “Defend the indefensible… and then run away when challenged.”
Russia mocks ‘new Iron Lady’
In 2021, a Russian broadcaster appeared to question Truss’s sanity, branding the foreign secretary as the ‘new Iron Lady’ as she was seen riding on tank close to the Russian border in Estonia.
Moscow responded to the ‘provocative’ images of Truss on board a British army Challenger 2 tank.
“There is a new Iron Lady in British politics.
“UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss had a ride on a tank in Estonia.
“During joint drills in the Baltics, Truss claimed she wants a world where democracies prosper – not just survive.
“Apparently a tank ride, even (in Estonia), promotes prosperity,” said Anatoly Kuzichev, a state-owned Channel 1 presenter.
Kuzichev went on to suggest that the images of the foreign secretary on the tank were an upgrade on Boris Johnson’s Peppa Pig fun fair shenanigans.
Responding to a clip of an interview with Liz Truss on YouTube, one viewer summed up their thoughts about the person dubbed to be the country’s next prime minister:
“Never truss a Tory.”
Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward