Liz Truss rules out future PM bid but ‘doesn’t regret’ her short time in No 10

Politics

Liz Truss has said she would never want to be prime minister again but “doesn’t regret” her time in Downing Street.

In an interview with The Spectator, the former PM ruled out a future bid at the top job after her tumultuous 44 days in the position last year.

Asked whether she would want to be prime minister again she simply replied: “No.”

Pressed on her typical “never say never” outlook, Ms Truss said she “definitely” wants to be part of “promoting a pro-growth agenda” but insisted she had no ambition to be back inside Number 10.

“You know, I definitely want to carry on as an MP,” she said.

“I’m positive about the future of Britain. I’m positive about the future of the Conservative Party.

“I think we need to start building more of a strong intellectual base. But I’m not desperate to get back into Number 10 now.”

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Ms Truss became the shortest-serving PM in modern British history when she resigned 44 days into the job after her mini-budget caused turmoil in the financial markets and sent the pound crashing.

Asked if she regrets going for the job in the first place she said: “No, I don’t. I don’t regret it.”

On whether she backs Rishi Sunak, who was drafted in after losing out to her in the summer leadership race, Ms Truss said: “I will be supporting him.”

The former PM also addressed her decision to sack her close friend and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng following the backlash to her mini-budget.

She said it was an “extremely difficult” decision but at the time she was getting some “very serious warnings from senior officials that there could be a potential market meltdown the following week”.

Kwasi Kwarteng
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Sacking Kwasi Kwarteng was ‘difficult’, says Ms Truss

“I needed to do as much as I could to indicate that things were different, and that’s why I took the decision I did,” she said.

“I weighed up in my mind about whether I needed to do that. But the reality was I couldn’t in all conscience risk that situation.”

Ms Truss also admitted that she “wasn’t really focused on my long-term future” once she started reversing all of the economic policies that brought her into office, adding: “I was focused on making sure the country wasn’t in a serious situation.”

She also accepted that one of her most controversial measures – cutting the 45p tax rate for the country’s highest earners – was “maybe a step too far” and she underestimated the political impact of it.

However, she said she still believes “it’s the right thing to do for Britain” as she doubled down on her economic ideology.

She said: “I think if you have lower taxes right across the board, the country becomes more successful…and I think that’s the argument we fundamentally haven’t won.

“Was I trying to fatten the pig on market day? Maybe. There’s a long history of failing to make the case. And that’s what I’m thinking now. I’m thinking, how can we make the argument?”

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Former prime minister Liz Truss says her economic policies weren’t given a realistic chance

The former PM has largely kept a low profile since stepping aside in October, sparking the second leadership contest in a matter of months which quickly became a one-horse race as Mr Sunak was voted in by MPs to calm the markets.

However, on Sunday Ms Truss shared an essay in The Sunday Telegraph which described how her economic plan for growth – centred around cutting taxes – was not given a “realistic chance”.

The comments sparked speculation of a comeback following the International Monetary Fund’s warning that Britain’s economy will go into reverse this year and will fare worse than all other advanced nations – including Russia.

However, they faced a backlash from cross-party politicians.

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Tory peer Lord Barwell, who was Theresa May’s chief of staff, was scathing about Ms Truss’s explanation for the failure of her premiership.

“You were brought down because in a matter of weeks you lost the confidence of the financial markets, the electorate and your own MPs,” he tweeted.

“During a profound cost of living crisis, you thought it was a priority to cut tax for the richest people in the country.”

Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “The Conservatives crashed the economy, sank the pound, put pensions in peril and made working people pay the price through higher mortgages for years to come.

“After 13 years of low growth, squeezed wages and higher taxes under the Tories, only Labour offers the leadership and ideas to fix our economy and to get it growing.”

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