Politics is a Numbers Game

Liz Truss says politics is a numbers game…

‘The race is hotting up. I’m a great believer in politics – it’s not really about what you say, it’s all about the numbers. That’s what counts. I’m afraid to say, I am actually struggling on that front. I don’t have a great deal of numbers and some of my colleagues have built up a huge amount. I have to admit in this audience, I’ve only got one oven.’

Marr: Liz Truss is ‘the Cheerful Right Winger’

Tory Leadership Hopefuls: Who Are You?

We could be days away from a Tory leadership race if Theresa May loses a no confidence vote. The jostling for position on the Tory benches is becoming blatant. Leadership hopefuls are tapping up donors for support, assembling campaign teams and beaming as they glad-hand fellow MPs. With that in mind WPI Strategy commissioned a 2,000 head poll from Deltapoll with fieldwork done last week (25/26 March). They asked the public “Who would you recognise in the street?”

David Lidington would be recognised by 1 in 20 people – which seems on the high side. Liz Truss would be recognised by 1 in 14 people proving that not everyone is on Instagram. Dominic Raab will be disappointed that his brief profile raising period as Brexit Secretary means that 1 in 9 people claim they know his face. Then we get into potential leaders who do have some recognition with voters. Amber, Saj and Hunt are recognised by a quarter to a third of voters, Mogg (who is not running) and Gove are recognised by two fifths of voters. There is only one candidate who stands out with over three quarters of the public recognising him – Boris.

How Top Tories Responded to Brady’s Victory

Top Tories gave their reaction to last night’s votes on Newsnight – Graham Brady insisted that it was the Commons that had given May a mandate, not himself. A forceful Steve Baker told people to “wake up to the reality” that “that backstop is not getting through the House of Commons, not ever.” Boris reiterated that his support for May’s deal was conditional on the backstop being removed and replaced with alternative arrangements.

Liz Truss added that yesterday’s results were a “significant way forward” that showed that “there is a majority for the PM’s deal plus some changes to the backstop.” The EU have already launched a media blitz to insist it’s not possible but behind the scenes they have no choice but to digest the significance of the result…

Meanwhile on Planet Anna Soubry, it was all “deeply concerning” as she saw her party “drifting over to the right”. Cheer up…

Truss Categorically Rules Out Customs Union

The big question now is which way does May tack to try to secure a majority for her deal in Parliament. Does she toughen up her stance to try to get her own party and the DUP back on board, or go for a softer Brexit to get Labour MPs on board? Without direct support from Corbyn it’s hard to see how this would ever deliver enough votes. Not to mention the irreparable damage it would do to her own party…

Liz Truss has put herself firmly in the former camp, categorically ruling out a customs union on Peston last night and adding that “there are 118 Conservatives that we have the potential to win over, and I think that’s where we should start.” Number 10 is holding firm for now, but there are plenty of Remainers – including in Cabinet – trying to pull it in the opposite direction…

Friday Caption Contest (Lizmoji Edition)

Entries in the comments…

Liz’s Lap Dance

The Commons erupts with cheers as Liz Truss can’t find a seat on the front bench for the Budget Statement and ends up sitting on Sajid Javid’s knee. Not the first time she’s sat on another MP’s lap…

Budget Photo 2018


The lady in red, Liz Truss, is wearing a £245 “Forever dress” from British designer, Karen Millen. The rest of the Treasury team are in dark grey suits.

Will this be Hammond’s last budget?

Liz Truss Backs Canada-Plus

Liz Truss has become the latest member of the Cabinet to cast doubt on Chequers following Penny Mordaunt’s refusal to explicitly back it this morning. Multiple sources told Guido that freedom-fighting Truss told an off-the-record dinner that the final Brexit outcome would be “between Norway and Canada” and reacted approvingly to the suggestion that it could be Canada-plus. Truss has not denied this, her office giving only a bland “no comment”Is Liz joining Penny in showing a bit of Brexit leg to the party faithful ahead of an inevitable leadership election?

UPDATE: A Government spokesman responds: “Liz continues to fully support the Prime Minister’s Brexit proposal agreed at Chequers”. In public at least…

Liz Truss Takes Seat in Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament has a surprising new addition this morning, with Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss taking a seat in the main chamber. However, she hasn’t done a job swap with Ruth Davidson – it turns out she had to take a seat in the main chamber as all the committee rooms were fully booked, forcing the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee to relocate there instead. Although she went to school in Scotland, it’s safe to say that Liz has higher ambitions than becoming an MSP…

The Absolute Boyfriend

Liz Truss: “I do think MPs like Jess who do believe in those values need to stand up against Jeremy Corbyn and dump him.”

Jess Phillips: “You’re making him sound like my boyfriend…”

lolz

Taxpayers Pay £1 Billion-a-Week UK Debt Interest

Liz Truss has kindly reminded Guido that the Treasury has other problems besides Brexit. The taxpayer is funding debt interest of over £1 billion-a-week, which is more than the budget for Scotland and Wales combined. Remember that when hear Scottish and Welsh MPs demanding more taxpayer spending. When John McDonnell proposes to borrow £500 billion, remember who will pay it back. You, the taxpayer…

Truss: Fund Spending Plans With Cuts Not Taxes

The Truss / Gove banter last night has been blown out of all proportion, with one headline about the story actually reading: “Tory Cabinet Falls Into Open Warfare”. It was a joke about Gove rhyming with stove. Believe it or not, there are more important Cabinet splits than this one…

The row has distracted from the more interesting contents of the Truss speech, which was as sound an intervention as you are ever going to get from a minister in a Theresa May government. You can read it in full here. One interesting line was her endorsement for the Centre for Policy Studies’ campaign to fund the government’s spending plans with cuts rather than tax rises. She wants MPs to attend a series of meetings to make proposals for cuts to waste and low value areas of spending, to be published by the CPS at Tory party conference.

“The more government spends, the higher taxes have to be… higher tax means less money for me to decide when to go on holiday or buy a new car… there are many ageing countries with advanced economies that do not have high tax and spend… Canada, after the misconceived expansionist years in the 1960s, when they raised taxes and nationalised businesses…rescued their economy in the 90s by cutting spending and balancing the budget… All across the world, countries are addressing their problems not simply by raising tax and spend, but by reshaping and reinventing themselves… Some of my colleagues are not being clear about the tax implications of their proposed higher spending… I want to take a zero-based, zero-tolerance approach to wasteful spend. We need to take a look at ourselves and think “what is the best way to use the money entrusted to us?” We have to make every pound pull its weight. We have to make every pound pull its weight.”

It is all too rare these days that any Tory makes these noises. It is the polar opposite of Number 10’s approach, and far more interesting than the Gove bluster. At least one leadership candidate will be backing lower taxes next time round…

Liz Truss on “Wood-Burning Gove”

Team Truss spinning hard that she didn’t break collective responsibility on the government’s plastic straws policy as that line was taken out of the speech. As you can see above though, she did make the crack at “wood-burning Gove”.

Truss is boldly attempting to spin her jibe as a good-natured joke about a “good mate”. Interesting way to treat your mates…

Hammond a Rule-Taker on Instagram

Liz Truss’ Instagram is a thing of wonder – at the launch of Freer the other night she defended the rights of “young people to put pictures of themselves on the internet”. Alas it turns out not everyone is a fan. Liz recently snapped this selfie of the Treasury team sitting on the frontbench in the Commons. Guido hears Phil Hammond, a stickler for the rules which dictate photos cannot be taken on the parliamentary estate, did not expect it to appear online and made his feelings about the breach known to the photographer. Hammond takes Insta very seriously – a private account called ‘Terrier About Town’ follows the lives of the Chancellor’s two dogs Rex and Oscar. Any journalist who attempts to follow is immediately blocked. Who called the fun police?

Tories Show Signs of Life at Freer Launch

Liz Truss labelled Labour “humourless po-faced hat-wearing socialists” who would threaten freedom of speech as she launched the new Tory think tank Freer at the Conrad hotel last night. In a wide-ranging speech in which she told the story of rebelling against her socialist family as a child, Truss called for a “Tory revolution” led in industrial towns and port cities by a new generation of “Uber-riding, Airbnb-ing, Deliveroo-eating freedom-fighters” she dubbed “Tories with attitude”. At a time when the government is dominated by the anti-libertarian, anti-free market, statist dogma of Theresa May and Nick Timothy, this was refreshing to hear. It certainly won’t do Liz any harm with the Tory grassroots…

The Freer bash exceeded expectations – MPs present seemed genuinely buoyed to see some actual signs of life in the Tory party. It piqued the interest of senior ministers including Michael Gove and Dom Raab and Brexit brain Shanker Singham. And unlike some other Tory “initiatives“, this appears to be a real thing that will back up the chat – Freer have committed eight MPs from the 2017 intake to publishing a paper a month for the next eight months. Pro-freedom domestic policies have been shunned by this government so it is encouraging that a new generation, the likes of Lee Rowley, Luke Graham, Rachel Maclean and Kemi Badenoch, make the case for individualism and a smaller state. Even if “Tories with attitude” comes with a slightly unfortunate abbreviation…

Coded Leadership Hint from Truss?

Guido is beginning to think Liz Truss is going to be a Tory leadership candidate. Why else would she be learning how to put a cabinet together?

Liz Truss’ Instagram: A Modern Pioneer of British Freedom

Last week Guido expressed his admiration for Liz Truss’ social media makeover, as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury spoiled us with shareable content about onions. Liz is on great form today, telling us on Instagram that vape shops and vegan burger bars are “modern pioneers of British freedom”, and that “My values are set on a pro-freedom default. I don’t like being told what to do”.

No one should ever tell you what to do, Liz.

Onions And #Megabantz: Truss’ Twitter Makeover

Followers of Liz Truss Twitter account have noticed a change of tone of late. This morning the Chief Secretary to the Treasury posted a pic of “a wonderful display of onions in Caxton Street.” Check out this #megabantz content…

Leadership bid?

Truss: We Can’t Undo Worboys Decision

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Ruth Davidson on working with PM Boris

“I have worked with him when he was Foreign Secretary. I will work with whoever the Prime Minister is. I haven’t had a phone call yet to ask me to run his campaign in Scotland. I am not expecting the call. But I will genuinely judge him on the same criteria as I judge any of the candidates.”

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