LONDON — A member of the British government has swept aside Liz Truss after the Prime Minister saw his first weeks on the job descend into chaos.
Trade Secretary Conor Burns suggested Truss prioritized presentation over substance during his tenure as head of the trade department as he nabbed one of his former leadership rivals as a future conservative saviour.
He made the comments after Truss was forced into a humiliating U-turn over a controversial tax cut for Britain’s wealthiest that was the centerpiece of his government’s mini-budget.
Speaking at a side event at the Tory conference in Birmingham, Burns said there was “not a huge amount of good news coming out of the government in the months ahead. The only department that will have any good news is the department for international trade.”
And while he praised new international trade chief Kemi Badenoch, he also took more direct aim at Truss, who became famous for her upbeat social media presence during her time as trade secretary under former prime minister Boris Johnson. Some officials began referring to the Department of International Trade as the “Department for Instagramming Truss” during his tenure.
“Kemi fully understands that trade needs to go beyond Instagram posts about free trade agreements and really focus on providing businesses with the support needed to unlock the potential that free trade agreements open up,” said he declared.
Badenoch fought an insurgent campaign in the recent Tory leadership race and finished fourth overall. Truss named her International Trade Secretary after the race. Burns said Badenoch was “the future of our party”, amid speculation that Truss would survive as prime minister for a long time.
He added he was ‘not a big fan of talking about bigger cakes’ – after Truss repeatedly said she was focused on increasing the size of the UK’s economic ‘pie’ United rather than its redistribution. However, Burns insisted that the trade program was a crucial part of growing the economy.
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