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LONDON — Liz Truss stuck to her guns in a defiant speech on Monday as Britain’s longest-serving prime minister defended her troubled economic legacy.
Addressing the Institute for Government think tank, Truss blamed the media, the opposition Labor Party and economic orthodoxy for his downfall during his 49 days in office.
And he attributed their failure to the „reaction” of the „political and economic establishment” to his policies.
Pressed by a question and answer over his claim that he „crashed the economy,” Truss pushed back: „I want to challenge the phrase 'crashed the economy.’
„The reality is that since I left office both mortgage rates and gilt prices have gone higher than they were during the mini-budget. So when you say that I think you’re repeating a line that should have been taken from Labor.
Truss’s mini-budget – officially billed as a „plan for growth” – aims to cut taxes and cut regulations. But the debt-financed plan was not scrutinized by Westminster’s independent public spending watchdog, and a market failure followed its revelation.
Most of its measures were undone weeks later, and Truss argued on Monday that he was „effectively forced into a policy change” before his ideas could be implemented.
’Fat a Pig on Market Day’
The closest Truce came to a concession, the former prime minister said the mini-budget could have been released too early.
„Some people said we were in too much of a hurry, and it’s certainly true that I wasn’t trying to fatten the pig on market day – I was raising the pig and trying to butcher it too,” he said. „I agree with that.”
However, Truss largely blamed what he called the „anti-growth coalition” for undermining his plan.
„The anti-growth coalition is now a powerful force, including the economic and political elite, the corporatist section of the media and part of the Conservative Parliamentary Party,” he argued, adding that his free economic ideas were „simply … unfashionable on the London dinner party circuit.”
He urged the Tory Party, now led by his successor, Rishi Sunak, to „not be afraid” of climate activists, „anti-capitalism and the … awakened diversity brigade”.
Truss’s political opponents rushed to his re-emergence, almost a year after the mini-budget.
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: „Liz Truss giving a speech on economic growth is like an arsonist talking about fire safety.”
Sunak’s spokesman was pressed on Monday whether the prime minister had tuned out. „No,” came the reply. „He was the prime minister and held the meetings.”
„Oddany rozwiązywacz problemów. Przyjazny hipsterom praktykant bekonu. Miłośnik kawy. Nieuleczalny introwertyk. Student.