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Liz Truss, between “the humiliation of having to give up” and that of being “a simple puppet”

“Sorry”, Liz Truss does not feel a desire to isolate herself. The Prime Minister admitted “mistakes” on Monday, but promised to remain in office “to keep (her) commitments for the national interest”. The one who has been in office since September 6 is however facing headwinds. To the point that a tabloid, the Daily Starhas been broadcasting a YouTube live for five days to find out if the leader has a lifespan longer than that of a lettuce. 20 Minutes takes stock of the “Liz Truss dossier”, which Agnès Alexandre-Collier presents as follows: “It’s complicated, but exciting if you like House of Cards ! »

Why is Liz Truss in turmoil?

At the end of September, Liz Truss announced a massive reduction in taxes for the richest, estimated at 50 billion euros. Consequence: a huge thrill on the financial markets and a plummeting pound, which reached a historic low against the dollar. A financial storm that put the Prime Minister in great difficulty, with public opinion, but also within her party.

“Liz Truss campaigned for the post of party leader with a program that she has always defended: reducing taxes, stimulating wealth creation and promoting this trickle-down theory which should benefit everyone”, contextualizes Agnès Alexandre-Collier. , questioned by 20 Minutes. Except that “the markets did not support” the presentation of its first flagship measure. “She backtracked and had to appoint a new, much more economically centrist Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt. »

Which unrolled a plan that unravels almost everything that Truss had promised, just to stick more to what had been promised during the party’s victory in the 2019 legislative elections. “By presenting an economic program rather located on its left, the party Conservative won a number of constituencies that had always voted for Labor in the north of England. The program of Liz Truss would not have been tenable in the long term, the conservative deputies would have had to report to the voters every day and be laminated during their hotlines, ”predicts our expert again.

The gulf separating the policy henceforth pursued from that which Truss defended considerably weakened the interested party. “She believes that having been elected on the basis of these promises, she was entitled to introduce these measures. Except that the election was only for conservative activists, explains Agnès Alexandre-Collier. In the end, Liz Truss was elected by 0.2% of the British electorate, ie conservative activists from the South East and the City. It claims today a legitimacy which was granted to it only by a tiny minority. »

Can Liz Truss stay at 10 Downing Street?

While Interior Minister Suella Braverman, Environment Minister Ranil Jayawardena and other party members have called for unity, the Prime Minister is now in an uncomfortable chair. Not to say an ejection seat. “We can imagine that in the long term, the conservatives will want to get rid of her and ask for a new election of the leader”, estimates Agnès Alexandre-Collier.

“It’s pretty untenable. It’s played out between the humiliation of having to give up everything and clinging to a position for which she no longer has any relevance. If the government leads a policy opposite to what it has advocated, what is the point of seeing it still in exercise? To continue to function as a simple puppet at the head of the government would mean giving up everything in which she believes. »

A motion of no confidence could be tabled by the Truss own camp and, in the event of a favorable vote, provoke a new election of the leader of the party. “If 15% of Conservative MPs request a motion, there will be a vote again,” confirms Agnès Alexandre-Collier. We can have the same scenario as in September with Johnson: we find a new leader, and we start as before. »

Three other options are emerging: the retention of the Prime Minister, a resignation, or a motion of no confidence tabled by Labor which, if passed, would provoke a new general election at high risk. “There are still more scenarios in favor of his departure than in favor of his maintenance, that answers the question obliquely”, concludes Agnès Alexandre-Collier.

Who to succeed Liz?

Several names stand out, including former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, new Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt and Minister for Relations with Parliament Penny Mordaunt. All had run for the election of the new leader of the Conservative Party this summer, but had finished behind the current Prime Minister.

“The Conservatives have made a big difference between what the voters wanted, a rather interventionist and redistributive program in economic terms, and what their traditional adherents want, which is the opposite. They find themselves torn between these two poles. We are a bit at the two extremes of the conservative party today and no rising figure is really in the middle, ”notes Agnès Alexandre-Collier, however.

And to add: “Rishi Sunak, from this point of view, it could stick, but he has already failed, I don’t know if he will want to go back. Jeremy Hunt has a slightly more moderate image, a certain stature because he was a long-time health minister, but he also lost to Johnson. It remains problematic if they have to organize a new election and find someone who can make a consensus. There is even talk of a return of Boris Johnson, you see where we are, it’s really a sign of despair. »

The Labor Party is already emerging as the big winner from the setbacks of its historical adversary. In sight: the next legislative elections, which will be held by the end of 2024. “The chaos is such that even without doing anything, they take advantage of the situation, loose Agnès Alexandre-Collier. If the elections take place in 2023, I think we will have no trouble predicting the victory of Labor. »

Source: 20minutes

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