The regional BBC round is normally the amuse-bouche of pre-conference media: a bit of light relief before the main course. But with a plunging pound and market mania, this morning’s media appearances for Liz Truss resembled something of a turkey shoot, with eight regional interviewers lining up in 60 minutes to savage the PM’s mini-Budget. Given the sterling shenanigans of recent days, it’s likely that most had more listeners tuning in from Wall Street and the City than ever before in their history.
The ‘hateful eight’ began at 8 a.m this morning with Radio Leeds. The tone was set from early on with a clip of a man now considering using a food bank; Truss responded by talking about the energy package.
‘What else?’ demanded her host, who added, with regards to the PM’s absence from the public eye in recent days: ‘Where have you been?’.
Next up at 8.08 a.m was Radio Norfolk where Truss was asked about the roof of the local hospital being held up by props: she will lobby the Health Secretary Therese Coffey but make no promises on her behalf. Hmm.
Then came Radio Kent at 8.15 a.m. ‘Are you ashamed of what you’ve done? Are you?’ asked Truss’s interrogator.
‘We are working very closely with the Bank of England’ replied Truss.
‘They are putting out your fire,’ shot back Anna Cookson.
Fourth on the list was Radio Lancashire at 8.22 a.m where, after food, health and gilts, came fracking. In an exchange fraught with more pauses than a Pinter play, the new PM danced around what ‘local consent’ meant before being asked: ‘Do you actually know where Preston New Road is, where they have been fracking?’
She admitted: ‘I don’t think I’ve been to that site in the past.’
‘Shouldn’t you?’ came the reply.
Halfway through, with little sign of relief, came Radio Nottingham at 8.30