It’s a curious mix that are backing Liz Truss. Most of the Boris diehards like Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg backed her early on in their quest to deny Rishi Sunak the premiership. But since she became the frontrunner, a number of new-found friends have declared their support too: including those who found little favour under Boris Johnson. Chief among them is Tom ‘Talleyrand’ Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, in which capacity he’s repeatedly criticised his own government’s strategy.
And today Tugendhat is at it again, taking to Times Red Box – the preferred pulpit of the frustrated backbencher – to make the case for Truss and, by extension, damn her presumptive predecessor. He writes: ‘our word has been diminished in recent years’ and that in future months he hopes ‘we will once again be steadfast and reliable allies for those values we hold dear. But to do that, we will have to match actions with words. Foreign policy is not a stepping stone, it is not a gimmick, and bluntly, it needs serious and credible leadership to repair our tattered relationships.’
Tell us what you really think, eh Tom? Mr S wonders how many other Trussettes share that assessment of the government’s record. Still, for all Tugendhat’s new-found enthusiasm for the current Foreign Secretary, Mr S can’t help fearing that his aspirations to succeed her are likely to be thwarted. The plum post instead could possibly be filled by James Cleverly, who, despite being Education Secretary, has developed something of a new-found enthusiasm it seems for retweeting posts about defence and foreign matters.
Whether it’s foreign policy or allocating promised jobs, ambitious MPs will indeed be hoping Truss matches actions with words…