Katy Balls Katy Balls

What Liz Truss didn’t say

As the big winner of the reshuffle, Liz Truss’s appointment as Foreign Secretary set the cat among the pigeons. Truss is the first Conservative woman to take on the brief and cuts a rather different figure to her predecessor Dominic Raab who was, by comparison, publicity shy. Since her promotion, there has been a non-stop stream of Twitter and Instagram posts documenting her meetings in New York, Mexico and Westminster. Today in Manchester, Truss gave her first speech to a domestic audience on what she wants to achieve.

Truss is the first conservative woman to take on the brief and cuts a rather different figure to her predecessor Dominic Raab

The former International Trade Secretary was typically optimistic, saying she wanted to make sure Britain is ‘more competitive, bolder and more forward-leaning than any other country on earth’. She spoke of her desire to bring more countries into the liberal democratic sphere of influence by building strong ‘economic partnerships’ and thereby building this network of liberty’. Truss found time to invoke Thatcher – quoting her Guildhall speech after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 when Thatcher said ‘when people are free to choose, they choose freedom’.

It was clear from Truss’s comments that despite leaving the Department for International Trade, she still sees trade as a key part of her brief. She said: ‘We want to trade with and invest in more countries to our mutual benefit – which leads to freer and wealthier societies aligned to the cause of liberty, spreading the human rights and values we believe in.’ She added that trade with China was something the UK had to do – but in order for it to happen, ‘China needs to play by the rules’.

What was revealing from the speech is who Truss views as the UK’s most important allies.

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