The Daily Telegraph

Roars from hordes for Liz’s every utterance as she shoots true and blue

- By Madeline Grant

‘There were even a few one-word answers, a quasimythi­cal event in Westminste­r’

In the run-up to Liz Truss’s first PMQS, the Chamber had become a self-congratula­tory moshpit. Members of her ministry swarmed excitedly around the Speaker’s chair, and indulged in ritual back-slapping. Thérèse Coffey, radiating gung-ho enthusiasm, looked ready to crack out another celebrator­y cigar. A dazed Suella Braverman wandered in via the Westminste­r Hall route used by most MPS, then remembered she was Home Secretary now and hot-footed it to the “VIP entrance” at the back.

Notable by their absence were Rishi Sunak, and, predictabl­y, Boris Johnson, though Sajid Javid was there, sporting a summer chill-out beard, the kind you’d see on a teenager returning from a gap yah in Koh Samui.

A huge roar enveloped Liz Truss as she sashayed in, looking sleek in a blue pantsuit – shades of Keeley Hawes in The Bodyguard. The Tory troops, clearly desperate for things to go well, cheered raucously no matter what she said or did.

Theresa May also congratula­ted Truss on becoming Britain’s third female Prime Minister. “Why does she think it is that all three female Prime Ministers have been Conservati­ve?”, she asked. Truss positively beamed at her. “I look forward to calling on her advice,” she said. (Oh no).

“There does seem to be an extraordin­ary inability of the Labour Party to find a female leader,” said Truss. “Or indeed a leader who doesn’t come from north London.” The Tory hordes roared at this, and even Sir Keir Starmer repressed a chuckle.

Certainly, a protracted leadership race has not cured PM Truss of her Janet and John delivery. Our Liz sometimes sounds as if she is addressing a class of remedial readers; all mumbling staccato and very long pauses between words. But her replies were assured, refreshing­ly direct. There were even a few one-word answers – no to a windfall tax, for instance – a quasi-mythical event in Westminste­r. It was almost as if the sphinx was at the despatch box. All of this seemed to flummox Starmer, who is more used to spending PMQS trying to prise answers out of Boris Johnson.

Truss’s true-blue rhetoric seemed to bring out Starmer’s inner Corbyn too.

He railed against “excess profits” with the wild-eyed conviction of a politburo member sounding off about Kulaks. “Same old Tories… There is nothing new about the Tory fantasy of trickle down economics,” he scoffed.

In Labour’s world, Oceania will always be at war with Eastasia.

“Well there’s nothing new about a Labour leader who is calling for new tax increases,” retorted Truss.

This was a decent comeback, albeit not quite as hilarious as the Tory backbenche­rs made it out to be.

They erupted into thigh-slapping mirth, as if Liz had been temporaril­y replaced by Lenny Bruce.

Across the despatch box, Angela Rayner pouted and sucked in her cheeks, looking like she’d swallowed a wasp. Keir Starmer swiftly moved the conversati­on on to raw sewage.

 ?? ?? Liz Truss, above, takes her first Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons
Liz Truss, above, takes her first Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons
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