A political journalist has laid bare the calamitous start to the Liz Truss premiership as she opened a face-to-face interview with the prime minister with a brutal appraisal of the first days in power.
Beth Rigby, the political editor of Sky News, earned plaudits online for her scathing opening gambit as Truss made a series of broadcast interviews at the Tory party conference in Birmingham.
“Prime minister, you’ve been in power for 28 days – but ten of those were when politics was paused.
“In 18 days, then, you’ve announced £45 billion of tax cuts without setting a fiscal framework.
“It precipitated a £65 billion emergency bond buying programme by the Bank of England to protect pension funds.
“The pound tanked. One thousand mortgage deals were removed from the market as interest rate rise expectations spiked.
“You established a 33-point lead for Labour in the polls, and now the ‘lady not for turning’ has announced a massive u-turn on a policy.
“This is surely the worst start of any prime minister.”
In reply, the prime minister didn’t address the accusation directly but mapped out how she faced the energy costs crisis, growing inflation and a global economic slowdown as she pointed to a government that “acted decisively” to tackle bills.
In another awkward moment, Rigby asked the prime minister whether she herself had a mortgage, to which she replied: “I do.”
Rigby went again: “And do you have an issue about remortgaging?”
“Well I,” Truss said, while awkwardly laughing. “I, I mean I do have a mortgage, yes I do.”
The testing interview came as the prime minister and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s decision to ditch plans to abolish the 45p tax rate paid by the highest earners has led to a break down of cabinet unity, with Truss given 10 days to save her job.