'Why Me? Why Now?' Liz Truss Reveals Her Reaction To The Queen's Death

Ex-prime minister also essays struggle to get an Ocado order delivered, and thought her Downing Street home would not be "rated well on Airbnb".
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral, Scotland, on September 6, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral, Scotland, on September 6, 2022.
via Associated Press

Liz Truss has revealed the first details from her new book about her brief time as prime minister – which includes her reaction to the Queen’s death and some of her frustrations with life on Downing Street.

Truss was premier for 49 days, the shortest term in British history, quitting after her avowedly free market policies bombed.

Her package of unfunded tax cuts sent the pound into freefall and led to an intervention by the Bank of England to stabilise the economy.

Truss, who replaced Boris Johnson as prime minister early in September 2022, resigned on October 20, with Rishi Sunak taking over.

An extract of her new book, Ten Years to Save the West, was on Friday published in the Daily Mail, and it already has tongues wagging in Westminster.

Truss met Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral – effectively the moment she was appointed prime minister – just two days before the monarch’s death.

She writes: “On Thursday, we received the solemn news that the Queen had died peacefully at Balmoral. To be told this on only my second full day as prime minister felt utterly unreal. In a state of shock, I found myself thinking: ‘Why me? Why now?’”

Truss added she felt a “profound sense of sadness” in the days following the Queen’s death and broke down “into floods of tears” when she watched television footage of the coffin leaving Balmoral to process to Edinburgh.

Truss also ruminated on some of the practical difficulties of living on Britain’s most famous street.

She said: “In my acceptance speech on being elected leader, I’d ended with the declaration: ‘We will deliver, we will deliver and we will deliver.’ From the outset, however, delivery turned out to be a problem.”

This segues into lengthy anecdote about how she and her husband struggled to get an Ocado food delivery to their residence above 11 Downing Street, and had to convince the retailer it wasn’t a “hoax”.

Truss dwells on “how isolating it is to live ‘above the shop’” and that she was “not sure it would be rated well on Airbnb”. The now backbench MP also suggests “the place was infested with fleas”, and that she “spent several weeks itching” after their home was disinfected.


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