Liz Truss appears to have gained her first enemy on the government backbenches after the wife of a sacked minister called the new prime minister an “imbecile”.
Felicity Cornelius-Mercer said the Cabinet system “stinks” and “treats people appallingly” after her husband Johnny Mercer was removed as veterans affairs minister.
Mercer, the Plymouth Moor View MP, had appeared angry about Truss’s move, saying he was “disappointed” but accepted the PM is “entitled to reward her supporters”.
He also suggested he could quit the Commons, saying: “I have to accept that I will never possess the qualities required for enduring success in politics as it stands, and to be fair to my wonderful family, I must consider my future.”
Mercer had tweeted a lengthy resignation statement accompanied by the words: “I will be spending time with my family and doing no media requests.”
But his wife appeared to take the baton, tweeting a picture mocking Truss as Beaker from The Muppets television show – and giving an account of Mercer’s exit discussions.
Cornelius-Mercer tweeted: “He asked her ‘why would you do this, who is going to be better at this role than me, which of your mates gets the job, you promised a meritocracy?’
“PM – I can’t answer that Johnny.
“This system stinks & treats people appallingly.
“Best person I know sacked by an imbecile @trussliz.”
The tweet was one of few unexpected moments during a reshuffle that had been briefed heavily in advance.