LONDON (AP) – Former British prime minister Liz Truss said her failure wasn’t her fault.
Truss on Sunday blamed a “powerful economic establishment” and internal Conservative Party opposition for the rapid collapse of her government, and said she still believes her tax-cutting policies were the right ones.
Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister resigned in October, six weeks into the job, after her inaugural budget plan sparked market mayhem.Breaking her post-premiership silence in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Truss said she underestimated the resistance her free-market policies would face from “the system”.
“I am not claiming to be blameless in what happened, but fundamentally I was not given a realistic chance to enact my policies by a very powerful economic establishment, coupled with a lack of political support,” she wrote.
Truss took office in September after winning a Conservative Party leadership contest to replace scandal-tarnished prime minister Boris Johnson.
Her promise to spur economic growth with tax cuts and deregulation enthused Tory members, but a budget containing GBP45 billion (USD54 billion) in unfunded tax cuts — including an income tax reduction for the highest earners, spooked the financial markets.
The prospect of more debt and higher inflation sent the pound plunging to its lowest-ever level against the US dollar.
The cost of government borrowing soared and the Bank of England had to step in to prop up the bond market and prevent a wider economic meltdown that threatened people’s pensions. Truss first fired her Treasury chief, Kwasi Kwarteng, then quit herself. In the article, she claimed her government was made a “scapegoat” for long-brewing instability with liability driven investments, a form of bond market derivatives in which pension funds are heavily invested.
Truss said she still believed her low-tax, small-state agenda “was the right thing to do, but the forces against it were too great”.
She claimed, “Large parts of the media and the wider public sphere” had a left-wing slant, and criticised United States President Joe Biden for calling her plan a mistake.
Critics accused the former prime minister of rewriting history and using the populist playbook by blaming the system for her own failures.
A Conservative who was chief of staff to ex-prime minister Theresa May, Gavin Barwell, tweeted at Truss, “You were brought down because in a matter of weeks you lost the confidence of the financial markets, the electorate and your own MPs. During a profound cost of living crisis, you thought it was a priority to cut tax for the richest people in the country.”
Cambridge University economist Charles Read said he warned the Treasury in early September that a sudden economic stimulus package “risked financial instability and a financial crisis”, he wrote on Twitter.