Liz Truss thought ‘why me?’ after Queen’s death two days into her UK premiership

Liz Truss thought ‘why me?’ after Queen’s death two days into her UK premiership

Liz Truss has revealed she thought “why me, why now?” when she learned the Queen had died just two days into her short-lived UK premiership. The former prime minister said she went into “a state of shock” when told of Elizabeth II’s death in 2022.

Recounting her audiences with the Queen, Ms Truss said there “simply wasn’t any sense that the end would come as quickly as it did”. Ms Truss, whose tenure in Downing Street lasted just 49 days after her disastrous mini-budget unleashed economic chaos, also revealed the late Queen told her to “pace yourself”. “Maybe I should have listened,” the former PM said.

PA reports that in an extract published on Mail+ of her memoir Ten Years To Save The West, Ms Truss said: “That Tuesday, September 6 2022, she was standing up as she greeted me in her drawing room. I was told she’d made a special effort to do so but she gave no hint of discomfort throughout our discussion.

“This was only my second one-on-one audience with her. On the previous occasion, after I’d been removed from a different job in the Government, she’d remarked that being a woman in politics was tough.

“For about 20 minutes, we discussed politics — and it was clear she was completely attuned to everything that was happening, as well as being typically sharp and witty. There simply wasn’t any sense that the end would come as quickly as it did.”

The “machine kicked into action” when word reached Number 10 that the Queen would not able to join via videolink, as planned, the formal swearing in of new ministers, Ms Truss said. She wrote: “My black mourning dress was fetched from my house in Greenwich, south London.

“Frantic phone calls took place with Buckingham Palace. I started to think about what on earth I was going to say if the unthinkable happened.

“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?’”

She added: “I knew I’d never forget my last meeting with Her Majesty — and especially what she said towards the end of our talk in her drawing room. Being Prime Minister, she warned me, is incredibly ageing. She also gave me two words of advice: ‘Pace yourself.’ Maybe I should have listened.”

Ms Truss’s government later unveiled a radical tax-cutting policy agenda that tanked the pound and saw her ejected from office after just 49 days, making her Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister. But the MP for South West Norfolk defended her approach in her memoir, suggesting the “pro-Remain” Treasury, Bank of England and Office for Budget Responsibility were “barriers to our plans”.

She said she had been considering whether to “appoint new senior leaders in the Bank of England and Treasury” but admitted this would have “amounted to a declaration of war on the economic establishment”. “It would also have taken time we didn’t have,” she said.

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