Pro-Tory press turn on Truss – end of the line?
In a titanic shift Pro-Tory press turn on Truss – does this spell the end of the line for the PM? She’s only been in the job for a month and it’s undoubtedly been the worst start of a premiership for any UK prime minister.
Leading up to the Tory leadership election, Liz Truss managed to hit the right notes with her senior party members. She embraced the Old-school Tory members and appealed to their values and in the process coined as the heir to Thatcher.
However, the Liz Truss era got off to a difficult start when the death of Queen Elizabeth pressed pause on politics in the UK for two weeks. Following the late monarch’s funeral, the Truss era finally started, though many surely regret it now.
In her first month in office, PM Truss has seen a mini-budget widely mocked, embarrassing u-turns, the Bank of England making an unprecedented intervention, calls for resignations, the pound plummeting to record lows and many many more catastrophes.
And now the traditionally pro-Tory newspapers appear to have turned on Truss (or at least sitting on the fence.)
Print newspapers are still vital in UK Politics – especially for the Conservative party. Providing a much-needed impetus to the lacklustre Labour party.
So here’s a breakdown of the UK right-wing Tory papers and what their stance is on the current prime minister and her government.
Liz Truss era – What are the Tory-friendly columnists saying?
Tory peer and former government adviser Danny Finkelstein wrote in the Times that the party must brace for a rout worse than 1997.
He says: “The Conservatives aren’t certain to lose the next election but we have reached the point where everyone in politics expects them to. The point where the political editors might prefer lunch with the opposition than the government.”Danny Finkelstein
The Daily Telegraph also paints a bleak picture for the prime minister, as its columnist Philip Johnson says the Tories appear to have thrown in the towel after 12 years in power. But he places blame on MPs, not Prime Minister Liz Truss.
“There comes a time when governments simply run out of steam, and there is a strong sense in Birmingham that the Conservatives are approaching that moment or are even beyond it. This is ironic given that Liz Truss has staked everything on appearing to be a fresh start, but her MPs will simply not let her get off the ramps.”Telegraph Columnist Philip Johnson
But perhaps the biggest blow is the Daily Mail. The paper’s columnist Sarah Vine says the PM has failed to look strong and made a massive mistake by casting out big names like Michael Gove from the cabinet.
Vine suggests “Most of all, she needs to lasso one or two of those big beasts, and by hook or by crook hitch them to her wagon.
“It won’t be easy, and it will doubtless be very painful, not to mention humiliating. But if she can appeal to their greater love of the party to which, in many cases, they have devoted their entire careers, if she can appeal to their sense of loyalty and duty, then maybe she can succeed … And if she doesn’t? Well, I fear this only ends one way. With Keir Starmer getting the keys to No 10 – and the Conservative party in the wilderness for years to come.”
One Daily Mail front page this week said “Get A Grip” – in regards to the government’s u-turn on scraping the top rate of tax. The paper said the PM “caved in” from pressure from senior Tories.
National newspapers – ‘I cheered to the rafters’
However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the prime minister.
The Daily Mail still ran a pro-Truss piece via economist Arthur Laffer (nicknamed the father of Reaganomics). The 82-year-old said: “When I read of your new government’s fiscal plans last month, at my home in Nashville, Tennessee, I cheered them to the rafters.”
The Daily Express makes for a positive read for the prime minister. Despite the u-turn and economic crisis, the paper has remained defiant in supporting the PM. The paper uses terms such as “defiant” to describe Truss and says the party needs to stop its infighting. The paper’s headlines regularly push the blame onto others and use terms such as “coup” and “rebellion.”
Other national newspapers, such as The Sun (a pro-Truss paper) have chosen to lead with celebrity news on their front page. What a perfect way to distract readers from the current political mess – another scandalous celebrity affair, a court case between D-list celebrities and more Meghan Markle bashing.
- Tories accused of staging ‘coup’ against Liz Truss’ tax plans by Suella Braverman after they forced 45p u-turn
Will the Liz Truss era end in tears?
A lot of national papers and online political commentators are suggesting this could be the beginning of the end for Liz Truss. Even those supporting the prime minister are expressing concern over her ability to unite the party and regain confidence after her embarrassing u-turn on scrapping the tax rate for the top earners. Truss says she was just listening to what the people wanted, her critics say it would have been voted down in parliament.
One thing most agree on is the PM’s first month has been humiliating, a Tory revolt and a turbulent reaction from markets might just be the final straw.
Can Liz Truss survive this? Probably not.