Liz Truss backed to tackle ‘failed Whitehall groupthink’ and kick-start economy

The letter’s signatories suggested Liz Truss was more ‘in tune’ with the public than Rishi Sunak - Matthew Horwood/Getty Images Europe
The letter’s signatories suggested Liz Truss was more ‘in tune’ with the public than Rishi Sunak - Matthew Horwood/Getty Images Europe

Only Liz Truss can tackle Whitehall’s “failed groupthink” and kick-start economic growth, 21 current and former Conservative Cabinet ministers have said.

In a letter to The Telegraph, the signatories argued that the Foreign Secretary would break from the “tired economic managerialism of the past” if she becomes prime minister.

They also suggested she is more “in tune” with the British public than Rishi Sunak, urging colleagues and party members to unite behind her leadership bid.

The signatories include 10 sitting Cabinet ministers – a third of Boris Johnson’s current Cabinet – and 11 past Cabinet ministers including a former Tory leader.

The sitting ministers include Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor, Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, James Cleverly, the Education Secretary, and Penny Mordaunt, the trade minister who made the final three in the Tory leadership race.

Mr Sunak has fewer endorsements from current Cabinet ministers than Ms Truss, but the backing of more past Tory leaders. Lord Howard and Lord Hague are supporting Mr Sunak, with Sir Iain Duncan Smith backing Ms Truss.

The signatories write: “For us, there is only one candidate who has what it takes: Liz Truss. She has shown she will do what is necessary and right, even in the face of great adversity, from facing down Putin’s Russia to striking post-Brexit trade deals and addressing the threat to peace and political stability caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“In challenging times, Britain needs a prime minister who can be trusted to deliver. Liz will provide immediate help for people struggling with the cost of living by cutting taxes, putting more money back in their pockets and rewarding them for hard work. She will keep our country safe, and ensure Britain plays a leading role in defending and advancing our values around the world.

“Liz has a clear plan to grow our economy, founded on true Conservative principles of aspiration, enterprise and freedom, which will help fund our public services and NHS. She will unleash the huge opportunities of Brexit, break from the tired economic managerialism of the past and challenge failed groupthink.”

The last comment is a veiled criticism of Mr Sunak, who has been framed by the Truss campaign as the continuity candidate on the economy. He was chancellor for most of the last two years, making it politically challenging to distance himself from the economic crisis that has developed on the Tories’ watch.

But he argues that his vision for the economy is more radical than Ms Truss’s, pointing to a proposed shake-up of business taxation and regulation.

David Mundell, the former Scottish Secretary under David Cameron and Theresa May, is among the signatories, having only recently declared his backing.

Separately, figures in Ms Truss’s campaign are privately attempting to convince MPs who have endorsed her rival Rishi Sunak to switch sides, The Telegraph has been told.

The Foreign Secretary’s team is said to be in talks with a number of Mr Sunak’s backers and claiming some notable politicians could publicly change sides this month.

“We are staying in contact with MPs of all stripes, including some Rishi supporters, to try to convince them to come over,” a Truss campaign source told The Telegraph.