Liz Truss responds to being compared to a lettuce

The former prime minister was asked whether she thought her time at Downing Street had made the UK 'an international laughing stock'.

Watch: Liz Truss responds to be being compared to a lettuce during time as PM

Liz Truss has angrily insisted her disastrous 49-day spell as prime minister didn’t turn the UK into an international laughing stock, and that the Daily Star’s infamous lettuce video was an example of the workings of the “London elite”.

Truss is the shortest-serving PM in UK history. Her and Kwasi Kwarteng’s “mini-budget”, containing £45bn of unfunded tax cuts, prompted an economic meltdown, the effects of which are still being felt today by millions of households which have suffered soaring mortgage rates.

Her reign was encapsulated by the Star’s YouTube livestream asking: “Can Liz Truss outlast this lettuce?” The stream, launched 38 days into Truss’s time as PM, consisted of a table with a picture of her next to an actual lettuce, with the paper asking if she would still be PM within the 10-day shelf life of the lettuce. As it happened, she announced her resignation six days later after losing the confidence of Tory MPs.

Truss is now touring broadcast studios to promote her book, Ten Years to Save the West. Appearing on the BBC’s Newscast programme, she was invited by political editor Chris Mason to talk directly to viewers who believed her time as PM left the UK an "international laughing stock".

“I don’t think that’s true,” Truss responded.

Mason then pointed out she lasted less time than a lettuce.

The Daily Star's livestream showing a picture of Liz Truss with a lettuce. (Daily Star/YouTube)
The Daily Star's livestream showing a picture of Liz Truss with a lettuce. (Daily Star/YouTube)
Truss said the comparison to a lettuce was 'pathetic point scoring'
Truss said the comparison to a lettuce was 'pathetic point scoring'

“This is just pathetic point scoring,” Truss hit back.

“What I care about is how successful our country is and whether or not people in this country have a good life, opportunities, freedom. That’s all I care about. If you’re constantly worried about what other people, other countries think of you… this is [a] really British thing of being excessively concerned about.

“This is the kind of thing that obsesses what I describe as the London elite: ‘What do other people think of me? What’s Britain’s international standing?’”

TOPSHOT - Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss reacts as she delivers a speech outside of 10 Downing Street in central London on October 20, 2022 to announce her resignation. - British Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her resignation on after just six weeks in office that looked like a descent into hell, triggering a new internal election within the Conservative Party. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Liz Truss's Downing Street resignation speech on 20 October, 2022: six days into the Daily Star's lettuce live stream. (Getty)

Mason pointed out “it’s not just people in wine bars in London who are interested in whether a prime minister lasted longer than a lettuce. People can see there was a situation where you were humiliated and so people felt the country was humiliated."

Truss then claimed: “I put forward perfectly rational policies that I won a leadership election on. But what happened was I was undermined by organisations like the Bank of England.”

It’s not the first time Truss has addressed the Star's “Lizzy Lettuce” saga. When asked about it at a conference in June last year, she said: “I don’t think it’s funny, I just think it’s puerile.”

Truss leaves open possibility of standing for Tory leader again

Truss has refused to rule out running for leader of the Conservative Party again.

In a separate interview to promote her book, she said she had “unfinished business” at the top of politics.

Asked by LBC if she would want to return to frontline politics if the Tories lose the coming general election, Truss said: “I definitely have unfinished business. Definitely. And I think the Conservative Party has unfinished business. I think, if we’re honest with ourselves, we haven’t done enough to reverse the Blair legacy.”

Pressed if she would rule out standing for the Tory leadership in future, she said: “Well, it’s never wise to rule anything out in politics, is it?”

The bookmakers don't like her chances, however. As of 16 April, the best available odds for Truss becoming the next leader on Oddschecker – a website which compares betting across different bookmakers – were 66/1.

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