Liz Truss: No10 was a prison infested with fleas

Boris Johnson holds his dog Dilyn during the general election campaign in 2019
Boris Johnson holds his dog Dilyn during the general election campaign in 2019 - DYLAN MARTINEZ/REUTERS

Downing Street was a prison infested with fleas caused by Boris Johnson’s dog Dilyn, Liz Truss has claimed in her new book.

The former prime minister said that she spent her first weeks in the job “itching” because of a flea infestation at Number 10, which she said some believed was a result of Mr Johnson’s dog.

She also compared herself to a “prisoner” when resident in Downing Street, saying that “just being stuck there” was one of the most difficult things to get used to.

In an extract from her new book, Ten Years to Save the West, serialised by The Daily Mail, Ms Truss wrote: “The place was infested with fleas.

“Some claimed that this was down to Boris and Carrie’s dog Dilyn, but there was no conclusive evidence. In any case, the entire place had to be sprayed with flea-killer. I spent several weeks itching.”

But she said “the most difficult thing to get used to was just being stuck there”, adding: “Spontaneous excursions were all but impossible: I was effectively a prisoner.

“If I insisted on going for a run or a walk, arrangements were made for me to be driven to a quiet bit of Hyde Park – but even this felt like being allowed out into the prison exercise yard.”

Carrie Johnson with Dilyn after his arrival at Downing Street
Carrie Johnson with Dilyn after his arrival at Downing Street - Twitter

The book, which goes on sale next week, is described as being “peppered with newsworthy anecdotes from Ms Truss’s time in public life”.

The former prime minister said the book would also serve as a warning that “too many of her fellow Conservatives have allowed themselves to be captured by the Left-wing influences that set the agenda and frame the debate”.

In the new extract, she also complained that there was a “lack of personal support” available to her while prime minister, and that she had to organise her own hair and make-up appointments.

She said it was shocking that as “one of the most photographed people in the country” she had to arrange such bookings herself.

“As well as being personally inconvenient, all these things took precious bandwidth away from me. Here I was, the prime minister of a major G7 country, and I was having to spend time worrying about when I was going to be able to get my hair done,” she wrote.

She added that she had “no medical support” and had to send her diary secretary out “in the middle of the night to buy me some medicine” as there was nobody else available to do it.

Ms Truss took office on Sept 6 2022, and was Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister, with 44 days in Number 10.

Her premiership was marked by the ill-fated mini-Budget and the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

She revealed how she felt in the immediate aftermath of the monarch’s death, writing: “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 admitted that she felt some of her predecessors may have been “better suited to mark this historic moment with soaring rhetoric and statesmanship”, adding: “But that wasn’t my comfort zone.”

Ms Truss said she felt a “slightly bizarre camaraderie between” herself and King Charles during their her first audience with him.