Liz Truss had ‘Spinal Tap approach’ to running the government

Liz Truss delivers a speech on her last day in office as British Prime Minister, outside Number 10 Downing Street , in London, Britain, October 25, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Liz Truss resigned as prime minister after 45 days in office. (Reuters)

Liz Truss had a “Spinal Tap approach” to government and demanded the volume was “turned up to 11”, her former chief speech writer has said.

Truss's short-lived term as prime minister ended in humiliation after her mini-budget led to chaos in financial markets.

She was forced to make a U-Turn on most of her policies when the Bank of England (BoE) took emergency action to prevent pension funds from collapsing.

Truss's speech writer Asa Bennett said her determination to take “fast action” reflected her willingness to “push the envelope”, comparing her approach to the spoof rock band, Spinal Tap.

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British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng attend the annual Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 2, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Liz Truss and former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. (Reuters)

Bennett said Truss had arrived in Downing Street determined to put “rocket boosters” under the economy and that it was a matter of “bitter regret” that her efforts had failed.

“I think Liz felt that she’s gambled before in her life and then she could gamble again on this," he told the BBC.

“And yes, the stakes would be high, but the pay-off was worth it in the sense of taking that fast action.

“I think she always liked to be the one that was ready to push the envelope and would only back down if there was good reason.

“I think Liz was someone who would take this sort of Spinal Tap approach, turn it up to 11, and only if necessary, turn it down again.”

Bennett, who was speaking to the Radio 4 documentary Liz Truss’s Big Gamble, the inside story of the UK’s shortest-ever premiership, said that after years sitting around the Cabinet table, she believed she had the answers to the problems of the economy.

Her £45 billion package of unfunded tax cuts, drawn up with then chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, which so spooked the markets was a rejection of what she saw as the Treasury’s “tired, stale, status quo sort of thinking”.

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British Prime Minister Liz Truss walks outside Number 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain, October 12, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Liz Truss was determined to make a change. (Reuters)

Bennett added: “That is why she felt it really was time to take the hard decisions and root it out by trying to break with the sort of consensus, the cosy consensus that meant that Britain had been flagging along with international competitiveness.”

Bennet said Truss regarded her nickname the "human hand grenade" as a “compliment".

She was given the moniker by Boris Johnson's former top aide Dominic Cummings.

Bennet said: "She's been dismissed and mocked by people in Westminster and the media over the years... And so she's found then that she could laugh these things off.”

Truss resigned as prime minister in October after 45 days in office, becoming the shortest serving PM in UK history.