Andrew Marr: Truss' position as PM is 'weaker' than it seems after unveiling Cabinet of allies

7 September 2022, 18:16

Liz Truss still has to win over several Tories, Andrew Marr has suggested.
Liz Truss still has to win over several Tories, Andrew Marr has suggested. Picture: LBC

By Emma Soteriou

Liz Truss' position as PM is "weaker" than it seems as "many Tories are seething" over her appointing a Cabinet of close allies, Andrew Marr has said.

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Opening Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter commended Ms Truss' performance in her first Prime Minister's Questions, where she doubled down on plans to deal with the energy crisis.

However, he said thing were perhaps not as smooth as they seemed within the Tory party after Ms Truss left out several "experienced substantial figures" from her Cabinet.

"Many Tories had been worried about how their new leader would cope in the Commons - as I said yesterday she doesn't make a very good set-piece speech - but she was completely confident, relaxed, her eyes swivelling round the chamber, referring to the Cabinet as 'MY Chancellor, MY Health Secretary and so on," Andrew said.

"And like Thatcher, though short on humour, she showed she could be fast on her feet.

"This was her first parliamentary outing as leader and her real position is perhaps weaker than it seemed.

"Behind the scenes, many Tories are seething about her decision to appoint only friends and supporters to her cabinet, and to leave out so many experienced substantial figures on the back benches."

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Tonight with Andrew Marr: 07/09/22

Andrew continued: "One former senior minister told me: 'It means she's got a very united cabinet and that's a strength, but she's got a very divided parliamentary party - and that isn't.'

"Another who'd been left out and was livid, told me, this isn't a Conservative government, frankly it feels more like a protection racket.

"There may be, as the song goes, trouble ahead. 

"But for today what matters more than anything else is that we again have a Prime Minister who knows what she thinks, says what she thinks, and doesn't want to bend, however unpopular that might make her. 

"Yes, we are back to the Thatcher comparison - and the pound by the way has today fallen to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 when of course you know who was in  Downing Street.

"Back then it was politics as the clash of big ideas.

"I was a young political reporter then.

"I watched Thatcher in her pomp and, I have to say, I felt a little quiver of nostalgia for her ideological arguments with Kinnock at his passionate best."

You can also listen to the podcast Tonight with Andrew Marr only on Global Player.

It came after Andrew outlined the events of the day, highlighting key moments from the newly-appointed PM's first Commons speech.

"Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons was better, fresher, more serious, focused not on yah-booery or titter-titter–titter but on real political disagreement," the Presenter opened saying.

"Since all the parties now agree there has to be a big generous package to help families and businesses through the winter with their fuel bills - and amen to that - the question raised by Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, was how is it going to be paid for?"

He went on to say: "If you don't pay for this eye-wateringly big bill by taxing company profits then the money has to come from borrowing, which may mean much higher interest rates; or else by by making everyone pay higher energy bills for many years ahead. No easy answers.

"Ahead of Britain, a really big political choice.

"But Liz Truss didn't try to evade or pretend she could please everyone.

"She doubled down on what she had been saying in the leadership contest - tax cuts, growth, investment."