Tories remain 'miserable and divided' after Liz Truss' speech, says Andrew Marr

5 October 2022, 18:27 | Updated: 7 October 2022, 13:36

Andrew Marr says Liz Truss' speech failed to resolve Tory divide

By Daisy Stephens

The Tories remain 'miserable and divided' even after Liz Truss' speech at the Conservative conference, Andrew Marr has said.

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In his opening monologue, Andrew first discussed the choice of song used before Ms Truss' speech.

"The sound of the popular beat combo M People's 1993 song 'Moving On Up'," he said.

"It was used by the Prime Minister to rouse the hall before the big speech, but unfortunately the PM then went on to resoundingly lose a general election.

"Oh Andrew Marr, how can you say that?

"That's in the future, it's all to play for.

"No it isn't; the same anthem used by Liz Truss in Birmingham today - to the fury of its creators - was also used by Gordon Brown in 2008.

"Mixing politics and music rarely goes well."

He then discussed the speech itself, saying: "The first thing any new leader has to do is to introduce themselves, not perhaps as they really are but as they would like the country to see them."

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He said Ms Truss did "pretty well except for one embarrassing howler" - when she said she was the first UK prime minister to have gone to a comprehensive school.

"Striking - but not true," Andrew went on.

"Put to one side the various Labour prime ministers who were state educated, what about Liz Truss's recent Tory predecessor as female prime minister Theresa May?

"She attended Wheatley Park Comprehensive School in Oxfordshire in the 1970s.

"I know the Conservative Party is moving fast but it's a bit early to forget entirely about Theresa May, isn't it?

"Not that Boris Johnson was mentioned once either, or any earlier Tory prime minister.

"The recent Tory years are part, it seems, of the story of low growth and low ambition."

He went on: "And indeed, at around this vital time, Greenpeace gave the prime minister just what her speech needed - a jolt of energy in a fracking protest by two young women."

Liz Truss heckled by Greenpeace during Party Conference speech

"Liz Truss dealt with the interruption perfectly well and then moved to what was, for me, the most persuasive part of her speech, an explanation of why that abstract word "growth" matters so much in the real world," he went on.

"Now for some reason I don't fully understand, most prime ministerships become associated with some kind of food.

"Harold Wilson and HP Sauce, John Major and peas, the guacamole jokes of the Tony Blair era, Boris Johnson and cake.

"Irritatingly, to my ear, Liz Truss keeps talking about pies and growing pies."

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He continued: "Only a metaphor.

"But unfortunate, then, only yesterday the British pork pie company Vale of Mowbray went into administration, with the loss of 171 jobs, blaming energy costs and the difficulty of recruitment.

"This was a speech with no new announcements, no new rhetoric, no new arguments.

"Truss did spend time, as she has all week, talking about the hugely expensive and essential package of measures to keep fuel bills down over the next 2 years... this reflected frustration that Kwasi Kwarteng's politically disastrous 45p tax cut had completely overshadowed the much bigger emergency support announcement.

"But in truth governments don't tend to get a lot of credit for something they patently, obviously, have to do.

"This was a huge announcement, but there was no choice.

Tom Swarbrick dissects Liz Truss' speech

"Philosophically the kernel of the speech was Liz Truss's strong belief in smaller government - a less interventionist state.

"Of course the energy intervention goes straight against that, but I thought there was a wider confusion here.

"For instance, on the one hand government is bad and stifles free enterprise.

"On the other, when it's things she knows people want, such as superfast broadband, you can't leave it to the market and the state, apparently, has to step in."

Read more: "Who voted for this?" Greenpeace protesters disrupt PM's speech as she tells security 'let's get them removed'

Read more: 'Soundtrack to lies': M People founder decries PM walking on stage to 'Moving on Up'

He went on: "This Speech didn't identify or resolve any of the real political arguments still dividing the Conservative Party.

"But, instead, it will be remembered for the clarity and gusto with which Liz Truss identified her many enemies... I suppose the only problem is if you add together supporters of the opposition parties, the trade unions, environmentalists and everyone against Brexit, you have end up with a pretty hefty slice of the country on the other side of the argument.

"And to put it delicately, that seems to be the picture the opinion polls are painting.

"Entrepreneurial-minded people are probably already designing anti growth coalition T-shirts.

"This speech wasn't a disaster. No letters fell off the set. Liz truss didn't mangle her words and she sounded, on balance, as if she really meant it.

"But it didn't move the dial. It didn't make anything better, either.

"And right now, for the Conservatives, that is a big problem.

"Yes, there's probably more than two years still to go before an election, but for a governing party this has been a miserable, divided and deeply worrying week."