Liz Truss comeback defence is damaging ‘nonsense’, says top David Cameron aide

Liz Truss comeback defence is damaging ‘nonsense’, says top David Cameron aide

A top Downing Street aide in the David Cameron government has warned the Tory party that listening to Liz Truss will lead to “cataclysmic defeat” at the next general election.

Sir Craig Oliver, former No 10 communications chief, told The Independent that Ms Truss was trying to “rock the boat” for Rishi Sunak – describing her 4000-word article defending unfunded tax cuts was “nonsense”.

Ms Truss blamed the left-wing “economic establishment” and resistance in her own party for the turmoil seen in her disastrous six-week reign, and attacked her successor for raising tax.

Writing for The Independent, Mr Oliver said her attacks on the international markets and UK Treasury were “laughable”, adding: “I half expected her to tell me that they had also been responsible for assassinating JFK.”

“Anyone worth their salt would have told her she needed to win permission to be heard before trying to take the moral high ground,” he wrote.

“That would have meant a long period of reflection, allowing time for wounds to heal, and saying sorry for taking the country to the brink of disaster. She has done none of this – and instead is expecting us to believe it is we who have got it all so badly wrong.”

Mr Oliver added: “Liz Truss even has the brass neck to claim that none of what she was doing was a surprise – apart from announcing she was going to cut the top rate of tax. She’s right people knew about most of it – but the surprise was no one thought she’d be crazy enough to do it.”

The former Cameron aide also said her attempted comeback spelled trouble for Mr Sunak, describing it as a worrying sign that the Tory party “is more interested in settling internal scores than it is in staying in power”.

He said: “More than twenty points behind in the polls, the Conservative party needs this nonsense like it needs a hole in the head. One former prime minister trying to grab the wheel from Rishi Sunak would be unfortunate, the problem is there are two.”

Urging the Tories to ignore both Ms Truss and Boris Johnson, he said: “The Conservative Party needs to wake up. If they do not hang together, they will hang apart.

“The scandal of Nadim Zahawi’s tax affairs, bickering MPs, two former prime ministers doing everything in their power to rock the boat – is not a recipe for victory. It points to a potential cataclysmic defeat.”

Ms Truss’s disastrous premiership lasted just 49 days, when she was forced to quit after her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s £45bn package of unfunded tax cuts panicked the markets and tanked the pound.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Ms Truss said: “I am not claiming to be blameless in what happened, but fundamentally I was not given a realistic chance to enact my policies by a very powerful economic establishment, coupled with a lack of political support.”

Business secretary Grant Shapps said she had “clearly” taken the wrong approach to the economy, while senior MP Alicia Kearns mocked Ms Truss’s attempt to rewrite her time in office. “Fundamentally the markets aren’t left wing, they are not woke,” she told Sky News.