She is the current favourite to be our next Prime Minister but Liz Truss hasn’t always been such a staunch Tory. Throughout the current Conservative leadership race, the Foreign Secretary has faced numerous reminders of her student past, back when was a card-carrying Liberal Democrat.
There was the footage of a fresh-faced Truss calling for the abolition of the monarchy at the 1994 party conference in front of a watching David Steel. There was the Newsnight package which showed her canvassing Brighton locals that same year. And there have been images of the-then Oxford University Lib Dem president protesting Michael Howard’s Criminal Justice Bill to clamp down on raves that same year.
Now, Mr S has uncovered fresh evidence of the Trusette’s youthful zeal. For a newly-unearthed leaflet details her (unsuccessful) bid to join the executive of national body for Lib Dem Youth and Students. Underneath a headline which proclaims ‘Elizabeth Truss for Treasurer’ it lists her skills as an ‘experienced community campaigner’ and a ‘founder member of the Leeds North East Young Liberal Democrats.’
It notes her maiden speech ‘calling for the party to practice what it preaches’ at the Torquay Federal Conference and even boasts an endorsement from-then leader Paddy Ashdown: ‘Elizabeth is a good debater and is utterly fearless.’ Longtime Lib Dem activist Kiron Reid also predicted that ‘Liz will be a determined treasurer and lively member of the executive.’
As part of her manifesto, she pledged to keep ‘up to date accounts’ and ‘present regular financial reports’ – a slightly different approach, perhaps, to her current leadership campaign. A source from the Truss camp retorted: ‘Liz quickly saw the error of her ways and by 1997 was on stage at Conservative conference telling delegates about the need to keep National Insurance down. She was right then and she is right now.’
It looks like the choice between Truss and Rishi Sunak now gives Tory members the chance to make some history. Either they’ll give Britain its first Asian Prime Minister – or its first Lib Dem one.
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