‘Why me?’: Liz Truss shares reaction to death of queen on her second day as PM in new book

Former UK prime minister’s new memoir shows she is isn’t backing down despite being blamed for almost collapsing the British economy

When Queen Elizabeth died on only the second full day of Liz Truss’s premiership, Britain’s former prime minister says she asked herself, “Why me? Why now?”

As she toured UK newsrooms this week to plug her new memoir, while blowing political kisses at Donald Trump and hinting she has “unfinished business” in the job, some of Truss’s fellow Conservative Party MPs, still traumatised by her stint in power, were this week asking themselves similar questions.

Why her? Why release a score-settling book now, with a bruising and potentially ruinous (for the Tories) election on the horizon? Will her grenade-launching interventions into UK politics ever end?

Truss was in power for only seven weeks in late 2022, but her new book is boldly titled Ten Years to Save the West: Lessons from the Only Conservative in the Room. It is a call for true conservatives to step up. The snippets in a pre-publication slew of extracts in the Daily Mail suggest Truss has lost none of her swagger, despite being blamed for almost toppling the British economy with £45 billion of unfunded tax cuts. Instead, she blames the Bank of England’s interest rate policy for the turmoil.


There are amusing anecdotes. She writes of how, when foreign secretary, she had to share with her predecessor Dominic Raab a Kent mansion that came with the job. He was seen around Westminster as a macho guy. Truss kept finding protein shakes in the fridge labelled “Raab”.

Not long after she became prime minister, her husband, Hugh O’Leary, struggled to order groceries online for delivery to Number 10 Downing Street. The retailer thought it was a hoax. Then her security detail were unwilling to disturb her when the shopping eventually arrived. She also suggests Downing Street was infested with fleas from her predecessor’s Jack Russell dog, Dilyn. Truss says she “spent weeks itching”.

“Despite being one of the most photographed people in the country, I had to organise my own hair and make-up appointments,” she writes. Truss describes the loneliness of the job and being stuck in Number 10 as like being “a prisoner”.

There is also what appears to be a breach of royal protocol in the book. Prime ministers and other leaders who meet Britain’s monarch are not meant to reveal details of their discussions. Yet Truss writes that the late queen advised her to “pace herself” when she came into office in a hurry to defeat economic orthodoxy and stimulate growth.

“Maybe I should have listened,” says Truss, whose premiership unravelled soon afterwards when markets rejected the aggressive economic policies of her and her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, and the pound went into freefall.

Yet such moments of self-reflection are only fleeting for the unrepentant former prime minister. The brickbats were flying once again in interviews on Monday as she plugged the book.

Truss, who has been trying to boost her profile and, presumably, her book sales across the Atlantic, told the Spectator magazine that the US was “a stronger force” under former president Donald Trump. She told LBC radio that Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey should not be in his job and hinted she would have sacked him if she could.

She also suggested to the Sun that Britain needs to “leave the European Court of Human Rights, abolish the Supreme Court and abolish the Human Rights Act” to push through reforms to control illegal immigration.

As Truss declined to rule out a political comeback, Labour said the thoughts of it would “send shivers down the spine of working people”.

And possibly some of her colleagues, if reaction to her book is anything to go by.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times