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UK politics

Don’t replace Boris with another “empty vessel”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on a virtual call with President Biden. Simon Dawson/10 Downing Street

Boris Johnson has finally been “rumbled”, says Matthew Parris in The Times. The “dismal trickle of dirty little stories” from No 10 is awakening voters to what many in his party have long suspected: the man is a “cad”, a “moral toad” whose first instinct is to lie and whose second is to “tip somebody else into the slurry”. The question now is, who will replace him? I had assumed the next leadership contest – whenever Tory MPs grow the balls to oust their leader – would be between Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt. But “noises from the undergrowth” suggest Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is “emerging as a serious competitor”. If so, there’s a real danger that the Conservatives will leap from one “empty vessel” to another.

Truss is barely disguising her leadership ambitions. But her recent speech at Chatham House contained little besides “overweening vacuity”. It was full of puff about global Britain, the rule of law and the free market, with not a concrete example in sight. She brings to mind that dreadful kebab you drunkenly lurch towards after a pub crawl – “peer into the bread pouch and the contents do not live up to the promise”. After three years of “clowning”, the Conservative party and the country need someone with “depth, honesty [and] thoughtfulness”. Not “another sham”.