When she entered the Tory leadership race, says Katy Balls in The Times, many colleagues presumed Liz Truss would “naturally implode”. But after coming last in the first TV debate, the Foreign Secretary put in a “seven-hour weekend practice session” before the next one. A close confidante isn’t surprised: “She’ll rarely mention that she’s had to work twice as hard because she’s a woman, but it’s true. She’s not part of the old boys’ club.” Her favourite Taylor Swift song is The Man, which includes the lyric: “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can. Wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.”
Some claim to see an echo of Theresa May in Truss’s initially wooden media appearances, predicting “Maybot 2.0”. That’s dead wrong. “The difference between Theresa and Liz is that Liz is fun,” says one MP, like throwing karaoke parties with her close political ally Thérèse Coffey. She is also, as one colleague puts it, “allergic to tax”. Another ally agrees: “she has a pathological hatred for people taking her money”. That was put to the test last summer when Sunak introduced his national insurance rise. Truss was warned by a senior minister not to rock the boat over the policy, as she was “a week away from a big promotion”. She did it anyway.