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PM Liz Truss emerges for morning of ‘car crash’ local radio

Liz Truss

Prime Minister Liz Truss has emerged from several days of silence following Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous ‘mini-budget’ with a round of local radio interviews this morning. Early reviews aren’t good.

Truss started the day at BBC Radio Leeds, where Rima Ahmed opened with the simple question: “Where’ve you been?” Ahmed added that since Friday, when Kwarteng’s mini-budget was announced, the pound has dropped to a record low, the IMF has said that she should rethink her policies and the Bank of England has had to spend £65 billion to prop up the markets.

Truss seemed stunned into further silence initially, before finally offering: “I think we’ve got to remember the situation we were facing this winter. We were facing a situation where people could have had to pay energy bills of up to £6,000, where inflation was increasing and where we were looking at an economic slowdown which would have had a huge impact right across the country, including in places like Leeds.

“So, we had to take decisive action and that’s why we took action to make sure people aren’t paying a typical fuel bill of more than £2,500, that’s going to come in this Saturday.”

Radio Lancashire was next up locally, and things didn’t get any better when Graham Liver pressed the PM on the lifting of the fracking ban, which could hit parts of the county. Truss admitted that she hadn’t visited the proposed fracking sites, and stumbled over the issue of “local consent” when it was pointed out that even her own MPs in the region opposed fracking.

Up at Radio Tees, Truss was reminded that child poverty had soared in the region in 12 years of Tory government, and she didn’t fare any better outside the North. In Bristol she seemed to claim Vladimir Putin was responsible for the nation’s current woes, and shift responsibility for managing the economy onto the Bank of England, while in traditionally Conservative-friendly Kent the presenter opened on the front foot with: “Are you ashamed of what you’ve done?”

The morning was perhaps best summed up by Guardian columnist John Crace, who described the morning’s PR round as, quite simply, a “car crash.”

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