Liz Truss has made no secret of the fact she is willing to be unpopular – going against the grain and doing things her party, the civil service and even the public might be significantly restive about.
As she railroads through orthodoxy to distinguish her administration from the past 12 years of Conservative government, these are some of the ways she has already ripped up the rulebook.
1. Attacking the record of previous Tory PMs
At the heart of Truss’s focus on growth is an attack on the economic plans of previous administrations. Accusations that a “vicious cycle” of high taxes and high spending has simply led to money being reallocated rather than the economy grown have shown she should not have been seen in the leadership race as the Boris Johnson “continuity candidate”. And her pressing ahead with tens of billions of pounds of extra borrowing to fund tax cuts upturns traditional Conservative dogma.
2. Driving reform through the civil service
The sacking of Treasury’s long-serving permanent secretary Tom Scholar within hours of Truss entering No 10 sent shock waves through Whitehall. Meanwhile, most senior civil servants – including special advisers – have been banished from the cabinet room during meetings with senior ministers, in an attempt to clap down on leaks.
3. Moving the British embassy in Israel
Truss admitted recently she was considering relocating the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It would be a controversial move that would break with decades of UK foreign policy in order to follow in the footsteps of Donald Trump. Like the vast majority of the international community, Britain’s position until this point has been that the divided city of Jerusalem, which Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital, should host consulates rather than embassies, until a final peace agreement is reached.
4. Going against the grain on fracking
Despite the 2019 Conservative manifesto promising the moratorium on fracking would only be lifted if “the science shows categorically that it can be done safely”, Truss has pressed ahead regardless. A government-commissioned report by the British Geological Survey said there had been little progress in reducing and predicting the risk of earthquakes caused by the practice. But the ban has been lifted across England regardless, with Jacob Rees-Mogg signalling that the limits on seismic activity will be raised significantly – much to the ire of many Tory backbenchers and communities that experienced earthquakes as a result of drilling.
5. Ripping up regulation
As well as cracking down on planning and environmental regulation in about 40 possible investment zones, Truss has also sought to roll back some of the softer policies pursued by Boris Johnson. The sugar tax is facing the axe, as are, reportedly, plans to ban the importation of foie gras and fur under planned animal welfare regulations.