United Kingdom: the return of Truss and Johnson, a new thorn in Sunak's side

United Kingdom: the return of Truss and Johnson, another thorn in the side of Sunak


Rocketed with a bang from power, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss are making a remarkable comeback to the front of the British political scene, increasing the pressure on the current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, already weakened by affairs in his government and a lasting social crisis. 

Forced out of Downing Street — the first expelled after months of scandals, and the second after just 49 days and a policy that sparked a panic in financial markets — they both emerged from their media silence this week.


If Boris Johnson had not completely disappeared from the landscape, occasionally showing his support for Ukraine and Brexit, Liz Truss had so far kept a low profile.

On Sunday, the former Prime Minister made her first public expression since her departure in October, in the form of a long column in the conservative Sunday Telegraph newspaper in which she persists and signs on her program and criticizes the fiscal policy of Rishi Sunak. .

She blames “the orthodox economic ecosystem” and “a lack of political support” for having caused her downfall and urges the Conservative Party to return to its roots by lowering taxes.

The Prime Minister and his Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt have so far ruled out this option due to the state of public finances.

“We want to see (the taxes) drop”, but “first we must build the right foundations”, that is to say reduce inflation, defended Sunday on the BBC the Minister of Business and Energy Grant Shapps, believing that Liz Truss' approach “wasn't” the right one.

After his platform, Liz Truss, who beat Rishi Sunak last summer in the race for Downing Street , will give a television interview on Monday.

“Disastrous” policy

British political columnists see this return as a desire to weigh in on the debate among the Conservatives, a few weeks before a new budget and when Rishi Sunak is at half mast in the polls after 100 days in power.

Even if she does not criticize him by name, “it is obvious that she thinks his policies are disastrous”, writes the Sunday Telegraph in its editorial.

The government is facing massive social movements, with repeated strikes in health, transport or public services, to demand better wages while inflation is still above 10%.

Rishi Sunak is also under attack from the opposition, but also in the conservative ranks among those close to Johnson and Truss, after having had to sack the chairman of the conservative party Nadhim Zahawi for tax disputes and because he maintains his confidence in the minister of the Justice Dominic Raab, accused of harassment of his staff.

It was also this moment that Boris Johnson chose to increase his activism in favor of Ukraine, demanding that the United Kingdom deliver more weapons, including fighter jets.

In Davos In early January, in kyiv two weeks ago appearing with President Volodimir Zelensky, Johnson remains one of Ukraine's fiercest supporters in its war against Moscow. 

Visiting Washington this week where he met with Republican officials, he urged the UK government on Fox News to “get Ukrainians what they need as quickly as possible”.

“It wouldn't be not a bad thing if we give more tanks ourselves,” he insisted on Friday in a TalkTV interview with MP Nadine Dorries, one of his most loyal lieutenants.

Downing Street was forced to recall that Boris Johnson “was not acting on behalf of the British government”, recalling the practical difficulties of delivering combat aircraft.

Truss like Johnson still enjoys a lot of support among the conservatives, the pro-Johnsons accusing Rishi Sunak of having caused the downfall of their champion by resigning from his government, while some parliamentarians defend the tax cuts brought by Truss.

For the daily The Times , less than two years from the next General ctions, the “two somewhat injured predecessors (of Sunak) are waiting in the wings”.