Busy Lizzy meets Big Lizzy: Foreign Secretary Truss lands on HMS Queen Elizabeth as MPs say she and Rishi Sunak ‘are on constant manoeuvres’ in bid for future leadership of Tory party
- Chancellor and Foreign Secretary, both long tipped as potential leaders, said to be ‘sounding out’ colleagues
- Allies of Miss Truss, including parliamentary private secretary Bim Afolami, allegedly ‘working it quite hard’
- Mr Sunak, meanwhile, has been ‘unashamedly’ building support by asking aides to arrange MP meetings
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss looked ready for battle as she landed on the HMS Queen Elizabeth warship this weekend – as it was claimed she and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were on ‘constant manoeuvres’ to become PM.
The minister appeared in Navy gear as she was pictured on the aircraft carrier as it continued its deployment.
Allies of Miss Truss, including her parliamentary private secretary Bim Afolami, have allegedly been ‘working it quite hard’ to see if she has a chance.
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss (pictured) are on ‘constant manoeuvres’ to line themselves up as future leaders of the Conservative Party, MPs have told the Daily Mail. She is pictured on a a tour of the HMS Queen Elizabeth
The aircraft carrier, part of the Carrier Strike Group 2021 is currently on deployment in the Indo-Pacific region
Miss Truss was seen trying on a headset inside one of the fighter jets – clearing enjoying the chance to try out some military hardware
Mr Sunak, meanwhile, has been ‘unashamedly’ building support by asking his aides to arrange meetings with MPs to hear their concerns and ideas.
One senior Tory said: ‘It was absolutely clear it was nothing to do with MPs’ views because there was no follow-up letter. It was just a token gesture, just trying to be accessible and laying the ground for when the leadership race happens.’
Another said: ‘Liz and Rishi are on constant manoeuvres, but without actually explicitly saying it.’
Miss Truss strolls across the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers
She is seen speaking with members of the ship’s crew. It is currently on deployment near Mumbai in India
The Carrier Strike Group 21 is a British-led deployment to help ensure ‘regional stability’ in the Indo-Pacific region
Mr Sunak, meanwhile, has been ‘unashamedly’ building support by asking his aides to arrange meetings with MPs to hear their concerns and ideas
As he says he’ll prepare for speech with Sprite and a Twix
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will have a Twix and a can of Sprite as his ‘pre-game routine’ before delivering the Budget on Wednesday.
Unlike some of his predecessors, the Chancellor, who is teetotal, will not enjoy a sharpener as he delivers his speech in the Commons but will tuck into a chocolate bar and fizzy drink beforehand instead.
Asked whether he had any rituals ahead of the event, Mr Sunak said: ‘I have a general pre-game routine, pre-match routine, for when I have to do parliamentary things which is, look, I have a sugar problem so I tend to have a Twix and a can of Sprite, even though my favourite thing is Coke but I save that for afterwards.
‘But I have a Twix and a can of Sprite which Lisa – who runs my office – always makes sure is sitting there on my desk in Parliament, so that is my immediate pre-game kind of booster.’
Mr Sunak also told Times Radio that his children ‘have a lot of input generally’ on his tie selection and he sometimes wears bracelets that they have made for him.
A source close to the Foreign Secretary denied the claims, saying: ‘We’re not sounding out anyone. Liz is 100 per cent focused on getting on with the job of being Foreign Secretary.’
Mr Afolami also strongly denied that he had been sounding out colleagues, insisting he had only spoken to MPs about parliamentary questions. ‘
Some MPs questioned whether Mr Sunak and Miss Truss would be right for the jobs, with Miss Truss accused of being ‘lightweight’ and ‘ineffectual’.
One said: ‘The people who are currently going for it are the people who took the easy path when the hard part was available to them. And since the path ahead is also very hard, it is not clear to me why they are fit to take it.’
Miss Truss, a rising star in the party who is currently in India on an official visit, openly covets the chance to become the first female chancellor. Brandishing her low-tax credentials, she recently told friends she briefly considered resigning over the national insurance tax rise to pay for social care – believing the Chancellor should have borrowed the money instead.
Mr Sunak, meanwhile, won praise for his grip on the economy during the depths of the pandemic.
Miss Truss came top of a poll of Conservative members earlier this month for net satisfaction with Cabinet ministers. She had a 15-point gap at the top, while Mr Sunak dropped from second in the table in September to fifth this month.
But both ministers could be waiting a while for the next leadership election as the Prime Minister reportedly intends to outlast Margaret Thatcher’s 11-year tenure in No 10.