Liz Truss’ exit as Britain’s prime minister is biggest political coup in 30+ years.
A little over two weeks ago, on Monday, May 6, I wrote this post:
And then something happened.
Something that, in hindsight, we should have seen coming, even if it didn’t quite have the impact we thought it would have.
It has happened.
And it is happening as the only leader in the last 30 years who could not only win a seat in parliament for a party he’d formed, but also become the first politician to enter parliament as a Cabinet minister under the leadership of a different party, had resigned from that very party.
Liz Truss may come to be known as the UK’s first female Cabinet minister, because she broke the glass ceiling, but for me, who was sitting in the room with her, I had to pause to remember the word I’d never thought to use to describe her.
I’ve used it now, a few times now, in relation to how I first encountered her in the early days of the election campaign.
On the day I wrote that column, I said, “As the only candidate in the Conservative Party who had been elected in the May 2015 general election (not by winning an outright majority, but defeating the two other main parties), Liz Truss was guaranteed to be a Cabinet minister.”
And the Conservative campaign director, Matthew Elliott, whose blog I regularly wrote for at the time, said, “I think she’ll probably get to be the first female Cabinet minister, as she’ll certainly be the first female MP. But she’s really not guaranteed to do that.”
I thought how nice it would be, when Liz Truss took over as party chairman in late 2005, to see her in the Cabinet in the Conservative Party. So when he asked Liz if she was sure she wanted to be the party chairman in which she had served for seven years, she assured him, “I am so sure”.
He, to his credit, and with his usual humour, said, “Well, we’ve made you, Liz, the new chairman of the Conservative Party.” And so there I was, a Cabinet minister.
And then I moved on with my life, as it