Liz Truss says she is 'a fighter, not a quitter' as she …
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Who'd want to be Liz Truss right now?

A week is a long time in politics but it is not every week politicians manage to render most of the stuff they spouted in parliament pointless and out of date by sacking a chancellor and creating a whole different economic course.

It is also not every week PMs manage to alienate their colleagues to such a great extent that there are rumours the party are considering rule changes to allow Tories to trigger a confidence vote.

So who'd want to be Truss right now, walking into the commons to chat to Labour leader Keir Starmer about the week that was?

Probably no-one, probably not even Truss herself. But that she had to do for the weekly PMQs and that she did.

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How did she get on? As ever, we'll decide.

Starmer: "Is that the release date or the title?" 9/10

Starmer could have kicked things off by criticising Truss about her multiple u-turns, her sacking of Kwasi Kwarteng, or her failure to speak for herself in the commons this week. With so much to choose from, he made time for a snide joke about a book about her premiership that will be "out by December".

We enjoyed it.

Truss: "That is more of a record of action than the honorable gentleman in his two-and-a-half years in the job," 2/10

Truss was immediately rattled by the quip and started rattling off buzzwords on her Tory achievements bingo card, mumbling about "militant unions" and national insurance before claiming she had achieved more than Starmer has in a very short time.

Of course, Starmer is the leader of the opposition not the leader of the government so is more limited in what he can achieve. This is a distinction that Boris Johnson struggled with when he was the prime minister, so we do hope someone teaches the Tories about the structure of the British establishment soon, or at least by December...

Starmer: "She repeatedly criticised Labour's plan for a six month energy bills freeze. This week the chancellor made it her policy," 8/10

Next, Starmer got going with Truss's numerous economic u-turns. Upon being appointed the new chancellor this week, Jeremy Hunt said the government's energy support package would be reviewed next year which was pretty awkward.

Starmer put her on the back foot and mocked her further. "How can she be held to account when she's not in charge?" he questioned, and with that managed to undermine her policies and her leadership in just two sentences.

Bravo.

Truss: "I'm prepared to take the tough decisions" 3/10

So how did Truss respond? Well, she has often been accused of being a Margaret Thatcher tribute act, but she often acts more like her predecessor Johnson, who loved talking about "tough decisions" at every available opportunity.

Here, Truss did the same and said she had to change course because of the economic context.

"There does need to be some reflection of economic reality from the party opposite," she added. The irony, oh the irony...

Truss: "They back the strikers, we back the strivers," 3/10

Someone at Liz Truss HQ probably cooked up this line about Labour's perceived stance on rail strikes this morning under the influence of one too many cups of coffee. To be honest, we doubt whoever came up with it will become the next communications mastermind in British politics, but there's probably an advertising agency out there somewhere that will have them when Truss is forced to pack her bags.

Starmer: "We are a government in waiting, they are an opposition in waiting," 10/10

Starmer must have thought so because he seized the upper hand again and called her policies an "economic experiment on the British public" before ingeniously turning a Tory attack line on the Labour Party that has been used for years, asked :"Why would anyone trust the Tories with the economy ever again?"

Truss responded by going on about Labour maybe backing strike action, completely misreading public mood, and ignoring what Starmer had said to her.


Truss: "I am a fighter, not a quitter" 1/10

Finally, she claimed she acted "in the national interest" and showed a stubborn unwillingness to quit, which is a real shame, but we'll see about that..

Verdict

What a shower. This PMQs was big for Truss. It was an opportunity for her to prove to squabbling colleagues that she knew what she was doing and double-down on the (relative) stability and market serenity that came from her junking all of her previously planned economic policies.

Instead, she appeared flustered and unable to improvise from some pre-prepared nonsense about unions and seemed to think she was in opposition, criticising Starmer like he is the prime minister (if only).

It all came to a head when Starmer conducted an orchestra of Labour MPs by listing her u-turns while they all shouted "gone", with a crescendo of "economic creditily GONE" and "Kwasi Kwarteng GONE". Get it on Spotify.

This is Starmer's Britain, we're just waiting to live in it.

Here's what some other people made of it:

It is a simple and fundamental principle that the government derives its democratic legitimacy from the people. The future of the country must not be decided by plotting and U-turns at Westminster; it must be decided by the people in a general election. And for this reason The Independent is calling for an election to be held. Have your say and sign our election petition by clicking here.

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