Liz Truss gets lost after Tory leadership launch

Sometimes it feels trite to compare everything in British politics to satire show The Thick of It and then you have the Tory leadership contest and actually, it just feels appropriate.

Over the last few weeks, before today when Liz Truss won the contest and became the next PM, she and the runner-up Rishi Sunak ran about courting the vote of members of the Conservative Party.

While doing so, they've got themselves in some sticky situations indeed and watching them fumble has been a nice antidote to the despair we feel as we look on, powerless, as the 0.3 per cent of the public that are members of the party chose the next British leader for the other 97.7 per cent of us.

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So enough crying, and more looking on the bright side - here are the most cringey moments from the contest:

1. Truss struggles to leave a room

Things got off to an awkward start for Truss when she got lost leaving her own leadership launch in July.

She looked confused as her eyes darted around for the exit, she wandered off in the wrong direction, and she had to be led out arm-in-arm by a member of her team.

How very prime ministerial...

2. Children give Truss a grilling

Next the foreign secretary came up against some other harsh critics - children - when she visited a school in Peterborough for photo opportunities.

One child declared: “This is so awkward,” as she tried to chat with them, and another said that “they hate" Boris Johnson. Relatable...

“Have they kicked him out yet?” another child asked, before saying: “Do me a favour, when you become prime minister – evict him.”

3. Truss says she is ready 'to hit the ground'

Truss became the victim of jokers on social media after posted a now-deleted tweet in which she assured her supporters that she would “hit the ground” if she became PM.

It is almost certain she meant "hit the ground running" but, yes, she said "hit the ground" so was duly mocked.

4. Sunak punches the air when he makes final two

When Sunak found out he had made it to the final two in the leadership contest, he reacted in a very cringe way - punching the air and celebrating with his staff.

Unbelievably, he posted the footage as part of his campaign rather than bury it forever and ever and ever...

5. Sunak hands out sunscreen to political journalists

And in what didn't look like a bribe for favourable coverage at all, team Sunak handed out care packages to political journalists covering his campaign as the weather got hotter.

The Mirror's Mikey Smith posted a photo of the package on Twitter, revealing Sunak had gifted him a single finger twix, a small can of Sprite and some factor 30 sunscreen which says: "Ready for Rishi, ready for sunshine" on it, as well as: "Guaranteed protection against Labour".

The pack even came with a note signed by Sunak which says: "Looking forward to seeing you out on the road. Just a little something to make sure you protect yourself in this hot weather. After all, we wouldn't want anyone going red."

Deeply naff.

6. Sunak appears to think Darlington is in Scotland

Sunak put his foot in it with a geographical blunder in one interview.

During a Spectator TV interview, Sunak was asked if he'd be spending a lot of time in Scotland in order to build a better United Kingdom as prime minister.

"I think people can already see that I take that seriously...I was the chancellor who set up an economic campus for the government and the treasury in Darlington," he responded.

Darlington, of course, is a town in county Durham, in other words - England. In other words, not Scotland. You get the point, shame Sunak doesn't though.

7. Sunak appears in front of an awkward typo

While taking part in a Zoom husting early in the contest, run by ConservativeHome, Suank sat in front of a poster begging people to join his campaign. All fine except the spelling of campaign was completely wrong, as you can see below:

Ironically, he was talking about his biggest weakness at the time and he spoke about perfectionism and his attention to detail.

“Part of what I’ve had to do over the time, I’m constantly working at, is getting that balance right between across the detail and understanding every aspect of something, and then realising I know as much or I have done as much as I need to on that and my time is better spent elsewhere," he said.


8. Sunak speaks Welsh in leadership husting

Showing he is a man of every region in the UK, Sunak address Welsh members in a husting in Cardiff in the native language.

"Noswaith dda Welsh conservatives", he said, meaning "good evening Welsh Conservatives", before looking incredibly proud and saying "yep".

He sparked David Brent comparisons and it just goes to show - this contest is as much The Office as it is The Thick of It.

Doesn't it make you feel proud to be British?

9. Truss supporters spell out "LT" at hustings

At the final hustings in London, Truss's fans sat in the stands in a specific way so as to spell out her initials. Everyone present got an ick so profound, they are still recovering to this day.

10. Sunak praises a McDonald's item that no longer exists

Showing he is completely in touch with normal people, Sunak made a clanger when he said he orders an item off the McDonald's breakfast menu that doesn't even exist anymore.

Speakin on This Morning, he said: "If I'm with my daughters we get the [breakfast] wrap with hash brown and everything in it."

But viewers noticed a problem, as McDonald's stopped selling the wrap when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020 and it was permanently taken off the list in January 2022.


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