Liz Truss, the Tory leadership frontrunner, is a strong communicator, gutsy and could prove to be an economic “nightmare” for Labour, according to some of the opposition party’s leading strategists.
Allies of Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer have also been impressed by the way in which the Foreign Minister has grown into the contest to succeed the outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “The idea that she’s a pushover is very wide of the mark,” said one.
In a poll this week by Redfield & Wilton Strategies asked who would make the better Prime Minister, Truss enjoyed a three-point lead over Starmer while her rival, former chancellor Rishi Sunak, trailed Starmer by six points.
“Liz Truss is not crazy, she is gutsy,” said Lord Peter Mandelson, an architect of New Labour’s 1997 election victory, noting that she ran as “an early Thatcher insurgent” rather than a long-serving minister.
He said that, while Labor must not allow Truss to “represent herself as a departure from the last 12 years”, the party also had to “show that it is changing so that it can change Britain”.
“Labour needs to demonstrate its own thinking and ideas and that it is a party for the whole country,” Mandelson added.
His comments were echoed by John McTernan, former adviser to ex-prime minister Tony Blair and the Australian Labor Party. “Liz Truss will have the government’s firepower and freedom of movement granted by an overwhelming leadership victory,” McTernan said.
“Meanwhile, Labor still lacks voter confidence about economic competence. The nightmare for Labor is that Liz Truss spends more freely than Jeremy Corbyn could ever dream of, while she is seen by voters as economically dry than Margaret Thatcher,” he added.
Truss has also won some respect in Starmer’s inner circle, with one ally of his saying that “her clear strength is the simplicity of her message”.
“She talks about what she is for, while Sunak seems like he talks about what he is against. There is no complacency from our point of view. It seems that she is liberated by the prospect of taking the top job,” she added.
Starmer hopes to tackle Truss, if she becomes prime minister, by dismantling her economic strategy, which he says is based on large-scale borrowing without targeting aid to the most vulnerable.
He will also ask the question “whose side are you on?”, as he believes Truss’s preference for overturning a rise in corporate tax for big business over “handouts” for the poor will sway many voters. to shoot
Starmer faces a tough autumn, with unions already criticizing him for trying to ban failed shadow ministers from standing on picket lines in support of striking workers.
His allies believe that shadow leveling secretary Lisa Nandy has damaged her own standing with colleagues by participating in a Communication Workers Union picket this month, but she will not discipline.
Starmer, who is currently on holiday, also faces a challenge to outline his party’s response to the cost of living crisis, which will lead to the biggest squeeze on incomes in more than 60 years.
Labor will outline a new package of measures for August 26, the date on which the energy regulator Ofgem will set the next energy price cap, which will apply from October.
And YouGov poll As of this month, analyzing voting intentions in a general election gave Labor a four-point lead over the Conservatives, with the opposition party on 37 points and the Tories on 33.
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