Politics

Listen to all eight of Liz Truss's nightmare radio interviews, all in one place

Prime Minister Liz Truss spoke on BBC Local Radio in Leeds, Norfolk, Kent, Lancashire, Nottingham, Tees, Bristol and Stoke. It did not go well.

Official Portrait of Prime Minister Liz Truss in No10 Downing Street. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Have you ever had that recurring nightmare where you have to sit a vitally important exam but you don’t know any of the answers? That nightmare was Liz Truss’s morning, as eight local BBC radio hosts took turns tearing chunks out of the new prime minister over the devastation her short tenure has wrought on the UK economy. And now you can listen to them all in one place.

Nearly a week after the so-called “mini budget” announced by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, which overwhelmingly benefited the richest in society during a cost of living crisis and gave barely pennies to the poorest, Truss has been conspicuous in her absence.

The pound fell to its lowest ever value against the dollar, mortgage providers warned of rocketing rates and plummeting house prices, and the Bank of England stepped in with £65 billion in spending to stabilise the economy, all while Truss stayed silent and hidden. Until today.

“Where have you been?” was BBC Radio Leeds presenter Rima Ahmed’s first question as Truss began an hour of interviews with stations across the country.

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The long pause and floundering response which followed would be a hallmark of the series of interviews now available to listen to collectively on the BBC website.

Just three weeks after she took office and days before the Conservative Party conference, the interviews were the first stern test by the media of her premiership. They didn’t go well.

Speaking to Chris Goreham on BBC Radio Norfolk, Truss gave what would become her stock answer about the action her government has taken, including the false claim that “no one is having to pay a fuel bill of more than £2,500”. Her government’s own figures say the average bill for someone in a semi-detached house will be £2,650, even with her support package.

If Goreham let Truss do much of the talking, Anna Cookson on BBC Radio Kent was more direct.

“Are you ashamed of what you’ve done?” she asked, quoting a listener. Truss begins to explain the situation of rising inflation and energy prices going into the winter before Cookson interjects “and you’ve made it worse”.

While Truss insisted that her government was taking “difficult decisions and do the right thing”.

“Another question from a listener then: What level of suffering is acceptable to ordinary households in order to achieve your perceived goal of growth some time in the future?,” said Cookson.

After a long pause, Truss repeated the false claim about energy bills before Cookson interjected to point out that the economic situation has worsened as a direct result of her mini budget.

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“I don’t accept the premise of your question,” Truss said. That, alongside the pause, would become another regular feature of the interviews.

On BBC Radio Lancashire, she failed to answer questions about local consent for fracking in the region. On BBC Radio Nottingham she was accused of being “a reverse Robin Hood” for cutting tax for the richest and not for the poorest. On BBC Radio Tees she as told her “decisive action” had knocked 40 per cent off people’s pensions.

BBC Radio Bristol’s James Hanson refused to accept Truss’s scripted answers and on BBC Radio Stoke she appeared lost for words when pressed on the impact of her budget on the economy.

Listen to all of the interviews on the BBC Sounds website.

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