Liz Truss gives hints Kemi Badenoch to be her foreign secretary
London(UK)- Liz Truss has given her strongest hint yet that she would make Kemi Badenoch the next foreign secretary were she to become prime minister.
Speaking to GB News, Ms Truss pledged to reverse the national insurance rise “on day one” of her tenure if she was elected as leader of the Conservative Party.
On Wednesday, Ms Truss took questions from an audience in former “red wall” seat Leigh, in Manchester, as she continued her battle with Rishi Sunak to succeed Boris Johnson.
Having been guarded over speculation as to who could be in her potential cabinet, Ms Truss cracked a smile when asked by an audience member if any previous candidates had impressed her. When Ms Badenoch, who came fourth in the leadership contest, was cited, Ms Truss asked the questioner which role she had in mind – and she smiled again when “foreign secretary” was the answer.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I can tell you that I will make sure the best players from the Conservative Party are on the pitch,” Ms Truss said.
“I can promise a leaner No10 which has become too presidential.”
Mr Sunak is set to appear before the BBC’s Nick Robinson on Wednesday night.
Having been questioned in Darlington by party members on Tuesday, Ms Truss was met with another favourable audience in Leigh.
She began by repeating her pledge to develop grammar schools, saying she wanted more children to have the opportunity that her own kids are afforded.
Ms Truss then moved on to discuss the energy crisis which is set to see millions see their bills double this winter.
“I understand how difficult it is and that families are struggling at the moment with the cost of food and energy,” Ms Truss said.
“I would reverse the national insurance rise and have a temporary moratorium on the green energy levy. From day one, families would be keeping more of their own money and we would work with energy companies to bring the prices down. If the only alternative is to raise taxes and give out more benefits then the country is going to have another recession.
“Raising taxes is not an option.
“There would be an emergency budget for these issues.”
When asked specifically by host Alistair Stewart if she would rule out further bailouts, Ms Truss did not reply immediately in the negative.
Later on, Ms Truss outlined her determination to tackle illegal immigration, which she called a “criminal operation”. She repeated her backing of the scheme to deport some migrants to Rwanda and said this could be expanded to other countries.
She added: “I am prepared to take robust action with the French and EU to get things done. I will use the most cost effective method of making sure people are going to Rwanda.
“People are using the EU court of human rights to stop [the deportation].” She added that a British bill of rights, which she would impose, would speed up the process.
Pressed on strikes and protests, she expressed a wish to clamp down on unions and also said she was “concerned by extreme activists like Extinction Rebellion.”
Ms Truss did not further discuss the climate crisis or environmental policy beyond her plans to temporarily cut the green levy.