Rishi Sunak Is Being Haunted By The Ghosts Of Prime Ministers Past
Rishi Sunak is being haunted by his two predecessors
The only thing worse than a back seat driver is two back seat drivers. Just ask Rishi Sunak.
The prime minister, who on Thursday marked 100 days in office, this morning finds himself having to deal with the fact that his immediate predecessors, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, are refusing to quietly depart the political scene.
Johnson spent most of last week being as unhelpful to Sunak - the man whose resignation as chancellor helped to hasten his departure from Number 10 - as he possibly could.
When he wasn’t piling pressure on the PM to send more weaponry to Ukraine, he was joining the calls from Tory MPs to cut taxes.
And now, almost implausibly, we have the return of a thoroughly unrepentant Truss.
Despite becoming the shortest-serving PM ever as a result of the chaos caused by her tax-cutting policies, she has written a 4,000-word essay for the Sunday Telegraph in which she comes to the conclusion that she was right all along.
Truss blames an unlikely coalition of forces, ranging from President Joe Biden to the Office for Budget Responsibility and Tory MPs, for blocking her attempts at radical reform.
“I still believe that seeking to deliver the original policy prescription on which I had fought the leadership election was the right thing to do,” she writes. “But the forces against it were too great.
“I am not claiming to be blameless in what happened, but fundamentally I was not given a realistic chance to enact my policies by a very powerful economic establishment, coupled with a lack of political support.”
Ominously for Sunak, Truss adds: “I will expand upon the lessons that I have learnt in the coming weeks and months.”
Liz Truss has made her political comeback in the Sunday Telegraph
This will include a “hawkish” speech on China in which she will take issue with Sunak’s decision to treat the communist country as a “competitor” rather than a “threat”.
More media appearances are also expected later this week in which she will expand upon the Sunday Telegraph article and give her thoughts on where she thinks Sunak is going wrong.
At a time when he is already facing multiple problems, high-profile interventions by Johnson and Truss - backed by their supporters on the Conservative backbenches - are the last thing Sunak needs.
The man who was fined last month for failing to wear a seat belt needs to take back control of the steering wheel before his government ends up in an almighty car crash.