Liz Truss

Liz Truss

Credentials

  • B.A. Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Oxford University. [1]

Background

Liz Truss became the UK's International Trade Secretary in July 2019 and is a Conservative MP for South West Norfolk. [2]

Truss served as Environment Secretary between 2014 and 2016, during which she cut subsidies for solar farms, calling them “a blight on the landscape” and claiming they were harming food production. The policy turned out not to have been backed up by any evidence from her department. [3], [4], [27]

She was appointed Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary in a 2016 cabinet reshuffle and was Chief Secretary to the Treasury between 2017 and 2019. [3]

In a 2012 interview with the New Statesman, Truss named Margaret Thatcher as her favourite British Prime Minister. [5]

Truss has close ties to free market groups based in and around 55 Tufton Street, having spoken at events organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Adam Smith Institute and appointed three employees of Tufton Street groups as advisors following her appointment as International Trade Secretary. [6], [7]

During a trip to the US in 2018 while Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Truss met with several Koch-funded libertarian thinktanks and lobby groups that have a history of climate science denial. They included: the Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, ALEC, Americans for Tax Reform and Heritage Foundation. [6]

Since her election as an MP in 2010, Truss has been a vocal supporter of Heathrow expansion, backing the third runway despite a Conservative Party manifesto pledge to reject the proposal under David Cameron. She has also strongly supported fracking, calling opposition to the industry “NIMBY“-ist. [8], [9]

Representing a rural constituency, Truss has a close relationship with the Countryside Alliance, an NGO which supports fox hunting and grouse shooting. Truss spoke at a reception organised by the CA at the 2015 Conservative Party Conference, with her reappointment as Environment Secretary after the general election having been welcomed by the group. [10], [11]

Truss stood unsuccessfully in the 2001 and 2005 general elections, before being elected as a councillor in Greenwich, South East London, in 2006. [12], [13]

Earlier in her career, Truss worked as a Commercial Manager at the oil and gas company, Shell, and subsequently as Economics Director at the telecommunications company, Cable & Wireless. [5], [1]

She was later Deputy Director of the thinktank Reform, which advocates free market reforms of public services. While claiming to be “strictly independent and non-party” in its approach, it has been described as belonging to the modern-day conservative movement by ConservativeHome founder Tim Montgomerie and Taxpayers' Alliance founder Matthew Elliott[1], [14], [15], [29]

While at Oxford University, Truss led the student Liberal Democrat Society. [12]

Free Enterprise Group

A strong supporter of “free market” economics, Truss founded the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs in 2011, shortly after entering parliament. The following year, Truss caused public outrage with a book called Britannia Unchained, which she co-authored with four other MPs from the group, including now Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng and Home Secretary Priti Patel. The book recommended extreme deregulation and contained the line: “Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world”. [16], [17]

The Free Enterprise Group has been described by openDemocracy as the “parliamentary wing” of the the Institute of Economic Affairs, with which the group has co-hosted numerous events. The IEA also provides administrative support to the group, including handling media enquiries. [18], [19]

The IEA is one of a cluster of free-market lobby groups based in and around 55 Tufton Street in Westminster, which have promoted climate science denial and campaigned against policies to combat climate change. In July 2018, the thinktank's Director General Mark Littlewood was filmed telling an undercover reporter from Greenpeace's investigative unit UnEarthed, posing as a prospective donor, that they could discreetly influence a report in ways that could advance their business interests, in exchange for £42,500. [28]

A profile on the Conservative Home website described the Free Enterprise Group's aims as “improving infrastructure and education, reducing taxes and regulation, and reforming public services”. The group has produced a number of reports over the years, including one in 2012 by Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng entitled “The Case for Aviation”, which recommends further airport expansion. [20]

Stance on Climate Change

January 5, 2015

In an interview with Parliament's The House magazine, reported by BT News, Truss said: [21]

“I fully agree that climate change is happening. I think the evidence is very strong, but this department [DEFRA]'s role is making sure we adapt to climate change and that's taken into account in all our modelling.” [21]

Key Quotes

October 20, 2014

Announcing a cut in subsidies to farmers and landowners with solar panels on their land, Truss said: [22]

“I'm very concerned that a lot of our land is being taken up with solar farms.”

“We've already got 250 of them and we've got 10,000 football-pitches' worth of new solar farms in the pipeline.”

She continued:

“Food and farming is our number-one manufacturing industry, the whole food chain represents £100bn in our economy, and it is a real problem if we are using productive agricultural land for solar farms.” [22]

July 16, 2014

During her time as Deputy Director of the Reform thinktank, Truss said that energy infrastructure in Britain was being damaged by politicians' obsession with green technology, the Guardian reported. [23]

“Vast amounts of taxpayers' money are being spent subsidising uneconomic activity.” [23]

August 30, 2012

In an interview with Politics.co.uk regarding the expansion of Heathrow Airport, Truss said: [8]

“We do need a hub airport in the south-east of England… If you want to have a hub airport three runways probably isn't enough. If we're imaginative about Heathrow, I don't see why we can't build four runways there.”

Responding to the accusation that building a third runway would break the Conservatives' manifesto promise, Truss said:

“There is not going to be a third runway going to be built in this parliament, so as far as I'm concerned we're honouring the pledge in that manifesto.” [8]

Key Deeds

January 7, 2019

While Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Truss caused alarm with promises to axe “white elephant projects” including low-carbon initiatives, Business Green reported. [24]

June 26, 2018

Truss criticised then Environment Secretary Michael Gove's proposed controls on wood-burning stoves, calling them symptomatic of the “hot air” coming out of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. [25]

January 29, 2015

Truss told the House of Commons that there were “no plans” for the release of an unredacted version of a government report on the impacts of fracking on the rural economy. She said that the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) should never have produced the report, claiming it was the responsibility of the Department for Energy and Climate Change. [26]

Affiliations

Social Media

Publications

Resources

  1. Who is Liz Truss? Meet the new Justice Secretary,” The Telegraph, July 26, 2016. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/oBtuv

  2. Mat Hope, Richard Collett-White. “Is Boris Johnson's Cabinet the Most Anti-Climate Action Ever?DeSmog, July 25, 2019.

  3. The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP,” Gov.uk. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/GbIdT

  4. Solar farms are a blight on the landscape, says minister,” BBC News, October 20, 2014. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/XUXpG

  5. Samira Shackle. “The MP Interview: Elizabeth Truss,” New Statesman, May 25, 2012. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/b1ER8

  6. Lawrence Carter. “Liz Truss met with ‘dark money’ think tanks during taxpayer funded trip to Washington DC,” Unearthed, December 19, 2018. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/IrC3R

  7. Richard Collett-White, Mat Hope. “Mapped: The Anti-Climate Lobbyists Infiltrating Boris Johnson's Government,” DeSmog, August 1, 2019.

  8. Alex Stevenson. “Feature: Britain's elusive aviation strategy,” Politics.co.uk, August 30, 2012. Archived March 31, 2014. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/iRGTA

  9. Good to see PM supporting fracking against NIMBY question. #frackontrack #pmqs,” Tweet by @trussliz, February 28, 2018. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

  10. Environment Secretary speaks at CA conference event,” Countryside Alliance, October 4, 2015. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/UZGc8

  11. Reappointment of Liz Truss to Defra from the Countryside Alliance,” Countryside Alliance, May 17, 2015. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/RyX6H

  12. Alex Stevenson. “Liz Truss: A not-very-green environment secretary,” Politics.co.uk, July 15, 2014. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Zj5hF

  13. Liz Truss,” Personal website. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Debjh

  14. Andrew Haldenby, Richard Harries, Jonty Olliff-Cooper. “Markets for good: the next generation of public service reform,” Reform, November 2014. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/fO8XU

  15. Who we are,” Reform. Archived August 20, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/z70VO

  16. Free Enterprise Group & Institute of Economic Affairs Growth Forum proposals launched,” IEA, February 27, 2012. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/By8tB

  17. Tackle 'lazy' Britain, fellow Tories tell David Cameron,” Evening Standard, August 17, 2019. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Fq3r1

  18. Adam Ramsay, Peter Geoghegan. “Dominic Raab: is he the IEA’s man in government?openDemocracy, July 10, 2018. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/Lu0Mm

  19. Homepage,” Free Enterprise Group. Archived August 13, 2019. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  20. Matthew Barrett. “What is the Free Enterprise Group? Matthew Barrett profiles the most influential new gathering of Tory MPs,” Conservative Home, March 21, 2012. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/qMgl7

  21. Truss: Climate change is happening,” BT News, January 9, 2015. Archived August 13, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/KFgrW

  22. Solar farms are a blight on the landscape, says minister,” BBC News, October 20, 2014. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/XUXpG

  23. Damian Carrington, Fiona Harvey. “Cabinet reshuffle: Who are the new green ministers?Guardian, republished by Edie, July 16, 2014. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/uONSW

  24. Madeleine Cuff. “Fears for green projects as Liz Truss calls for cull of 'white elephant' capital spending,” Business Green, January 7, 2019. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/1CC7n

  25. 'Wood-burning Gove': Liz Truss fumes at cabinet colleague,” BBC News, June 26, 2018. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/EDXRa

  26. Kyla Mandel. “Flustered Liz Truss Blames Civil Servants for Redacted Fracking Report Fiasco,” DeSmog, January 30, 2015.

  27. Adam Vaughan. “Minister's claims that solar panels harm UK food security are false,” Guardian, February 17, 2015. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/lmYiE

  28. Alice Ross, Lawrence Carter. “A hard Brexit think tank told a potential donor it could influence its research reports in exchange for funding,” Unearthed, July 29, 2018. Archived September 25, 2018. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Y2VwB

  29. Tim Montgomerie. “The growth of Britain's conservative movement,” Conservative Home, March 14, 2009. Archived August 14, 2019. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/W3eLq

Other Resources

Photo credit: Number 10/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0