Move over & # 39; Dishi Rishi & # 39 ;, the Tory believers have a new pin up – & # 39; Busy Lizzie & # 39 ;.
International Trade Minister Liz Truss has achieved the seemingly impossible: a few weeks ago, she overtook Chancellor Rishi Sunak in a cabinet popularity poll conducted by the influential ConservativeHome website.
It marks an astonishing turning point in her political destiny.
Much derided about a harrowing speech by the Tory Party Conference in 2014 about cheese imports – so bad that the clip went viral on social media – she was humiliatingly downgraded from the position of Lord Chancellor by Theresa May in 2017 for failing to defend the judges after a controversy had Brexit judgment.
The international trade minister Liz Truss has achieved the seemingly impossible: a few weeks ago she overtook Chancellor Rishi Sunak in a cabinet poll
And as a Remainer, her cabinet future looked bleak when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister last year.
Eight months earlier she had mocked him as lazy in an interview with me and said that while Ms. May "worked like a Trojan", the classic scholar Johnson had merely "studied the Trojans".
When Mr Johnson forgave her and gave her the high-profile job of negotiating post-Brexit trade deal outside the EU, many Tory MPs said he was a fool.
She was overwhelmed and only got the job because he needed more women in the cabinet – not because she was talented, they muttered.
However, for the past few months she has been busy getting them to eat her words by signing trade deals with 58 non-EU countries.
Hardly a week goes by without a photo of Miss Truss' beaming face, framed by the flag of the Union, which is shaking hands with the trade minister of another nation.
In the last week alone, she has signed contracts with Vietnam, Singapore and Mexico. a month ago Japan signed on the dotted line.
Miss Truss, 45, bragged about this success during an episode of The Great British Bake Off when she tweeted that attendees "used a lot of soy sauce" and that "it's good that the deal she negotiated is getting cheaper" with Tokyo .
But beneath the cheeky self-promotion on social media is a tough and radical Tory thinker.
Take her comments yesterday in her other cabinet role as Minister for Women and Equality.
Much mocked a harrowing speech by the Tory Party Conference in 2014 about cheese imports, Theresa May humiliatingly demoted her from the position of Lord Chancellor
Successive administrations have focused on "fashionable" issues of race, sex and sexuality at the expense of more important equality issues like poverty or the north-south divide, she said.
In a speech entitled The New Struggle for Fairness, she criticized the dominance of "identity politics and loud lobby groups".
"Quotas, goals, unconscious bias training, and statements about diversity" should be considered less than giving people more control over their own lives.
Few people are better able to manage the growing backlash against trendy “woke up” attitudes.
Leftists cannot dismiss Miss Truss as a "privileged Tory" who knows nothing about real life.
She attended primary school in Paisley, Scotland, one of the UK's most deprived areas, followed by an extensive Leeds degree where she took a double high school diploma.
Her father, a math professor, was so left-wing that he refused to advertise her when she stood for the Tories.
At Oxford she was Lib Dem and called for the abolition of the monarchy.
Within two years of becoming a MP in 2010, Truss was Minister of Education and launched a campaign to revitalize school timetables.
When she was chief secretary of the Treasury Department, she infuriated constipated officials by asking them to do complex sums – 46×33, for example – from above.
When Mr Johnson (pictured) forgave her and gave her the high-profile job of negotiating post-Brexit trade deals outside the EU, many Tory MPs said he was a fool
(You should have turned the tables on her. I once asked her what 7×8 was. She replied: & # 39; 54 & # 39; and burst out laughing when she noticed her howling.)
Truss, who has two children with Treasury Director Hugh's husband, has never shied away from speaking out. In 2012 she was the co-author of a book in which British workers were among the "worst idlers in the world".
And it makes the average rhinoceros look thin-skinned, even when high-profile speeches – for example this "cheese" speech – fall flat.
One of her friends said to me at the time, "Liz is great, but she can't be a leader when her speeches are like a mess."
But she has rebuilt her reputation as international trade minister with trade deals worth more than £ 200 billion, which is most of Britain's non-EU trade.
Some are so-called "rollover" agreements and repeat agreements that the UK has already entered into due to its EU membership. But not all.
Many Remain activists warned that it would be years before we received offers of any kind.
There were reports yesterday that the US could sign a "mini-trade agreement" with the UK before Donald Trump resigns as president in January.
If so, it will be another feather of the cap from & # 39; Busy Lizzie & # 39; be the ultimate Tory comeback kid.
Fachwerk: If you focus on trendy topics, poor children suffer
By Claire Ellicott Political Correspondent
Liz Truss yesterday condemned the focus on race, gender and sexuality that has neglected working class white children.
The Secretary of State for Women and Equality said Whitehall was too focused on these "fashionable" subjects and not enough on geography and class.
She dismissed quotas, goals and unconscious bias training as "tools of the left" that "do nothing to fix systems".
And she vowed that ministers in the future would promote opportunities by tackling poverty and the north-south divide under Boris Johnson's “leveling-up” agenda.
Her remarks have been labeled "gratuitous provocation" by Labor, and she has been accused of offering a "wrong choice" by the unions.
They come after a number of ministers voiced fears about the Black Lives Matter movement, saying that it has been politicized and does not support racial harmony.
In her speech yesterday, Ms. Truss – who is also the secretary for international trade – called for the gender issue to be "guided by facts, not fashion" as she said the debate had been "narrowed".
While she acknowledged that people of certain races, genders and sexualities were discriminated against, she said that these were not the only forms of bias.
She said the focus on protected traits set in the 2010 Gender Equality Act "has led to a narrowing of the gender equality debate that overlooks socio-economic status and geographic inequality".
"This means that some problems – especially those faced by white working class children – have been neglected," she said. In her speech to the think tank of the right-wing Center for Political Studies entitled "The New Struggle for Fairness", an approach was outlined that rejects "identity politics and loud lobby groups".
"It will be heavily focused on addressing geographic inequalities, addressing the real problems people are facing, and using evidence and data," she said.
“If you were born in Wolverhampton or Darlington you were underserved by successive governments. No more. Things have to change and things will change. & # 39;
"This new approach to equality will run through the DNA of this government."
She said the Equality Hub, a branch of the Cabinet Office relocated to the north of England, "will undertake the government's largest, most comprehensive and comprehensive gender data project to date".
When asked about the comments on class on race and gender, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said, "I don't think there is any suggestion that we will stop focusing on these issues."
Labor spokesperson for Women and Equality Marsha de Cordova said, "When Liz Truss rejects" fashionable "reasons, she is actually rejecting the devastating effects of discrimination and injustice in people's daily lives."
Union Congress Frances O & # 39; Grady said Miss Truss "made the wrong choice".
"Ministers need to both remove the barriers faced by today's diverse working class and end additional discrimination and disadvantage against BME, women and disabled workers," she added.
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