Liz Truss may not be the messiah, but her political comeback has upset some MPs

It may come as no surprise that Liz Truss has kept a low profile.

After she was charged with economic irresponsibility and the man she punched drove in to clean up the mess, any rare sighting of Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister on the parliamentary estate was met with a flurry of excitement.

However, the former prime minister has been quietly making waves from the shadows: old Truss backing WhatsApp groups springing back into action, its closest allies are rallying support for a growth-oriented agenda.

Now Liz Truus herself has surfaced, with a public PR push, including her first TV interview since she stepped down.

In an interview with the Telegraph, she admits that “communication could have been better” and that she underestimated the “power of economic orthodoxy”, but insists her philosophy was the right one.

It is not uncommon for a former prime minister to voice his views, but Truss’s exile is still fresh and the speed at which the pendulum has swung so far from her bold tax-cutting agenda has startled some MPs.

A senior conservative, and former Truss ally, tells me “it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel because the tunnel keeps getting longer.”

So how detrimental will Truss’ interventions be to Sunak?

The problem is not so much the messenger as the message itself. As one backbencher puts it, “No one thinks Liz Truss will return as the Messiah, but I do want a growth plan.”

Her words respond to a mood and a growing push from some MPs for more optimism from the chancellor. Jeremy Hunt has tried to strike a more positive tone in recent weeks, but he says tax cuts will only come “when the time is right”.

Truss’s allies insist her goal is not to harm the government, but a month without a budget adds pressure to her intervention. Many now see the Spring Declaration and subsequent local elections in May as two major tests for the prime minister.

“If there’s a lousy budget, and if there’s a disaster in the May elections, there will be instability,” one MP tells me.

And of course it’s not just Truss: three backbench former prime ministers, two of whom have only recently been impeached, looming large is uncomfortable for any party leader.

There hasn’t been a similar situation since Margaret Thatcher.

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Theresa May, Liz Truss and Boris Johnson in many ways represent different factions of the party, and each has an appeal.

Johnson has certainly been keen to make his presence felt on the world stage and has loyal backers eager to see him back in issue #10.

As a former cabinet minister put it, “the Boris blunderbuss” is never far away, “every now and then he pulls the trigger to make sure everyone knows he’s there”.

Sunak may be the leader to lead the party to the next general election, but as that day slowly creeps into view, his parliamentary colleagues grow impatient – and Truss’s political comeback doesn’t help.

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