Liz Truss was pulled apart by local journalists on Thursday, as she tried to explain where she’s been for the last week.
The prime minister, who only came into office on September 6, seemed to disappear from public after her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled his “mini” budget, which included £45 billion worth of tax cuts.
The announcement triggered the pound to tumble to its lowest level ever against the US dollar. The Bank of England tried to wade in to rescue the flailing the economy on Wednesday, but experts widely believe Downing Street still needs to act – and quickly – to put the UK on an even keel again.
Truss broke her cover on Thursday morning, and – rather than taking the traditional route and speaking to the national media – she arranged a series of interviews with local BBC radio stations.
And these broadcasters did not hold back.
‘Where have you been?’
The first interview was with BBC Radio Leeds, who immediately asked where the prime minister has been for the last few week while the UK was in a state of panic.
‘Are you ashamed of what you’ve done? Are you?’
BBC Radio Kent got right to the heart of the matter just a few minutes later. The same interviewer also said to the prime minister that the Bank of England was “putting out your fire” with its emergency intervention on Wednesday.
‘Is it fair, prime minister?’
BBC Radio Lancashire questioned Truss over the tax cuts Kwarteng introduced last week, which even the prime minister has admitted only benefits the richest in society, despite the ongoing cost of living crisis.
The same interview saw Truss struggling to answer any questions about fracking in the region, even though she has just lifted the national ban on the controversial practise.
‘That is the same scripted answer you have given to every local radio station’
BBC Radio Bristol got straight to the point, too.
The interviewer said: “Your chancellor, on Friday, opened up the stable door and spooked the horses so much you could almost see the economy being dragged behind them.”
James Hanson continued: “It’s hard to know what is falling more since you entered Downing Street, the value of the pound or the Tory poll rating.”
He added: “You used to believe sound money and bringing down borrowing when you were in David Cameron’s government. Have you changed your mind on that now, like you did on Brexit?”
Truss will also be speaking to all 16 BBC regions and nations’ political editors, which will be published this afternoon.