The Daily Mail’s Pro-Truss Campaign Paved the Way for Her to Become Prime Minister

The prospect of Liz Truss to become prime minister looked thin early in July.

Then foreign secretary, she was running third in the Tory leadership election, with Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt on track to make the final ballot.

Supporters of Boris Johnson were not happy. They believed this outcome would pave the way for Sunak, who had dethroned Johnson by resigning as chancellor.

At this point the Daily Mail unleashed weeks of pro-Truss stories and attacks on her rivals.

When Truss finished a distant third in the first voting round, the newspaper said that the “Tory right” needed to unite or let “establishment favourite Rishi Sunak” into No 10.

If just five Tory MPs had switched their votes then Truss would never have made the final leadership ballot that went out to Conservative party members.

It is not impossible that the weeks of pro-Truss text by the Daily Mail brought the five votes she required.

The Daily Telegraph also enthusiastically backed Truss, as the “competent and proficient” candidate.

The Daily Express said: “Thanks partly to her long involvement with centre-right thinktanks, no one at the top of her party has a deeper knowledge of the British state and its failings.”

It was extraordinary to watch the backpedalling at the titles. Less than a month ago the Daily Mail ran a front page headline saying At Last! A true Tory budget .

To celebrate tax-cut policies. Allister Heath, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, declared Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget a “will radically transform Britain”.

But as the mortgage rate hit to their readers became clear – and Truss tanked – the papers changed tack. The Times endorsed Sunak and the Sun did not back either.

The Daily Star, meanwhile, got global media attention for a livestream monitoring if a Tesco iceburg lettuce would outlast Truss.

It did.

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