Liz Truss wanted to ‘abolish the Foreign Office’, Rory Stewart claims

Liz Truss wanted to abolish the Foreign Office during her time in government, former minister Rory Stewart has claimed.

In an interview for i, the former Conservative MP described working for Ms Truss as a world “so much stranger than you can ever imagine”.

Before serving as foreign secretary, during her short stint as prime minister in 2022, Ms Truss was made secretary of state for environment in a cabinet reshuffle carried out in 2014 by David Cameron.

Mr Stewart joined the department as a junior minister following the 2015 election, but alleged Ms Truss “actually wasn’t interested in the environment, or farming, or rural affairs”.

“She didn’t really want to visit a national park or any of that… usually people at least pretend to be interested in what they’re doing,” he said.

liz truss wanted to ‘abolish the foreign office’, rory stewart claims

Rory Stewart in the a South Kensington garden near his home (Photo: Tom Pilston)

“She said to me: ‘I think foreign affairs are a waste of time. I think foreign office should be abolished. I can’t understand why you’re interested in foreign affairs’. And then she becomes Foreign Secretary!

“The whole thing is a world so strange, so much stranger than you can ever imagine, and it’s partly our fault. We’ve created these structures and cultures that promote and support the most bizarre behaviours.”

Ms Truss, who served as Foreign Secretary between September 2021 and September 2022, has been contacted for comment.

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Stewart said there is barely a “cigarette paper” between some of the policies of Labour and the Conservatives, and that voters have little choice at the upcoming election.

However, he said he would be willing to work for Sir Keir Starmer in a cross-party capacity, if invited.

Since standing down as Prime Minister, Ms Truss has refused to apologise for the fallout of her short-lived premiership and controversial mini-Budget, insisting that the spike in interest rates that followed was part of a global trend.

Ms Truss, who is hoping to retain her seat in South West Norfolk in the general election, has claimed that her agenda failed due to “deep resistance within the establishment” to her approach, and suggested those opposing her were in favour of the economic approach overseen by Tony Blair.

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There have been suggestions Reform would like Ms Truss to join the party.

Asked in April, former leader Richard Tice did not rule it out, saying: “Let’s wait and see what happens.”

Ms Truss has has insisted she does not want to “reinstate” herself as prime minister.

Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister told Sky News on Sunday in April that she would not like to return to Downing Street.

Ms Truss also refused to apologise for the banking crisis, which was sparked by the mini-Budget she implemented when she was Prime Minister, saying “mortgage rates have gone up across the world”.

She also reiterated her criticism of Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey.

Ms Truss said: “The issues that I faced in office were issues of not being able to deliver the agenda I’d set out because of a deep resistance within the British economic establishment.”

This week, Housing Secretary Michael Gove suggested it may be Ms Truss’s fault if the Conservatives lose the election.

He told The Daily Telegraph that the Tories’ chances of re-election have taken “a bit of a knock” because of the former prime minister’s disastrous mini-Budget, although he did not name his former colleague in his remarks, and simply referred to the “period between Boris and Rishi”.

Mr Gove said: “One of the challenges in particular that we face is the reputation for sound economic management, which is essential to Conservative success, took a bit of a knock in the period between Boris and Rishi.”

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