Brexit: Liz Truss claims trade with the EU is 'bouncing back'
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The International Trade Secretary has topped the recent Cabinet League Table with almost 89 points, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dropped to 24th with mere 3.4 points, according to a new poll of Tory grassroots members. A survey of party members carried out by ConservativeHome has shown an overwhelming amount of support for the Minister for Women and Equalities, Ms Truss, and highlighted a decrease in trust for Mr Johnson. The poll is updated monthly and any event regarding the Government will affect the results.
Ms Truss is in exactly the same position as she was last month with almost an identical score.
According to journalist Anna Isaac, the International Trade Secretary’s popularity comes as Ms Truss is not only seen by many in the Conservative Party as the international face of Global Britain, but also as their modern-day Margaret Thatcher.
She explained: “In a little under two years, Truss has taken what is generally a middle-ranking Cabinet role, and turned herself, quite unashamedly, into the embodiment of post-Brexit Britain’s worldwide ambitions.
“Never mind that the deals she has struck — with Japan, Canada and others — mostly replicate some benefits of European Union membership. The flurry of photo ops showing Truss with the Union flag has galvanized support among the grass roots of the Conservative Party who regard her as a deal maker who is getting things done, and the politician most successfully showing Brexit to be a success.”
Ms Truss’ rise, she argued, is symptomatic of a shift in British politics, a flashback to “an age of aggressive — and divisive — ideology not seen since the Eighties”.
Ms Isaac continued in her report for POLITICO: “For 20 years, Britain has been governed by a series of pragmatic prime ministers — Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May.
“Boris Johnson has not only broken that pattern with his opportunistic embrace of Brexit; he has elevated a cohort of determined neoliberals who want to inject free enterprise back into British politics.
“Truss is one of them, and she actively echoes Thatcher.
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“At times the quotes from Thatcher’s playbook are conscious: Block bright colours, particularly in blue and red, are a wardrobe staple for Truss. The clothing is deployed against a backdrop of flags as she tweets out the latest trade deal (which lends itself both to praise and caricature, given that some are basically cut-and-paste jobs of agreements struck by the EU).
“She’s also eager to cultivate a reputation for cutting through what she views as Whitehall verbosity.”
According to the report, Ms Truss’ attitude is certainly paying off in some quarters.
Alexander Stafford, Tory MP for Rother Valley, is quoted as saying: “She keeps coming up with the goodies.
“She’s got good interaction with the backbenchers.
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“Every time there’s a new deal announced, she’s speaking to us explaining what it means.”
Ms Isaac’s report comes as the UK is nearing an agreement in principle on a free trade deal with New Zealand after the sixth round of talks between the two countries.
Ms Truss said that “great progress” had been made in the most recent talks, which ran from July 19-30.
A statement from Ms Truss emphasised the shared values, long history and commitment to free trade between the UK and New Zealand.
She said: “I want a modern agreement that pushes new frontiers in areas like green and digital trade.”
According to City AM, trade between the two countries was worth £2.3bn in 2020.
As well as improving trade, it is also hoped that the deal will speed up the UK’s admission to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which it applied to join in January.
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