She ran the country for the shortest period ever, but Liz Truss is determined that won’t define her legacy. Here, speaking to EDP editor Richard Porritt, she blames dark forces for her downfall.

Liz Truss believes maths should be a compulsory subject for everyone up until 18.

But she won’t want students studying these numbers – 70.560, that’s minutes. And 1,176, that’s hours … give or take a few.

This equals 49 days. They say a week is a long time in politics, but 49 days is not a long time in Number 10.

It is a widely held view that South West Norfolk’s Conservative parliamentary candidate was the worst prime minister in British history. Liz disagrees.

And, bear with me, she deserves some credit.

It would have been easy for her to take the Chiltern Hundreds and scuttle off into obscurity only to be seen once a year on Remembrance Sunday lined up next to the other former PMs in Whitehall.

Some might say her reluctance to do this amounts to arrogance. I don’t believe that.

Eastern Daily Press: Former prime minister Liz TrussFormer prime minister Liz Truss (Image: Newsquest)

Liz Truss deeply believes shadowy, dark, faceless forces pushed her from Downing Street. She thinks she was wronged by agents of a Deep State who thought her policies were about to expose the way countries are really run.

I agree - this sounds like far-fetched nonsense. But I know she is adamant that is what happened in those head-spinning few weeks when the Queen died, the economy crashed and ultimately she was booted unceremoniously from power. She believes it was nefarious.

READ MORE: Norfolk MPs criticised for 'attack' on Natural England

So, who are these shadowy figures pulling the strings of power?

“Unelected officials in organisation like the Bank of England who are not accountable,” Ms Truss replies. “The governor of the Bank of England has failed over inflation and yet he has not been held to account.

“The media tend to go for the politicians instead of asking ‘what the CEO of Natural England is doing? What’s the governor of the Bank of England doing?’ These people have a lot of power.

“The Bank of England failed to properly regulate the pensions market. The regulator also failed to do that – that is who people should look to. Who did what, when?”

‘It should be about policies not personalities’

Ms Truss’ policies did not go down well during her blink-and-you’ll-miss-it  premiership. But she is steadfast in her belief that given time – the country would have been better off.

“I was very concerned that our economy wasn’t growing enough,” the 48-year-old said. “Taxes are too high. We need to change our planning system, reduce the cost of energy so businesses and households can thrive.

“I faced huge resistance from Britain’s economic institutions. The night before the mini budget the Bank of England sold £40billion in gilts – that was very unhelpful.”

Ms Truss then focused on liability driven investments – or LDIs. This is a method of investing that attempts to limit future risk for pensions. Ms Truss’ catastrophic mini budget – which included £45bn in tax cuts – sparked a run on sterling and exposed weaknesses in the LDI method meaning many pension pots shrank, something Britain is still recovering from and will be for some time.

“The main issue was LDIs – I’d didn’t know about them.”

She didn’t know about them? I ask if her chancellor knew: “He didn’t know about them.”   

READ MORE: Uncertainty over when A47 work will start despite eco-campaigner losing legal battle

This might be the most telling exchange between us. The prime minister and then chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng did not know about LDIs. This is very worrying. How can two people with the power to crash a whole country’s economy not know about every potential outcome of their mini budget?

“I was held responsible for decisions that I had no power over. I believe it was group think around our current economic model – big government, high taxes, lots of regulation, fairly high immigration - the economic institutions of Great Britain did not want to be challenged.

“Was it a deliberate plot? I am not saying that but I took on the establishment view and there was a massive backlash. There are lot of vested interests.”

Eastern Daily Press: Liz Truss in conversation with Richard PorrittLiz Truss in conversation with Richard Porritt (Image: Denise Bradley)

So, is Ms Truss ready to right the wrongs? Will she stand again if – as the polls heavily suggest – Labour form the next government?

“I have got no plans to stand - once bitten twice shy. I am very focussed on getting the best for South West Norfolk, being a backbench MP and being able to say what I think.”

Could Labour pull off a South West Norfolk smash and grab?

Ms Truss was parachuted into super safe South West Norfolk in 2010. She has never been seriously threatened by any other candidate – but 2024 is different.

Former Tory James Bagge is standing as the anti-Truss candidate. And the Reform hopeful, Toby McKenzie, will take some traditional Conservative votes away as well.

So, could the vote split three ways? Could Labour’s Terry Jermy do the unthinkable and end Ms Truss’ political career?

READ MORE: Tories accused of 'petty party politics' as Truss rival denied key role

“I’m not complacent. I am fighting the seat very hard,” she admits. “I am fighting a positive campaign on what I have already delivered and what I want to see delivered in South West Norfolk.

“Labour is very bad news for the country. Labour want to take power away from people and give it to the government.

“Whatever Labour promise we know that inevitably Labour end up spending more money and putting taxes up.”

Have I got news for you?

Even before she was PM, Ms Truss was the butt of many political jokes. Her infamous 2014 speech on pork markets (she mentioned them in our interview – the obsession lives on) is regularly re-run to the collective hilarity of a nation.

Surely this hurts? No-one goes into politics to be a punchline.

Eastern Daily Press: Liz Truss is a candidate in South West NorfolkLiz Truss is a candidate in South West Norfolk (Image: Newsquest)

“I tend to avoid those sorts of shows,” she said. “You don’t get flak if you’re not above the target – and I do think one of the reasons I get attacked is because they don’t want to take on the argument and the debate.

“Of course, I am human and I don’t particularly like being slagged off but the more people have a go at me personally rather than taking on my policies demonstrates they don’t have the rationale to prove what I say is wrong – so they go back to personal attacks.”

We all know that Britain isn’t working

Ms Truss admits Britain isn’t working. But if Britain isn’t working yet – after 14 years of Tory rule -when will it?

“We did not do enough. We have achieved some things – Brexit, education. I am proud of what we did standing up to Russia.

“But we have to acknowledge that in some areas there is more we need to do. My analysis is we need to change more fundamentally how the system works.”    

Worst PM ever?

Some might say deluded but I’d say confident and committed when describing Ms Truss. She is clearly bruised by the events of the past two years – even if she hides it well.

To have the energy to carry on in politics, to keep battling is either admirable or plain daft. The majority of us would not have stood again.

At just 49 days, Ms Truss hardly got the opportunity to prove if she would have been a good PM – but was she therefore the worst?   

“I campaigned in a leadership election on policies that got the support of Conservative party members, policies that in my view were the right policies. I was thwarted in delivering that,” she said defiantly.

“People criticise politicians who say something and then don’t deliver it – I would never do that. I am truthful. I believe what I am doing and I follow through on that.  

“We have a problem in this country that someone elected on a mandate can’t deliver that mandate because the unelected state don’t want to deliver it. We need to change the way Britain is governed.

“The worst prime minister in recent years is Tony Blair who created things like the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act and the Climate Change Act.”

READ MORE: General election will be 'make or break' for the countryside, say rural leaders

Love her or loathe her, Liz Truss is a force of nature. And she is still the favourite to hold on to the seat.

Number 10 was probably a step too far – and, whoever was to blame for that political car crash, the fall out is still hurting the whole nation.

Proof perhaps that energy, determination and ambition alone do not make for a great prime minister.