brexit

Was Liz Truss Really ‘On The Fence’ On Brexit Before The Referendum?

today4 August 2022

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Liz Truss raised eyebrows last night when quizzed about her opposition to Brexit ahead of the 2016 referendum.

She told a Tory leadership hustings in Cardiff: “On the subject of the Remain vote … yes, I was unsure at the time. I was pretty much on the fence.”

This came as something of a surprise to those who can remember the key role Truss played in the campaign to keep the UK in the European Union.

Indeed, a quick Google search throws up plenty of evidence that Truss’s support for the Remain cause was genuine and heartfelt.

In a tweet on February 20, 2016, just four months before the country went to the polls, she said: “I am backing remain as I believe it is in Britain’s economic interest and means we can focus on vital economic and social reform.”

Three months later, Truss, who was environment secretary at the time, told The Guardian that Brexit would be a “hugely retrograde step”.

“This is a debate about our country,” she said. “People who care about those issues, who care about us being an outward-facing, internationally-focused country, go out and vote.”

The same month, in a speech to the Food and Drink Federation, Truss insisted the UK would be “better off” inside the EU.

She said: “Even if you’re in a company that doesn’t export, the company that does export will be buying less of your services and I think that’s a message we really need to get across in the closing weeks of this campaign.

“But I have great faith in the British people; I think the British people are sensible people [and] they understand fundamentally that, economically, Britain will be better off staying in a reformed EU.”

Pictures of Truss on the campaign trail in the days leading up to the referendum are still on her Twitter feed.

And she was also a key voice at Remain press conferences, appearing alongside other pro-EU Tories like George Osborne, Amber Rudd and Stephen Crabb.

Truss speaking at a Remain press conference with then chancellor George Osborne and fellow cabinet members Amber Rudd and Stephen Crabb.
Truss speaking at a Remain press conference with then chancellor George Osborne and fellow cabinet members Amber Rudd and Stephen Crabb.

Matt Cardy via Getty Images

There’s no denying that Truss has well and truly recanted on her previous views and has managed to reinvent herself as one of the government’s loudest pro-Brexit voices.

Indeed, she has claimed that she would now vote Leave if she had the chance.

This has helped her win the support of ardent Brexiteers like Nadine Dorries, Steve Baker and Jacob Rees-Mogg, despite the fact that her rival, Rishi Sunak, actually voted Leave in 2016.

However, her claim to have been “on the fence” six years ago is a just a desperate – and unsuccessful – attempt to rewrite history.

Written by: Admin

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