How Liz Truss was set on the path to challenge to be Prime Minister

From child of radicals to the door of No 10… How Liz Truss was set on the path to challenge to be Prime Minister

  • Miss Trust had a cosmopolitan childhood spent in Paisley, Leeds, and Canada
  • Left-winged parents, John Truss and his wife Priscilla, took Liz on CND marches
  • Source close to family said she had to fight for everything with three brothers 

It was the moment when the young Liz Truss became, in her words, ‘radicalised’.

As a child, the Foreign Secretary was infuriated to be presented with a ‘Junior Air Hostess’ badge when she boarded a KLM flight with her parents – while her three brothers received ‘Junior Pilot Badges’.

‘I just thought, “Don’t tell me what I can do or what I can’t do”,’ the potential next Prime Minister recalls.

Liz Truss (right) spent a cosmopolitan childhood in Paisley, Leeds and Canada, as her academic father moved between teaching posts. John Truss and his wife Priscilla, were both Left-wingers who took their daughter on CND marches (pictured with a CND banner)

TURNING RIGHT: At the Tory conference in 1997. After a brief flirtation with the Liberal Democrats, Ms Truss moved to the Right after encountering Conservative students at Oxford University

It was a formative moment in a cosmopolitan childhood spent in Paisley, Leeds and Canada, as her academic father moved between teaching posts. John Truss and his wife Priscilla, were both Left-wingers who took their daughter on CND marches.

After a brief flirtation with the Liberal Democrats, Ms Truss moved to the Right after encountering Conservative students at Oxford University.

Her political journey took her from chanting ‘Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, out, out, out’ as a child to addressing the Tory Party conference in 1997 with Mrs Thatcher in the audience. Ms Truss is pictured here aged 12 during a year at an elementary school in Canada, before returning to study at Roundhay comprehensive in Leeds.

Ms Truss is pictured here aged 12 during a year at an elementary school in Canada, before returning to study at Roundhay comprehensive in Leeds

A source close to the family said: ‘Liz had a vibrant, character-forming childhood. With three older brothers, she had to fight for everything. It was a very solid, lower middle-class upbringing, with loads of friends on free school meals. It was a warm and supportive environment to grow up in.’

Ms Truss cites the ‘air hostess’ moment when she discusses what she calls the ‘cult of female exceptionalism’. She once said: ‘Mrs Thatcher did not consider women to be the equal of men, but their superior…

‘Well, I don’t normally disagree with Mrs Thatcher but I do on this occasion. Because I think it’s very important that we reject the idea that women are superior…. or make better bosses.

‘I think it’s just as bad as the cult of male exceptionalism: the idea that men are more decisive, mentally stronger or better leaders.’

PARTY LEADER: Wearing a crown at 12 in Canada. As a child, the Foreign Secretary was infuriated to be presented with a ‘Junior Air Hostess’ badge when she boarded a KLM flight with her parents – while her three brothers received ‘Junior Pilot Badges’

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