Rishi Sunak told to remove whip from Liz Truss for 'propagating conspiracy theories' on US visit

By John Mercury February 26, 2024

Labour has called on Rishi Sunak to consider removing the whip from Liz Truss after her appearance in the US sparked controversy.

Anneliese Dodds, the chair of the Labour Party, accused the former prime minister of “propagating conspiracy theories” and “associating with individuals who have actually praised the far right in our country”.

“That’s deeply disturbing, and we’ve not seen any action being taken,” Ms Dodds told Sky News.

Ms Dodds was referring to a series of controversial appearances made by Ms Truss in recent weeks, including a speech in Washington where she accused US president Joe Biden of being “asleep at the wheel” and stating that he needed to be “kicked out” of the White House.

Ms Truss had used a talk at the Conservative Political Action Conference (Cpac) in the US to claim her efforts to slash taxes were “sabotaged” by the “administrative state and the deep state”.

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The former prime minister – who only lasted 49 days in office after her mini-budget spooked the economic markets – has also been criticised for taking part in an interview with Donald Trump’s controversial former strategist Steve Bannon and remained silent as he praised former leader of the far-right English Defence League Tommy Robinson as a “hero”.

‘Liz should really know better’

Former Conservative chancellor Sir Sajid Javid was among those to criticise Ms Truss for failing to challenge Mr Bannon, writing on X: “I’d hope every MP would confront such a statement head on. Liz should really know better.”

Ms Truss also claimed in her speech that Conservatives are “now operating in what is a hostile environment” and that “left-wing elites” will be “aided and abetted by our enemies in China, Iran and Russia”.

The senior Tory complained about how her attempts to rule the UK were foiled by “the left” and that the West has been run by the left “for too long” – despite the fact the Conservatives have been in government since 2010.

Ms Truss claimed the left “did not accept” that they had lost at the election and “weaponised” institutions like the judicial system.

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Farage partnership

In an interview with Mr Bannon after her speech, she also said she was willing to work with Nigel Farage, the former UKIP and Reform leader, to change the Conservative Party.

Labour’s criticism of Ms Truss comes at the same time that the Conservatives are engulfed in a row over Lee Anderson, the outspoken MP for Ashfield and former deputy party chair who has already had the whip removed after he claimed “Islamists” had control over London mayor Sadiq Khan and the capital city.

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Lee Anderson’s comments were ‘racist’

The MP, who was a Labour councillor before defecting to the Tories, told GB News last week: “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London… He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

The comments have sparked a backlash from across the political divide. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer condemned what he called an “appalling racist and Islamophobic outburst”, while Conservative peer Baroness Warsi said “anti-Muslim racism” was now used “as an electoral campaign tool”.

The incidents involving Ms Truss and Mr Anderson prompted Labour to write to the prime minister demanding he take action against the pair.

Read more:

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Lee Anderson row blunts Rishi Sunak’s moral authority on racism

Referring to Ms Truss, shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth wrote: “For a senior politician to engage in spreading such blatant conspiracy theories is incredibly damaging to our democracy, our institutions and social cohesion.

“For a former prime minister to make such remarks, while on an international visit to a country with whom the UK shares a special relationship which upholds liberal values is an unforgivable lowering of the office of prime minister which lessens the United Kingdom’s standing in the world and needs to be acted upon.

“It’s time to show some leadership and take on the extremists in your party. Liz Truss and Lee Anderson must no longer sit as Conservative MPs. Their words cannot go unchecked or unchallenged.”

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