Britain’s former Prime Minister, Liz Truss speaks at the ‘Great British Growth Rally’ event on day two of the annual Conservative Party conference on October 2., 2023 in Manchester, England.
Carl Court | Getty Images News | Getty Images
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND — Liz Truss, the Reaganomics enthusiast who lasted just 44 days as U.K. prime minister, staged somewhat of a comeback Monday, drawing fans from breakaway Conservative Party factions as she renewed calls for business tax cuts.
A year after Truss’ chaotic mini-budget of tax cuts roiled financial markets and led to her ultimate resignation, crowds gathered in their droves on the fringes of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to hear the ex-leader deliver her economic vision for Britain.
Speaking at a “Great British Growth” rally, Truss outlined her ideas for “axing the tax,” and called on Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt — whom she installed to right the U.K. economy following the budget fallout — to return corporation tax to 19% from its current 25%.
“Frankly, if we can get it lower, the better,” she said.
Truss, in a clear nod to U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s “make America great again” campaign slogan (a tagline later adopted by President Donald Trump), said her pro-business agenda was part of her vision for “making Britain grow again.”
“We need businesses to be able to expand, to grow, to create new jobs, to create new ideas,” she said.
She added that the U.K.’s current tax policy was causing businesses, such as AstraZeneca, to relocate away to other countries with lower tax regimes.
“Businesses shouldn’t be a cash cow to be milked,” Truss said.
“Let’s stop taxing and banning things. Let’s build things and make things,” she added.
Truss’ speech was attended by hundreds of conference delegates, who include party members, policymakers and the press, with many queuing outside the door to hear the former prime minister’s remarks.
Truss was voted into power last year by Conservative Party members, whose number is estimated around 160,000 — or 0.3% of the U.K. population. She beat out Rishi Sunak, who later replaced her as prime minister following her resignation in October 2022.
One attendee of Truss’ speech said they had voted for her in last year’s leadership election and continued to back her policies. Another said they had attended out of curiosity.
The strong turnout — which included former cabinet ministers Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg, as well as former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage — pointed to growing disunity within the ruling Conservative Party as it readies for a tough battle against opposition Labour Party in next year’s General Election.
A speech delivered by Chancellor Hunt an hour after Truss’ was well attended, though other sessions delivered in the main venue by sitting cabinet members were at times noticeably less full.