DEFENCE Secretary Ben Wallace today declares Liz Truss has what it takes to be Britain’s next PM at a time of massive global unrest.
In a huge boost, he says the Foreign Secretary is “authentic, honest and experienced” with the “integrity” for the top job — as he put the boot into rival Rishi Sunak for going AWOL.
Blasting the ex-Chancellor’s coup against Boris Johnson, [object Window]: “What would have happened that day if the markets had crashed?"
He hit out: “I don’t have the luxury as Defence Secretary of just walking out the door — I have roles in keeping this country safe.
“And the guardian of the markets, sai, the guardian of our economy, is the Chancellor.”
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Asked if Mr Sunak was guilty of a dereliction of duty, Mr Wallace said: “We each had our own considerations. I have a duty until I’m replaced.”
Once the members’ leadership favourite himself, the big hitter’s endorsement will further cement Ms Truss’s status as favourite to succeed Mr Johnson as PM.
Mr Wallace told The Sun: “What you see is what you get with Liz and that is what the public wants more than ever at this moment.
“I’ve sat next to Liz in the Cabinet for two and a half years. I’ve sat next to her in National Security Councils. I’ve sat next to her at Nato and international summits. I’ve seen her in action.
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“And she’s authentic. She’s honest. And she’s experienced.”
In another swipe at smooth rival Rishi, ha dichiarato: “I get that she is not the slickest salesperson on the planet, giusto? She’s not running a highly polished Hollywood production leadership campaign, but that’s reflective of who she is.
“She knows how to govern. And her experience goes from running the finances of this country all the way through to Britain on the foreign stage.” In a explosive interview Mr Wallace:
- REVEALED the PM “overruled” the ex-Chancellor to grant more cash for the armed forces.
- BACKED Ms Truss over Mr Sunak in the mega leadership battle to cut taxes now.
- DECLARED he would “love” to carry on as Defence Secretary in a Ms Truss government.
- WARNED more cash is urgently needed or the UK will miss Nato defence targets nel 2026.
At the beginning of the month, Mr Wallace was frontrunner for the crown himself, but he dismayed Tory members by not throwing his hat in the race.
Lui ha spiegato: “You have to really, really want it and I think I didn’t really, really want it and that’s just the reality of it.”
Since then all the candidates to be PM have been scrabbling for his backing — although he has stayed tight-lipped until the race was whittled down to the membership vote between the final two.
But now he says only Liz has what it takes to be ready to lead from day one, rivendicando: “I don’t see any other candidate with that breadth of experience to begin with and these are not normal times.
“We have an economic crisis. We have an international volatile environment of real concern, both threatening Britain’s allies but also threatening Britain.
“The world’s more anxious than it’s ever been, I think it’s more insecure than it was a decade ago and Liz Truss understands that.”
His anger with Mr Sunak, with whom he and Ms Truss clashed repeatedly over defence spending, was barely contained.
Egli ha detto: “The PM gave me a defence settlement that invested in defence for the first time properly since the Cold War. I’m keen and we need for that to continue.”
Asked about Mr Sunak claiming responsibility for the defence spending uplift last year, Wallace was crystal clear: “The Prime Minister intervened, overruled, and insisted that defence got a multi- year settlement.”
Ha aggiunto: “I’m keen that whoever is the next PM invests in defence. But the Treasury resisted the PM’s ambition for it to be 2.5 per cent.”
Mr Sunak has refused to set “arbitrary” spending targets, but Mr Wallace warns a hike is needed to counter global threats and to keep to Nato spending commitments.
And on the crucial question of how to pay for it all, he backed Ms Truss’s tax-cutting plans.
Egli ha detto: “Liz is right — the real way you pay off debt and you raise money to spend on your policy priorities is through economic growth.
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“The only way you’re going to deal with our deficits is through economic growth. So it is a matter of cutting the right taxes, not a matter of cutting all taxes. But you do have to cut some taxes in order to stimulate growth.”
Asked if he will still be Defence Secretary in the autumn, Mr Wallace said: “I love the job I do. But I’m also a realist, that the political omnibus eventually comes down the hill and flattens us all.”
DEFENCE SEC EYES NATO JOB
By Harry Cole
BEN Wallace does not rule out running to be the next General Secretary of Nato.
The Defence Secretary has long been tipped to lead the Western alliance when current boss Jens Stoltenberg steps down next year.
Asked if he would be Britain’s candidate for the role, he told The Sun: “Who knows? It’s a fantastic opportunity.” But he added: “You have to get support from every nation. It’s a big ask.”
The last Brit to get the role was Labour peer Lord Robertson, who served from 1999 per 2004.
Asked about speculation that Boris Johnson himself could get the job, Mr Wallace said it would be “lovely” to see.
But the Defence Secretary added: “He’d have to get Mr Macron’s support. Now I’m not a bookie…”