Tory stronghold relieved by Truss demise

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Godalming (UK) (AFP) – The resignation of Liz Truss on Thursday was greeted with relief by voters in the Conservative stronghold of Godalming in well-heeled central London.

“Stunning!” said travel agent Ken Cully, 62, upon hearing the news.

“She just made a mess of it, an absolute mess of it, and didn’t have the support of the rest of the party.”

Cully said the chaos of recent weeks has left him very concerned and fears it is too late for the Conservatives to turn their backs on them.

“The damage is done. That’s for sure,” he said. “I’m worried like everyone else in the country. We all fight.”

The affluent green city some 50km south-west of London is part of the constituency of new Treasury Secretary Jeremy Hunt, although he has indicated he will not run.

“Absolute Mess”

On the quaint High Street, which is lined with upscale cafes and bakeries, retiree Sally Sherfield said the political chaos made her “uneasy”.

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“I think it’s better if she leaves,” she said.

“I think there needs to be general elections. I think they (the Truss government) have done too much damage to the country. It needs to be changed.”

Carmen Harvey-Browne, a recently retired teacher and Conservative voter, said the situation had become “an absolute mess” and that Truss “just had to go.”

Jeremy Hunt made a surprise return to frontline politics on October 14 but has opted out of leadership
Jeremy Hunt made a surprise return to frontline politics on October 14 but has opted out of leadership JESSICA TAYLOR UK PARLIAMENT/AFP

She said Truss was “not fit for purpose,” adding that the news of her departure makes her “a little more hopeful now.”

“You have to turn it over. Hunt is fine, but it’s a poisoned chalice.”

However, many were reluctant to be too hard on Truss, saying their real concern was the opposition Labor Party led by Keir Starmer.

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“Bring Boris back”

“It’s her fault. You elected her,” said Pam Deeprose, a retired secretary and lifelong Conservative, referring to the party members who had the final say in Truss’ election, rather than the Conservative MPs.

“Bring Boris back,” she said, adding that she feared a repeat of the labor riots of 1978-79 under Labor Prime Minister Jim Callaghan’s government, in which the dead remained unburied, rubbish piled up in the streets and pickets lined up hospitals stood.

“I live in fear of Labor taking power. We’ve seen it all before – the ‘Winter of Dissatisfaction’. We’ve seen the three-day week, the chaos,” she said.

Since taking office, Liz Truss has seen her personal and party ratings plummet as YouGov said Tuesday she was the most disliked leader she has ever followed.

Boris Johnson has been ousted from his own party after a series of controversies
Boris Johnson has been ousted from his own party after a series of controversies Kirsty O’Connor POOL/AFP

Labor has now carved out a huge 33-point lead, the widest since former party leader and Prime Minister Tony Blair’s heyday in the late 1990s.

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David Rhydderch, a “floating voter” who had at times backed the Liberal Democrats, said he believed a Labor landslide in the next election, whenever it was held, was now inevitable.

“The damage has been done, the question is how much. I think the next election will be a repeat of ’97’ when Blair swept to victory.

“Tory extremism”

For Jonathan Hoad, a 65-year-old IT consultant, the problem had ultimately been Truss’s tax cut agenda, not personalities.

“The policy was wrong from the start. We’ve all seen Boris portrayed as a buffoon, but he’s stuck to the rules of the past to walk the middle ground, not this Tory right-wing extremism.”

Kwasi Kwarteng's 23 September 'mini-budget' dropped the pound and was a disaster for the Truss government
Kwasi Kwarteng’s 23 September ‘mini-budget’ dropped the pound and was a disaster for the Truss government ISABEL INFANTES AFP

Truss has pushed the party too far to the right, he said, forgetting that even Conservatives recognize the need to provide “social welfare, education and all that.”

“I think that’s where she went wrong. It was confirmed by the public reaction, which was, ‘Oh my god, what is that?’”

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