Liz Truss: Five takeaways from her keynote conference speech

Liz Truss’s debut conference speech as Prime Minister was her first opportunity to set out what her government will focus on.

Her audience was as much her own colleagues as it was voters.

Whether she’s won over those who ran as or backed rival candidates for No10 will come next week - when she will need their support to get her agenda through the Commons with a series of votes on legislation, and the first parliamentary showing of her new team.

In a much shorter leader’s speech than we have become accustomed to, here are five key takeaways:


From the outset her speech was designed to be unashamedly Conservative and unswerving.

At no time did she mention the difficulties following the so-called mini budget or the questioning of her leadership, which has been the big talking point of the entire conference.

Her message? The approach is right, stick with it.

The Challenge

She framed this as being one of breaking orthodoxy – economic, cultural and political.

She called out the key ministers supporting her – the Chancellor doubling down on a low tax future, the Health Secretary and Deputy PM fixing the NHS and the Home Secretary ploughing on with the Rwanda policy.

It’s ‘hard choices, but the right approach’, she said.

‘Everyone, everywhere can get on.’

The speech dealt in policy headlines rather than any new announcements.

Levelling up featured heavily, the importance of the English mayors and the potential of new investment zones – but no indication of how they would move forward with policy.

She stated that aspiration was the driving cause of her policy agenda, citing her own personal examples as a woman and her upbringing in Leeds and Scotland.


The key themes were: economic turbulence is global, not domestic; security at home requires security abroad; and Britain needs to renew to succeed.

‘We have your backs’

Her overriding message to voters was an understanding of their hopes and fears and a pledge - ‘we have your backs’.

So, does the conference speech still matter?

Well, it defines the top line focus of government, but it also needs to leave her own party feeling they’re on the right track for what lies ahead: by-elections; a revived and confident Labour Party; and a general election in just two years.

The immediate reaction is that the speech didn’t do enough.

It hasn’t changed minds and has doubled down on things we already knew - that she’s ideologically focussed on issues she campaigned for and is unlikely to be moved from them.

The markets haven’t reacted with optimism and the sense throughout conference of turbulence ahead continues unabated.