The Foreign Secretary indicated empty supermarket shelves in the run up to Christmas were not the Prime Minister’s problem
Image: Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
Boris Johnson is “not responsible for what’s in the shops”, Tory Liz Truss claimed today as food shortages threatened to disrupt Christmas.
Speaking at Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, the newly-minted Foreign Secretary indicated bare shelves in supermarkets were not the PM’s problem.
She told a fringe event hosted by the Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics Podcast: “I don’t believe in a command and control economy, so I don’t believe that the Prime Minister is responsible for what’s in the shops.”
She added: “This is why we have a free enterprise economy. I’m sure the goods will be delivered into our shops.
“We saw during covid there was huge disruptions across the world’s supply chains, and we’re still seeing that backing up.
“So we’re still seeing the results of shipping being disrupted, air freight, because there are fewer planes flying there’s less ability to transport freight in planes.
“So we’re seeing elements of that disruption. But the best way to sort that out, is by having enterprise coming up with the solutions, which they are doing.”
The former Trade Secretary, who was promoted in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle last month, wouldn’t guarantee a trade deal would be possible with the US before 2030.
Asked if one could be in place by the end of the decade, she said: “I don’t agree …that that’s the be all and end all of trade.
“Anne Marie Trevelyan, who’s absolutely getting stuck into the job, is getting trade deals done with India, deals to join the Trans Pacific Partnership with the gulf, with israel. There’s a huge pipeline of deals.”
She added: “My message to the Americans is ‘we’re ready when you’re ready’.
“But there’s a whole world out there, there are lots of fast-growing parts of the world who want to do business with Britain. And there’s a full pipeline of trade deals we’re negotiating.”
She went on: “What I think is really important, this goes to broader foreign policy, is that we, the Americans, the Australians – our friends and allies – are reaching out to developing countries to trade with them.
“Because if we are not reaching out to them, who is? Well, the answer is it’s authoritarian regimes who don’t have their best interests at heart, who don’t believe in freedom and democracy like we do.”
She said China had to “play by the rules” on the international stage.
“My view is the way we challenge authoritarian regimes across the world is we do it through strength.
“This is why infrastructure agreements with developing countries are so important, so they are not drawn into the orbit of authoritarian regimes.
“It’s why trade agreements are so important, because we want our trade to be with like-minded partners.
“Of course we have to trade with China, it’s an important trading partner, but it has to be reliable trade and there can’t be intellectual property violation, there can’t be forced technology transfer.”