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Most Britons lack confidence in Truss: Poll

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss gives a reading during a Service of Prayer and Reflection for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, in London, on September 9, 2022, a day after she died at the age of 96. (Photo by AFP)

More than half of the British public do not have confidence in Conservative Prime Minister Liz Truss to perform at the highest levels as a world leader, according to a recent poll.

The state-of-the-nation survey by Deltapoll, which is representative of the whole British population with a slight margin of error, showed that 52 percent of the 2,096 British adults questioned lacked confidence in Truss.

And, just six percent said they were “very confident” that the new British prime minister would be an effective world leader, the poll conducted exclusively for and published by The National  showed on Monday.

Thirty percent said they were “not very confident” about her being in Downing Street domestically or internationally, while 22 percent said they were “not at all confident.” However, 28 percent said they were “quietly confident” about her leadership.

The wide-ranging poll found that in regard to Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit), 52 percent of those interviewed agreed it had been a bad thing and, by a margin of 46 percent to 19 percent, that the process had gone ahead badly.

The survey, which was carried out between September 9 and 12, during the prime minister’s first week in office, described, according to the pollsters, the state-of-mind and concerns of Britons at the start of a new chapter in UK history following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III as the new monarch.

Anand Menon, a professor of European politics and foreign affairs at King’s College London and director for the UK in a Changing Europe think tank, noted, however, that it was still too soon to say what kind of leader the Conservative Truss was likely to be. He suggested that public confidence in Truss could rise in the coming months if her government’s “minibudget” and emergency package of measures achieved its aim of effectively reducing the strain of the cost of living crisis on households and businesses.

Menon said, in addition to that, much more would depend on how the opposition Labour Party would seize the crisis as an opportunity to boost itself as a government-in-waiting.

He said it “hinges on Labour banging home the message” that “this is the government for the few.”

‘Party of center ground’

The leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party has promised to revive the country’s economy, improve public services and take the government out of an “endless cycle of crisis” if he is chosen to lead the country at its next general election.

Delivering the keynote speech at his party’s annual conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Keir Starmer attacked Truss’ move to cut taxes for the wealthiest amid a major cost-of-living crisis, urging voters not to “forget” or “forgive” the moves ahead of an anticipated national vote in 2024.

He said Labour was once again “the party of the centre ground” and promised to fix the UK’s ailing economy, revitalize the country’s National Health Service (NHS), and confront the climate crisis.

“This is a Labour moment,” Starmer told a packed auditorium in the northern English city of Liverpool.

“Britain will deal with the cost-of-living crisis. Britain will get its future back… That’s my commitment to you… the national mission of the next Labour government. And together with the British people,” he said, concluding with, “We will do it.”

Just 20 days after the new government took power, the UK pound suffered severe devaluation after new Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng promised sweeping tax cuts, costing the public billions in tax revenues while requiring the government to borrow.

The British pound fell to an all-time low against the US dollar, reaching as low as $1.0373 on Monday morning before rallying back to $1.07. The drop equates to a loss of more than 5 percent of the pound’s value against the dollar since Friday.

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