Four things Liz Truss has said about Brexit – is she a true remainer?
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Liz Truss came into one of the great offices of state during the Prime Minister’s reshuffle of his top team earlier this autumn – taking the spot from Dominic Raab. Her promotion has pleased many Tory voters who like Ms Truss for her relentless pursuit of post-Brexit trade agreements and libertarian views on the economy and trade.
Express.co.uk readers even voted Ms Truss as their pick for the next Prime Minister last month, showing just how far the new Foreign Secretary has come.
But some will remember that despite her successes in placing Britain firmly in the international market after Brexit, Ms Truss was once a supporter of Britain remaining in the EU.
Following the 2016 referendum, Ms Truss switched her allegiance to the Brexit camp and has since stood behind the UK’s exit from the EU.
In the run-up to the referendum, Ms Truss tweeted in February 2016: “I am backing remain as I believe it is in Britain’s economic interest and means we can focus on vital economic and social reform at home.”
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In June 2016, just days before the Brexit vote, Ms Truss tweeted: “Leave cannot name one country we would get a better trade deal with if we left the EU.”
Following the vote that took Britain out of the bloc, Ms Truss’s Twitter account shows little activity in support of the UK remaining in the bloc.
In 2017, Ms Truss publicly declared her change of heart and said she would back Brexit if another vote took place.
She told the BBC’s Daily Politics: “The reason I’ve said [I would now back Brexit] is because I voted to Remain because I was concerned about the economy but what we’ve seen since the Brexit vote is our economy has done well.
“We’ve attracted new overseas investment, we haven’t seen the dire predictions come to pass.
“We have seen new opportunities to trade with the rest of the world, I think that’s exciting.
“I believed there would be massive economic problems but those haven’t come to pass and I’ve also seen the opportunities.
“The other thing is it was a big moment on June 23rd when British people voted to leave and it was an expression about what kind of country we wanted to be and I think that has changed the debate in this country as well.”
Since then, the Tory rank and file favourite has considerably changed tack with her promotion to International Trade Secretary in Boris Johnson’s ‘Get Brexit Done’ Government.
Just before she was promoted to Foreign Secretary, Ms Truss branded the EU “protectionist” and said the UK “lost our trade muscle memory that we’d built up as a sovereign trading nation,” explaining the UK has been “building it back” since leaving the bloc.
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Who else in the cabinet was pro-remain?
Michael Gove, one of the Prime Minister’s most doting supporters, was a Brexit supporter prior to the referendum and was one of its biggest architects.
Alongside Mr Gove, Priti Patel is one of the cabinet’s longest-standing Eurosceptics and voted to leave in 2016.
Ms Truss’s replacement at the Department for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan is one of the original Brexiteers, having pushed for Britain to quit the EU ahead of the referendum, taking a leading role during the Leave campaign itself and quitting Theresa May’s Government in protest at the doomed deal that eventually saw the former PM out of office.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he was “gutted” by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, but in the same tweet said: “But it is now my duty to make sure The UK thrives in the world and stays together.”
Former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who was replaced by Ms Truss, was also a remainer prior to the Brexit vote.
Recently appointed Sajid Javid backed remaining in the EU during Brexit and was a member of the Britain Stronger in Europe group.
Transport Secretary Grant Schapps also originally backed remain, as did Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and COP26 President Alok Sharma.
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