A video of a 19-year-old Liz Truss as a Liberal Democrat campaigning to abolish the royal family has emerged – potentially causing embarrassment for the Conservative leadership frontrunner who has styled herself as the heir to Margaret Thatcher.
The clip of the foreign secretary at the the Lib Dem conference in 1994, speaking in favour of pro-republicanism motion, was shared by Newsnight on Wednesday – the day the 46-year-old politician made it into the final two in the race to succeed Boris Johnson.
She told conference: “We Liberal Democrats believe in opportunity for all.
“I was being interviewed by Newsnight earlier this afternoon and we were filmed asking members of the public what they thought about the Monarchy.
“We came across a group of three people. I’d say they were around 50, 60 (years of age). (They) looked fairly middle class, rather smart and in fact rather reactionary to be perfectly frank.
“We asked them they’re opinion of the monarch, do you know what they said? They said: ‘Abolish them. We’ve had enough’.”
She then flipped a statement by then Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown that everybody in Britain should “have the chance to be somebody”.
Truss said: “But only one family can provide the head of the state. We Liberal Democrats believe in opportunity for all. We do not believe people are born to rule.”
The Times reported in 2014, when Truss was first brought into the cabinet under David Cameron, that Truss had been active in the party at university and was elected to the national executive committee of its youth and student wing.
She has recently spoken about espousing anti-monarchist sentiments.
“I think it was fair to say that, when I was in my youth, I was a professional controversialist and I liked exploring ideas and stirring things up,” she told the BBC’s Political Thinking With Nick Robinson.
Truss is seen as the favourite to beat Rishi Sunak in the run-off as she polls better with Conservative party members – who will decide who becomes leader on September 5.
Truss has spent years honing her image as a Thatcherite free-marketeer, and has featured in photoshoots seemingly inspired by the Iron Lady. Her remarks as a teen may not sit well with the Tory faithful. Another blemish is potentially her campaigning against Brexit, though she has since converted to the cause.