‘I served in Government for 38 years — this person is the worst PM I’ve seen
Simon McDonald reveals he told colleagues he voted against Brexit
Lord Simon McDonald, the former Head of the Diplomatic service and Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, served various governments for almost four decades.
In that time, he was witness to a host of domestic and foreign policy conundrums and advised both Labour and Conservative governments on overseas conflicts, including those seen in Israel and Iraq.
As such, Lord McDonald knows a thing or two about the way in which the beast of Westminster works.
While many may not be entirely familiar with the name, they will remember him for his decision to pen a letter about Boris Johnson’s alleged knowledge of Chris Pincher’s behaviour, which some say was the nail in the coffin for his leadership.
While Lord McDonald has previously cited Mr Johnson as the worst Prime Minister he has ever seen, the former civil servant recently shared with Express.co.uk an altogether different person whose qualities he believes fell short of the mark.
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“Once you’ve been tempted to comment on certain subjects, it’s very difficult later to be coy about that subject,” he said. “And so I can say that the worst Prime Minister I’ve seen in my lifetime is Liz Truss.”
Ms Truss, who served as Prime Minister for just 45 days, her time in office marked by disaster.
Analysts say her failures were tenfold and that she gambled on a number of policies that were in the end unsuccessful.
Among them, her economic policy, sacking top treasury official Tom Scholar, bypassing the budget watchdog, failing to follow advice on things like taxation, and sacking her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng after his mini-budget, among other things.
“I think to be prime minister for such a short time and to damage our economy and reputation so quickly, so comprehensively, put her in a league of her own,” said Lord McDonald.
“That’s not a league she wants to be in, but I think the evidence is there for all to see.”
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Lord McDonald mentions his time in politics and writes about Britain’s foreign diplomacy — as well as what direction he believes the country should move in — in his new book, Beyond Britannia: Reshaping UK Foreign Policy.
While he takes a dim view of Ms Truss, in the last few months, she has made an unlikely comeback in political circles.
At this year’s Conservative Party conference, Ms Truss played host to a so-called ‘growth rally’ on the party’s fringe.
Hundreds were seen queuing to watch her speech while Cabinet ministers addressed a near-empty main hall.
She became the star of the show, receiving raucous applause following her calls for Rishi Sunak to cut business taxes and approve fracking.
Among those listening was Nigel Farage, who this week revealed in the I’m A Celeb jungle that he wouldn’t rule out becoming leader of the Conservative Party.
Asked whether he believed Ms Truss could make a comeback, Lord McDonald said: “Some people are helping her, but I just refer back to the facts of what happened in that seven weeks of prime ministership.”
Beyond Britannia: Reshaping UK Foreign Policy is published by Haus and is available to buy here.
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