What will Liz Truss do next?

Pundits say public speaking and memoir writing may not be money-spinners for the outgoing PM

Liz Truss waving
Truss has not indicated any plans to step down as MP for South West Norfolk
(Image credit: Carl Court/Staff/Getty Images)

Liz Truss is facing an uncertain future after making history as the Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister.

Her resignation after just 45 days in office triggered immediate speculation about what Truss will do after quitting No. 10 next week. But pundits say the outgoing Tory leader may not have as many money-making options as other former PMs including her predecessor Boris Johnson.

Will Truss stay in politics?

Truss has not indicated any plans to step down as MP for South West Norfolk, the consitutency that she has represented since 2010. But her record-low approval ratings also appear to rule out a major political comeback like that being tipped for Johnson, who is one of the favourites to take over as Tory leader.

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It is also “highly unlikely” that she will be given a spot in the cabinet by whoever succeeds her, said the i news site. “just as Johnson was not a member of hers, despite the pair being allies”.

But after returning to the backbenches, Truss will be free at least to earn money from jobs outside of a Parliament, an option from which ministers are barred.

What else might she do?

“Given the nature” of Truss’s time as PM, “it is likely she will keep a relatively low profile for the foreseeable future”, said the i site.

She might eventually move into the world of publishing, by following in the path of the string of former PMs who have signed lucrative deals for memoirs about their times in office. In 2016, David Cameron reportedly sold the rights for his memoirs to William Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins, for £800,000.

And publishing insiders told The Guardian in July that Johnson could command “north of £1m” for such a book after leaving Downing Street.

But a book deal might not be the obvious route for Truss, since her reign lasted less than six weeks.

Another option could be public speaking. Theresa May earned more than £2m from paid speeches in less than three years after standing down as PM, including “£109,000 for a five-hour speaking engagement”, according to the Daily Mail.

Critics have been less than impressed by Truss’s public addresses during her time as Tory leader, however, claiming that her delivery is disjointed and lacking in passion. Even her Tory leadership victory speech was “crushingly banal”, said Freddie Hayward, political reporter at The New Statesman.

Indy100 has created a tongue-in-cheek list of other potential post-PM options for Truss. The news site suggested that she might make a bid to become leader of the Liberal Democrats, having been a member of the party during her youth. Alternatively, she might retrain as a driving instructor, since she’s already “done so many U-turns”, or become a demolition worker, “since she seems to like wrecking everything”.

How else can she make money?

Truss will continue to earn the basic MP’s salary, which rose to £84,144 a year in April.

She is also eligible to receive an annual allowance of up to £115,000 that is available to all former PMs. The government guidance on the Public Duty Costs Allowance states that those “still active in public life” can claim for the “reimbursement of incurred expenses for necessary office costs and secretarial costs arising from their special position”.

High-profile figures including Labour’s Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey have called on Truss not to take the perk for having served for so short a time.

“Most people have to work at least 35 years to get a full state pension,” Davey told LBC radio. “I think working 45 days shouldn’t give you a pension that is many many times what ordinary people out there get after a lifetime of work.”

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Chas Newkey-Burden has been part of The Week Digital team for more than a decade and a journalist for 25 years, starting out on the irreverent football weekly 90 Minutes, before moving to lifestyle magazines Loaded and Attitude. He was a columnist for The Big Issue and landed a world exclusive with David Beckham that became the weekly magazine’s bestselling issue. He now writes regularly for The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, Metro, FourFourTwo and the i new site. He is also the author of a number of non-fiction books.