UP even earlier for the Sunday politics shows because nothing stops the TV coverage of the London marathon starting on time. Not even a Prime Minister’s make or break interview.

After the disastrous attempt to defend her mini-Budget in local radio interviews last week, BBC1’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, live from the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, was an important gig for Liz Truss. Here was a chance to show she was in Number 10 for the long haul, even if some, including members of her own party, want to see her heading to the nearest exit.

A big deal, then. Potentially record audiences tuning in. Cue Liz Truss and … nothing. Blank screens. Silence (save for viewers shouting at the TV). Then sound but no vision. The technical glitches only lasted seconds but it felt longer. It also felt like a metaphor for the times. From growth statements to flagship BBC shows, can no-one do anything right any more?

Finally, the face of Ms Truss filled our screens. Kuenssberg asked if the Prime Minister appreciated how worried people felt after the economic upheaval of last week. Yes, the PM did understand, but this was a global problem.

Kuenssberg pointed out several times the link between the Government’s mini-Budget, the surge in borrowing costs, and panic on the markets. She even deployed a chart, with dates, but to no avail. “I stand by the package we announced,” insisted the PM.

Ms Truss’s only regret was that “we should have laid the ground better”. So the presentation was at fault, not the policies.

On everything else, the lady was not for turning, and not for giving an answer to the question she had been asked. As in the interviews with local BBC stations, she barged ahead regardless.



On and on went the Prime Minister, swatting away the questions like so many flies. No, she would not say if benefits would rise in line with inflation, but pensions would. No, she would not comment on cuts to public spending, but she would point out that scrapping the 45 pence higher rate was the Chancellor’s decision. This, said former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tweeting from home, was the Prime Minister throwing her Chancellor under a bus.

What is an interviewer to do when faced with such an interviewee? Ms Truss’s approach to interviews resembles Boris Johnson’s in some ways. First, ignore the request and disappear for a while, hoping everything will blow over. If that fails, say what you want to say and do not pause for breath, because that is when the journalist will jump in with another question you don’t want to answer.

In the Birmingham studio, sitting off to the side, a mini-jury on a mini-budget, were the chair of John Lewis, Dame Sharon White, Pippa Crerar, political editor of The Guardian, and Michael Gove, former Minister, and the holder of so many jobs in Government he has a novella rather than a CV.

As Ms Truss spoke she glanced over several times in the direction of Mr Gove, as if he was the person above all others that had to be convinced. During the leadership contest, he described her approach to the cost of living crisis as a “holiday from reality”. Was he now a believer in the Liz Truss way? He was not.



Mr Gove said he was “profoundly concerned” about using borrowed money to fund tax cuts. “It’s not Conservative,” he ruled. But will he vote for the plan when it comes before the Commons? “I don’t believe it's right.” It was a softer response than a stark “no”, but it meant the same thing – Ms Truss is in for a bumpy party conference and an even bumpier return to the Commons after that.

With the London Marathon showing on BBC1, The Sunday Show was shunted on to the BBC Scotland channel. Martin Geissler, the presenter, said he seemed to open every show by saying it had been quite the week, but well, it had been quite the week. We hear you, Martin.

Waiting to be interviewed in Birmingham was Andrew Bowie, the Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.

While staunchly defending the Government at the start of the interview, he crumbled towards the end, agreeing with Mr Gove that the Truss-Kwarteng approach to borrowing was not Conservative and saying he had “serious concerns” about the decisions taken. It did not sound like his vote was in the bag either.

By the by, a round of applause for The Sunday Show’s new opening titles sequence, now sporting a picture of Liz Truss instead of Boris Johnson. That’s one vote of confidence in the Prime Minister at least.