Truss, King Charles tour would have made mourning period 'political'
Liz Truss will not be "touring" the UK with King Charles, as it was confirmed that she would only perform a service of reflections alongside him after heavy criticism hit her for politicization attempts.
Talks of new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss accompanying King Charles on the proposed tour of the UK were shut down by No 10 who claimed that there were no intentions to accompany him on engagements in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, according to Downing Street, raising some eyebrows among MPs and the opposition.
After Truss’ spokesperson initially confirmed that she was due to tour with King Charles to the parliaments of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, criticism followed as the proposed tour was considered to be seen as politicizing the Royal Family.
A Downing Street spokesperson updated by saying, “It’s not a requirement, but the prime minister believes it’s important to be present for what is a significant moment of national mourning around the United Kingdom" after Downing Street stressed on Sunday that Truss would only be attending services of reflection in the aforementioned regions.
Later, a No 10 source commented that “the king is leading national mourning across the UK and the prime minister will join and attend the services,” adding, "The PM is not ‘accompanying’ the king and it is not a ‘tour’. She is merely attending the services.”
First ministers of Scotland and Wales, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford, as well Northern Ireland’s first minister-designate, Michelle O’Neill, are expected to attend the memorial events in their respective capitals. Ministers have started pending conversations regarding the cancellation of parts of the party conference recess to make up time for parliamentary business, including passing the new energy bills relief package which Truss already started by freezing energy bills.
Truss' schedule for parliamentary business in the days following the funeral on Monday, September 19, will be hectic, with parliament set for recess on Thursday, September 22, along with her plan to attend the UN general assembly that week in New York.
Both the Conservatives and Labour have decided to go ahead with their annual conferences, due to take place at the weekend after the Queen’s funeral, but both parties are expected to tone down fringe events and receptions without loud celebrations. The Liberal Democrats have canceled their conference which was due to start on September 17 as it would have clashed with the date of the funeral.
The Labour conference’s opening day on Sunday is expected to include tributes to the Queen in its agenda and insiders said they were “relaxed” about allowing fringe events concerning republicanism to go ahead, with one senior Labour source commenting, “I don’t think the public would see it as proportionate for us to cancel our conference." This comes as Conservative party officials anticipate that the tone of some political attacks may also take on a more tactful approach.
Richard Murphy, a Professor at Sheffield University, warned that, if completed, the proposed move would have “made this period of mourning political."
He added, “It could, of course, be argued that the King must act in consultation with ministers, but the message is deeply dangerous. First, it seeks to tie the Crown to the Tory party, which is threatening to the monarchy. Second, it makes the Crown political, and it should not be. I very much doubt the Queen would have been so unwise as to agree to a tour of the country with a new prime minister, herself deeply unpopular and desperate for publicity. Charles has agreed. That, to me, is a very bad sign, amongst many that are worrying.”