The wife of a minister who was fired by Liz Truss has called the new prime minister an “imbecile” in an outburst on social media.
Felicity Cornelius-Mercer said the system “stinks” and “treats people appallingly” after Johnny Mercer was removed as veterans affairs minister.
In a tweet, she claimed her husband asked Ms Truss: “Why would you do this, who is going to be better at this role than me, which of your mates gets the job, you promised a meritocracy?”
She claims the new prime minister replied: “I can’t answer that Johnny.”The tweet included a picture mocking Ms Truss as a character from The Muppets television show.
Ms Cornelius-Mercer added: “This system stinks and treats people appallingly. Best person I know sacked by an imbecile.”
‘Government of all talents’
Ms Truss began assembling her top team yesterday, handing major roles to key allies who had supported her leadership bid and culling supporters of her leadership rival, Rishi Sunak.
Therese Coffey, the newly appointed health secretary and a close friend of Ms Truss, told Sky News on Wednesday morning that she also appointed people “who did not support her”.
“She isn’t focused on people who support her or not. She’s focused on a government of all the talents,” she said.
Ms Coffey said that as the rest of the appointments are made on Wednesday, “people will be able to see that we will continue to focus on having a broad church of people in our government”.
Who’s in and who’s out?
Some members of the new cabinet did not publicly say who they had supported during the leadership race.
But the appointments so far suggest Ms Truss is surrounding herself with allies and supporters.
In the reshuffle Ms Truss rewarded backers for their loyalty, including Kwasi Kwarteng, the new chancellor, and James Cleverly, who is now foreign secretary.
Former key players Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, George Eustice and Steve Barclay were sent to the backbenches after they supported Mr Sunak in the race to succeed Boris Johnson.
Mr Mercer, who did not say who he backed in the Tory leadership race, said he was “disappointed” to be sacked.
In a possible sideswipe, he said he accepted the prime minister is “entitled to reward her supporters”.
The MP for Plymouth Moor View also suggested he could quit the Commons.
In a resignation letter he said: “I have to accept that I will never possess the qualities required for enduring success in politics as it stands, and to be fair to my wonderful family, I must consider my future.”
James Heappey was reappointed as defence minister and was given the role of minister for armed forces and veterans.
Ms Truss held the first meeting of her new-look cabinet in the morning, as ministers seek to finish an emergency package to ease the cost of living crisis.
Later on Wednesday she will face Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in her first PMQs and is expected to continue with a reshuffle of government positions.