Conservative leadership frontrunner Liz Truss has denied that she has been modelling herself on former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
The foreign secretary suggested comparisons to the former Tory leader were sexist and said it was “frustrating that female politicians always get compared to Margaret Thatcher”.
She was questioned about the comparisons in interviews on Thursday after some noted similarities between her outfit at the first Tory leadership debate and a look worn by Margaret Thatcher in 1979.
The foreign secretary, who took part in the Channel 4 event last week, opted for a black blazer over a white blouse featuring a bow tie detail across the neck.
Thatcher wore a strikingly similar outfit at the time made up of a white blouse that tied in a large bow at the neck, under a black blazer.
One tweet, which garnered more than 17,500 likes, said: “Liz Truss has recreated Margaret Thatcher’s appearance from her 1979 election broadcast down to the last detail.”
Ms Truss criticised the comparisons saying: “It is quite frustrating that female politicians always get compared to Margaret Thatcher, whereas male politicians don’t get compared to Ted Heath,” she told GB News.
It has been suggested that Ms Truss has intentionally cultivated comparisons with the former Conservative prime minister but she rebuffed such comments.
“I think we need to equalise the scales,” she joked.
And she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I am my own person.
“I’m from a very different background. I grew up in Yorkshire. I went to a comprehensive school. I am somebody who has worked all my life to get things done. And that’s what I want to do in the job.”
It is not the first time the public has drawn comparisons between Ms Truss and Thatcher. In November 2021, Truss donned military gear to pose in an army tank while visiting British troops in Estonia.
The photographs were quickly likened to images of Thatcher in the driving seat of a Challenger Tank at a Nato training camp in Germany in 1986.
In February, Truss was photographed wearing a black round fur hat with matching coat during a trip to Moscow. Thatcher wore a similar outfit – a brown coat with fur trim and brown fur hat – during a trip to Russia in 1987.
Meanwhile former chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said he “will govern as a Thatcherite” after facing repeated criticism from the Tory right for wanting to hold off on tax cuts until after inflation is under control.
Mr Jenrick, the former housing minister and Sunak backer who will be hoping for a return to cabinet, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is the antithesis of Thatcherism to be going around making unfunded tax pledges merely to win a leadership contest.”