Conor Burns asks Rishi Sunak to fix 'Trussterf***' that was his sacking
An MP who was wrongly dismissed following allegations he inappropriately touched a man’s thigh has described his sacking as one of many "Trussterf****" under Liz Truss’ leadership.
In an interview in The Sunday Times Magazine, Conor Burns, MP for Bournemouth West, said he asked Rishi Sunak after he was cleared of allegations of serious misconduct whether he could fix what Ms Truss had done to him.
He said: “I said to Rishi, ‘I realise you had nothing to do with this. Nor did you have a role in tanking the economy and decimating our poll lead. But while you are clearing those up, I’d like you to add [my sacking] to the list of Trussterf**** that you clear up?’.”
Ms Truss sacked Mr Burns in October from his role at the Department for Intrernational Trade and removed the Conservative whip last year over an allegation that he was seen touching a young man’s thigh at a hotel bar during the conference in Birmingham last year. He also had the whip removed.
However, in November after Mr Sunak had taken over from Ms Truss, a Conservative Campaign Headquarters inquiry concluded there was "no basis on which to investigate further", Mr Burns regained the Tory whip and the matter was closed.
In the interview, Mr Burns described what had happened to him as a “drive-by shooting” and said he believed it was an act in retaliation earlier in the conference that he saw Kemi Badenoch as the “Future of the Tory Party”.
When asked whether he believed that homophobia was partly behind his firing, he agreed.
He said: “Look at the recent composition of the cabinets. There isn’t currently a gay member of the cabinet. There wasn’t a gay member under Truss. I don’t think there was one under Boris. And gays are not underrepresented in this parliamentary party.”
'Mr Bean tribute act'
Reflecting on Ms Truss’ time as leader, Mr Burns the period was written up to be” inspired by the success of the Thatcherite revolution” but “turned into a Mr Bean tribute act”.
Mr Burns is a close ally of Boris Johnson, having played a central part in his original Tory leadership campaign - later serving as a trade minister, then Northern Ireland minister.
In the interview, he described the treatment he and Mr Johnson received during parts of the party during Theresa May’s time as prime minister.
He said: "I remember the wilderness year, when he resigned [as foreign secretary] in July 2018. We were about as popular as vomit.”
Nevertheless, he added that his existence now was no longer to be the “chief cheerleader of Boris Johnson”.