A Jenga-style podium used by Liz Truss in her short-lived stint as prime minister has cost taxpayers £4,175, it has emerged.
The lectern was compared to a Jenga tower, from the board game that results in total collapse , as it featured pieces of wood seemingly made from Jenga blocks, ready to topple. It was specially made for the former prime minister who lasted 45 days in No 10.
Truss had two podiums made for her, one was paid for by the Conservative party and the other paid for by the government, the Mirror has reported. Responding to a freedom of information request, Downing Street noted it had spent £4,175 on the latter.
Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said: “Not only did Liz Truss and the Conservatives topple the British economy and spike mortgage repayments, they have left taxpayers picking up the tab for this personalised lectern.
“Her choice of a Jenga design should have been a warning sign of the chaos she was about to unleash. This grotesque monument to failure should serve as a reminder that the Tories should never again be trusted with the nation’s finances.”
Her successor Rishi Sunak, desperate to dissociate his government from Truss’s leadership, ditched the podium. No 10 said he is using a lectern that was “purchased under a previous administration”, which had cost £3,050.
Truss endured a tumultuous premiership in which her mini-budget crashed the markets, she lost key ministers and the confidence of the Conservative party.
Her former chief speech writer, Asa Bennett, said she took a “Spinal Tap approach” to government, demanding the volume was “turned up to 11”, before admitting it was a matter of “bitter regret” that her efforts had failed.
Since returning to the backbenches, Truss has been seen around parliament in high spirits, with members of her cabinet forming the Conservative’s latest caucus, the Conservative Growth Group, which aims to ensure Sunak does not drop Truss’s low-tax agenda. Members of the 40-strong group are understood to include the former levelling up secretary Simon Clarke and the former environment secretary Ranil Jayawardena.