‘No regrets’: sacked minister’s wife defends calling Liz Truss an ‘imbecile’ | Conservatives

The wife of a sacked minister has said she has “no regrets” about an online outburst in which she likened the UK’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, to a muppet.

In the wake of Johnny Mercer’s dismissal from government as veterans’ affairs minister on Tuesday, Felicity Cornelius-Mercer launched into a tirade on Twitter, branding Truss an “imbecile” and slamming a cabinet system that “stinks” and “treats people appallingly”.

Cornelius-Mercer, who is employed by her husband’s office as private secretary, also posted a mocked-up image of Truss with the head of Beaker, a pencil-like character from the Jim Henson’s Muppets show, who communicates with staccato beeps.

He asked her ‘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?’
PM – I can’t answer that Johnny

This system stinks & treats people appallingly

Best person I know sacked by an imbecile @trussliz pic.twitter.com/RZGblGA1tx

— Felicity Cornelius-Mercer (@mercer_felicity) September 6, 2022

The outburst garnered attention across the media with some challenging Cornelius-Mercer over the appropriateness of her rant.

But on Wednesday she returned to Twitter to say she had “no regrets”.

“Thank you and to my everyday friends on here who understand me I have no regrets, I’m not intimidated nor have I ruined anything, this is politics and PR. Read it or don’t. @JohnnyMercerUK is leaving veterans to their fate in the MoD again. They are the losers in this,” she wrote.

James Heappey, who retained his place in the cabinet as armed forces minister, will incorporate Mercer’s responsibility for veteran care into his role. Heappey, like Mercer, served in the armed forces.

Mercer, the MP for Plymouth Moor View, had appeared angry about Truss’s move, saying he was “disappointed” but accepted that the PM is “entitled to reward her supporters”.

He also suggested he could quit the Commons, saying: “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.”

It is not the first time Mercer has been sacked from a ministerial role and publicly expressed his anger and disappointment.

In July 2019, he was appointed as minister for defence, people and veterans in Boris Johnson’s government. But in April 2021, Mercer said he was “sacked by text” after offering to resign at a later date but refusing to go earlier. His departure was over the scope of the proposed overseas operations bill.

Mercer lashed out at the government at the time, telling Times Radio he thought Johnson’s administration was “the most distrustful, awful environment I’ve ever worked in”. Eyebrows were raised when in July, Johnson, having conceded defeat and announced his resignation, welcomed Mercer back into the fold as minster for veterans’ affairs, a role he ultimately held on to for nine weeks.

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