Grant Shapps has said Liz Truss had the right priorities but failed as she did not try to deal with the “big structural issues” first.
The business secretary said he agreed the UK should have a low-tax economy, as the short-lived prime minister advocated, but inflation and debt needed to be dealt with first.
He was speaking the morning after Ms Truss released a 4,000-word essay in the Telegraph on Saturday night about what she had wanted to do as PM and why she thought it did not work.
Mr Shapps, who was home secretary for Ms Truss’ final six days, told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “I noted that she said that they hadn’t prepared the ground for these big tax changes.
“And I think the truth is, and we know this, what you’ve got to do first is deal with the big sort of structural issues.
“Deal with inflation first, deal with the debt so you’re on a downward trajectory.
“And then you look towards tax cuts.”
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“Everyone wants a lower tax economy,” he added.
Despite previously calling Ms Truss “tin-eared”, the business secretary refused to directly criticise Ms Truss’ leadership, which she called time on after just 44 days following the disastrous mini-budget in September.
He added that, as an MP and former Tory leader, she had the right to put her argument across in the article.
But he backed current PM Rishi Sunak in a backhanded swipe at his predecessor, saying the prime minister is tackling high inflation to ease pressure on the economy before growth can happen.