THE knives are out for Liz Truss this week, along with the wine glasses, gin glasses and I presume some very fancy napkins.

The inexplicably ascendant Tory has hit the headlines for making expensive demands during her time as International Trade Secretary, and funnelling cash to a Conservative Party donor in the process. In other words, behaving exactly as we’ve come to expect a Tory minister to behave.

Will this put a dent in her popularity among the party faithful? Will it hell. Who cares if a few plebs are jealous that they can only afford Asda Sauvignon Blanc, and have to drink it in their dingy little homes?

Leaked emails show that Truss wanted £3000 in public funds to host a US diplomat at private members’ club 5 Hertford Street, but alarmed civil servants were able to negotiate on the price and get the bill down to £1400 by smashing open the department’s emergency piggy bank. I don’t think this is what Truss meant when she famously boasted about “opening up new pork markets”, but she certainly isn’t shy about dipping her fingers into the public purse.

 READ MORE: Liz Truss spent £1400 on boozy lunch at Tory donor's restaurant

Truss is apparently very familiar with the Mayfair club in question because it’s where she hosts “Fizz with Liz” with Tory MPs and “Biz for Liz” events to try to court donors for her impending leadership bid. What’s next? Spivs for Liz down a dark alley? Hi-viz for Liz on the hard shoulder, with promises of access to the UK Government’s notorious VIP lane?

You’d think the famous champion of British cheese and apples might be more at home in a field or a dairy shed than in the swanky surroundings of a Mayfair club, but it seems grapes are of greater interest when she’s got schmoozing to do. Presumably 5 Hertford Street at least has Cheddar, Wensleydale and Red Leicester on its cheese boards – anything else would be a disgrace. A disgrace!

You really can’t blame busy Lizzy for wanting to plant her bottom on the same lavishly upholstered banquette most nights of the week. She does, after all, have four jobs, which must be exhausting. Not only is she Foreign Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, she’s also now the UK’s chief negotiator with the EU and chairwoman of the EU-UK Partnership Council. Phew! I’d certainly need a stiff drink after a hard day of pretending to be capable of doing every one of those jobs.

According to Labour’s Emily Thornberry, the discounted £3000 lunch is just the tip of a very expensive iceberg, citing a trip to Vietnam and Singapore in which Liz and three staff members racked up more than £4000 in expenses, not including accommodation costs. Perhaps more significantly, it appears someone was economical with the truth when Thornberry first asked how much was spent.

She predicts this “won’t be the last time Liz Truss gets in trouble asking the taxpayer to foot the bill for her expensive tastes”, adding: “If Truss’s natural instinct is to hide the truth and hope no-one asks questions when it comes to small things, don’t be surprised when she does it about big things.”

The question is, who has orchestrated this attempt to get us fizzing at Liz? It probably wasn’t anyone from the Labour party, as surely – surely! – they are not intimidated by a woman who makes Theresa May look like a natural orator, crumbles any time she faces a difficult question in a media interview, and performed a 180-degree turn on Brexit (back in 2016 she said: “I don’t want my daughters to grow up in a world where they need a visa or permit to work in Europe; or where they are hampered from growing a business because of extortionate call costs and barriers to trade”).

Understandably, many are pointing the finger at Rishi Sunak, the man she recently overtook as favourite for the next PM among Tory party members. How quaint if he imagines that in 2022, extravagant spending during trade deal negotiations will be enough to curtail a person’s ambition to be Prime Minister. Or indeed lying about it.

 READ MORE: Liz Truss confuses everyone with fancy 'Merry Christmas' tweet on December 15

Judging by current standards, it could emerge that Truss had hosted a lavish party during the pandemic, had it catered at extortionate cost by Tory cronies, made a bonfire from a pallet of lateral flow test kits and been caught on CCTV dancing around it while giving the finger and shouting “stick this up your nostril!” and her ambitions to lead the UK would hardly suffer.

As long as she didn’t try to get the rest of the Tory MPs to change the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to make the resultant air pollution legal, I’m confident she would remain in the Tory leadership race top two. Let us not forget that third-placed Penny Mordaunt is a serious politician who once said “cock” six times during a Commons speech as part of a dare.

If, as Thornberry claims, Truss does prove to have a pork pie problem, she would merely be carrying on a shameless Tory tradition. As long as it’s British pork, what’s the problem?