‘I don’t want my song being a soundtrack to lies’: M People founder Mike Pickering condemns Liz Truss use of ‘Moving On Up’

M People founder Mike Pickering has condemned prime minister Liz Truss’s use of his band’s hit song “Moving On Up” at the Conservative Party conference.

Truss walked onstage to the sound of the 1993 dance-pop track, as she delivered her Conservative Party conference speech in Birmingham on Wednesday (5 October).

Many people watching the speech immediately pointed out both the irony of the song’s lyrics, as well as the fact that singer Heather Small’s son is a Labour councillor.

“So apparently we can’t stop Truss walking out to our song, very weird!” Pickering wrote on Twitter. “So sad it got used by this shower of a government. [By the way] Truss, Labour used it with permission in Nineties. I don’t want my song being a soundtrack to lies.”

In her speech, titled “Getting Britain Moving” Truss explained why she thinks her economic policies are the right decision, despite the chaos wrought on the UK economy by Kwasi Kwarteng’s botched mini-budget.

Earlier this week, the chancellor blamed the “pressure” of the Queen’s death for the mistakes that have plunged the Tories into crisis.

You can follow along with our liveblog coverage of Truss’s Conservative Party conference speech here.

Since “Moving On Up” was played at the conference, many have shared their reactions on social media.

“Liz Truss walks out for her conference speech to the tune of ‘Movin’ on Up’ which I presume is a tribute to inflation and interest rates,” Liam Thorpe, political editor for the Liverpool Echo, joked on Twitter.

Others were quick to point out further irony beind the song choice, given that M People’s lead singer Heather Small’s son is a Labour councillor.

“Liz Truss walks onto stage to M People’s “Moving On Up”. (Trivia: Heather Small’s son was elected as a Labour councillor in May),” The Guardian’s political editor Pippa Crerar remarked.

Many took the opportunity to reference lyrics from the 1993 single: “You’ve done me wrong / your time is up / You took a sip from the devil’s cup / You broke my heart / there’s no way back / Move right out of here / baby, go on pack your bags.”

“Wonder who chose that,” one person asked.

Ahead of Truss’s speech at the conference, the public had been predicting what song she might walk onto.

“Break stuff by Limp Bizkit” guessed comedian Nish Kumar, while someone else suggested “Creep”, referencing the Radiohead classic.

“My lover’s got no money, he’s got his strong beliefs,” another said, quoting lyrics from the 1997 hit “Freed From Desire” by Gala Rizzatto.

Conservative Party leaders have raised eyebrows in the past for their song choices at conferences.

In 2018, then-prime minister Theresa May walked onto her keynote conference speech by dancing on to the stage to “Dancing Queen” by Abba.