Liz Truss Cabinet ally says 'it's terminal' as 1922 Committee to meet

‘She can’t recover from this’: Cabinet ally of Liz Truss says her situation ‘is terminal’ with 1922 Committee set to meet TODAY after evening of Westminster chaos which saw Home Secretary quit and No10 forced to deny claims of Chief Whip’s resignation

  • Utter chaos was seen in the House of Commons division lobbies last night as Tories rowed over crunch vote 
  • Suella Braverman quit as Home Secretary admitting protocol breach by sending email on immigration policy 
  • Liz Truss told the Commons yesterday: ‘I am a fighter not a quitter’ as she faced Starmer in a fierce PMQs
  • A senior Cabinet member and ally to Liz Truss said last night ‘she can’t recover from this’ amid party anger
  • Confusion reigned for three hours last night as it was unclear whether Chief Whip and Deputy had resigned 
  • Inflation rose to 10.1 per cent in September from 9.9 per cent in August reaching the highest level for 40 years

Liz Truss’s government disintegrated into chaos last night amid confusion over resignations, discipline and accusations of bullying and manhandling – as chair of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady is to today meet with the other backbench body’s officers to discuss the Prime Minister’s fate.

An extraordinary picture shared by Labour MP Chris Bryant last night showed MPs rowing in Commons division voting lobbies – after the Home Secretary quit and No10 took three hours to persuade the chief whip not to follow.

Yet another day of madness culminated in stories of tears and tantrums in the heart of democracy, with the PM allegedly engaging in a shouting match with her own enforcers.

Her deputy Therese Coffey was accused of ‘manhandling’ Tory MPs to vote against a Labour motion that could have killed the government’s plans to resume fracking – something she denies. 

After hours of disarray a sitting Cabinet minister, said to be one of the PM’s closest supporters, told The Times last night she must go: ‘It’s terminal, the rancour in the parliamentary party is too much. She can’t recover from this.’

It comes as Sir Graham Brady is set to meet the other officers of the 1922 Committee today amid rumours he is considering changing the rules to allow the party to remove Truss from power.

Meanwhile Truss also lost her second Cabinet heavyweight in a week after Suella Braverman resigned as Home Secretary in a row over use of her personal email – but she hit out at the PM in her departure letter, saying: ‘I have made a mistake, I accept responsibility, I resign.’ 

The PM appointed Grants Shapps, who as late as Monday was telling media that her government was unsustainable, but further disarray ensued after it was briefed Liz Truss ‘hopes’ to recruit Ms Braverman back into the Cabinet after Christmas.

One Conservative MP of 17 years, Chris Walker, summed up the situation within Westminster: ‘I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I think it is utterly appalling. I am livid.’

As Ms Truss’s fate seems to be slipping out of her hands just 44 days into her premiership: 

  • Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman became the second senior Cabinet minister to go in one week; 
  • Allegations of bullying, shouting and ‘manhandling’ have emerged after utter chaos in Westminster last night; 
  • PMQs saw a fiery showdown between Ms Truss and Keir Starmer, who joked that a book is being written about her time in office, saying ‘It’s due out for Christmas. Is that the releasedate or title?’
  • Ms Truss announced a shock u-turn and said she would guarantee the pensions triple lock during PMQs; 
  • The PM’s senior aide Jason Stein has been suspended pending an investigating into briefing, after sources told newspapers at the weekend that Ms Truss had not offered Sajid Javid the Chancellor job because he is ‘sh**’; 
  • The Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip told their colleagues they had resigned – only for them to ‘unresign’ after three hours of cajoling by the PM; 
  • The Deputy PM and Business Minister were both accused of ‘manhandling’ Tory MPs through to vote against Labour’s motion, claims they both deny;
  • Opposition MPs reported seeing Conservative MPs ‘screaming and shouting’ at their colleagues, as well as claiming they saw some being marched through to vote ‘in tears’; 
  • Sir Graham Brady is set to meet other 1922 Committee officers today to discuss Liz Truss’ fate. 

Liz Truss left Parliament last night having endured what her own MP’s described as ‘appalling’ chaos after spending hours reportedly convincing her Chief Whip not to resign

Chair of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady is to today meet with the other backbench body’s officers to discuss the Prime Minister’s fate

The day of chaos was begun by the then-Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, resigning and publishing a scathing letter criticising the Prime Minister

The barely believable scenes in the division lobbies – captured on camera by Labour MP Chris Bryant in defiance of Commons rules – were the latest evidence of the wheels falling off Liz Truss’s administration

No Tories voted against the government but 40 abstained – including at first glance the Prime Minister herself and Kwasi Kwarteng, who was chancellor until last week. No10 now says this was an error and Ms Truss did vote against the motion

Last night Conservative MPs were confidant that between 50 and 100 letters of no confidence had been submitted to Sir Graham, despite current rules stating the committee cannot hold a vote of confidence in Liz Truss for a year after her appointment. 

And in another hit for the PM, Tory MP William Wragg confirmed within the House of Commons that he was one of those who has submitted a letter. There are now at least 14 Tory MPs on the record who have said Ms Truss can’t continue.

‘What a c**t’: Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy is recorded insulting Tory minister Steve Baker off-camera 

A Channel 4 News anchor has issued a grovelling apology after he was filmed referring to Tory minister Steve Baker as a ‘c**t’.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy conducted a ‘robust’ interview with the Minister for Northern Ireland on Wednesday about Suella Braverman’s decision to step down as Home Secretary.

After the interview took place, the live feed switched to Prime Minister Liz Truss’s home. Guru-Murthy believed he was no longer on air, but his comments were picked up by other livestream broadcasts nearby.

In footage which has now been widely circulated on social media, the Channel 4 News anchor said: ‘It wasn’t a stupid question, Steve, you know it. I’m very happy to go up against you on [PM Liz] Truss any day. ‘What a c**t.’

The audio has since sparked widespread social media frenzy and Mr Baker told Times Radio it was an ‘unfortunate’ mishap.

‘If it’s in breach of his code of conduct I hope they sack him,’ he said.

Earlier this evening, Guru-Murthy issued an unreserved apology over the blunder.

‘After a robust interview with Steve Baker MP I used a very offensive word in an unguarded moment off air,’ he said.

‘While it was not broadcast that word in any context is beneath the standards I set myself and I apologise unreservedly. I have reached out to Steve Baker to say sorry.’

Mr Baker responded to the tweet with a message that read: ‘I appreciate you apologising. Thank you.’

Recent polling shows Ms Truss has lower approval ratings than both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn at any time during their time as leader of their parties. 

After the government declared yesterday morning that the vote on banning fracking was an issue of confidence and all Conservative MPs had to vote against the motion, raucous scenes ensued after Climate Minister Graham Stuart at the last minute told the Commons it was not a confidence motion after all.

Deputy chief whip Craig Whittaker had written to Conservatives telling them it is a ‘100 per cent hard 3 line whip!’

‘We cannot, under any circumstances, let the Labour Party take control of the order paper and put through their own legislation and whatever other bits of legislation they desire,’ he said.

‘We are voting NO and I reiterate, this is a hard 3 line whip with all slips withdrawn.’

The last-minute withdrawal of this caused Chief Whip Wendy Morton to storm out of the Chamber, before reportedly publicly declaring ‘I am no longer the Chief Whip’ while standing just a metre away from the PM.

While Tory MPs were originally telling reporters that both the Chief Whip and her Deputy, Craig Whittaker, had quit their roles and handed in resignation letters, confusion soon intensified after it was reported Liz Truss followed Ms Morton and pulled her into an intense meeting to prevent her quitting.  

Mr Whittaker reportedly declared as he walked out of the division lobby: ‘I am f***ing furious and I don’t give a f*** any more.’

For several hours, no-one from the government could confirm or deny the claims that both the top whips had resigned. When pressed on issue, Business Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said he was ‘not clear’ what the ‘situation’ with the whips was. 

By 9pm, Ms Coffey was telling reporters outside the Carlton Club – where with exquisite timing the entire Cabinet was due to attend a dinner for the centenary of the agreement that sunk Lloyd George’s government – that Ms Morton had won a ‘great victory’ by defeating the Labour motion. 

No10 confirmed at 9.49pm that the pair were indeed remaining in post. 

The Carlton Club bash was originally due to be black tie, but was downgraded to avoid pix of the Cabinet looking too decadent on day huge inflation figures were unveiled. 

‘If only that was our biggest problem,’ said one source. 

There were extraordinary scenes within Westminster as Tory MPs were left in chaos after the apparent u-turn on the ‘confidence’ vote, leaving them unsure whether they could now abstain or vote against without losing the whip. 

Multiple MPs claim they witnessed shouting and screaming amongst Conservative MPs and senior ministers, while the senior members of the whip’s office were nowhere to be seen. 

The barely believable scenes in the division lobbies – captured on camera by Labour MP Chris Bryant in defiance of Commons rules – were the latest evidence of the wheels falling off Ms Truss’s administration.

Labour had tabled a motion trying to ban fresh drilling and Tory whips told backbenchers it was a ‘confidence motion’ that could in theory bring down Ms Truss. They threatened to kick rebels out the party if they did not vote with the Government.

No Tories voted against the government but 40 abstained – including Kwasi Kwarteng, who was chancellor until last week. Commons records show Ms Truss abstained, although there are now claims that is a mistake and she did vote with the government.

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘Late in the day, a junior official at 10 Downing Street sent a message through to the front bench that it was not a vote of confidence and nobody else was aware of that.

‘The whips were not aware of that, I was not aware of that and most members thought that it was a vote of confidence. It was simply one of those unfortunate miscommunications that occasionally happens.’

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is expected to investigate the claims of bullying outside the voting lobbies after several MPs said they were shocked by what they saw.

Labour MPs reported screaming and shouting and Tory MPs being dragged in to vote with the Government. 

Speaking in the chamber afterwards, former minister Chris Bryant said: ‘I would urge you to launch an investigation into the scenes outside the entrance to the no lobby earlier. 

‘As you know, members are expected to be able to vote without fear or favour and the behaviour code which is agreed by the whole of the House says there shall never be bullying or harassment.

‘I saw members being physically manhandled into another lobby and being bullied. If we want to stand up against bullying in this House of our staff, we have to stop bullying in this chamber as well.’

Later on Sky he directly accused Deputy PM Therese Coffey and Mr Rees-Mogg of manhandling MP Alex Stafford into the voting lobby, though he described it as a ‘heated exchange’.

But Mr Stafford later commented on Twitter that ‘no-one pushes me around’ in a denial of Labour’s version of events.

Nevertheless, dozens of opposition MPs shared their own eyewitness accounts on social media during and shortly after the voting period which appeared to back up the allegations, including government whips ‘screaming’, Therese Coffey ‘practically picking up’ another MP to walk them through the ‘No’ lobby, and multiple MPs in tears.

Shadow minister Anna McMorrin wrote on Twitter that she witnessed an MP ‘in tears’ in the lobby. 

A Tory MP who witnessed the height of the chaos said: ‘I was waiting for the votes and then Craig Whittaker came out crying and saying he’s sick of everything. Then Wendy came out stony faced. The other whips say they have quit. It was absolute carnage.’ 

Ms Truss eventually won the vote by 326 to 230 but among the chaos Chief Whip Wendy Morton also abstained.

One miserable Cabinet source told MailOnline: ‘At this rate I’m going to be PM by Christmas.

‘The writing was on the wall for Wendy since the day of her appointment.’ 

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said he was ‘not entirely clear what the situation is with the chief whip’.

Conservative MP Sir Charles Walker, MP for Broxbourne since 2005, told the BBC: ‘This whole affair is inexcusable. It is a pitiful reflection on the Conservative Party.’

When asked whether there is a way back for the government, Mr Walker said: ‘I don’t think so.’


Suella Braverman (left) dramatically quit as Home Secretary today as Liz Truss’s (right) crisis deepened

In a letter, Ms Braverman said she was resigning for breaching processes by sending an email from her personal account about a forthcoming ministerial statement on immigration

Ms Truss responded with a much briefer letter saying it is ‘important the Ministerial Code is upheld’

Grant Shapps has been installed as the new Home Secretary, despite being one of the most prominent critics of the PM

What did Suella Braverman say in her resignation letter? 

Suella Braverman resigned as Home Secretary yesterday in yet another blow to Truss’ authority: but did not go quietly. 

In her letter, Ms Braverman said she sent a message from her personal email to a ‘trusted parliamentary colleague as part of policy engagement, and with the aim of garnering support for government policy on migration’.

She acknowledged that constituted a ‘technical infringement of the rules’, the document was a draft written ministerial statement, and while much of it had already been briefed to MPs ‘nevertheless it is right for me to go’.

She said ‘the business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes’ adding: ‘Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see we have made them and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics.

‘I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign.’

She added: ‘It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time.

‘I have concerns about the direction of this government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this Government’s commitment to honouring manifesto commitments, such as reducing overall migration numbers and stopping illegal migration, particularly the dangerous small boats crossings.’

 

He added: ‘This is an absolute disgrace.

‘I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I think it is utterly appalling. I am livid.

‘I hope all those people who put Liz Truss in No.10 I hope it was worth it. […] Because the damage they have done to our party is extraordinary.’

‘I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of talentless people putting their tick in the right box, not because it’s in the national interest, but because it’s in their personal interest.’ 

Later he added: ‘I expect the prime minister to resign very soon because she’s not up to her job.’

Hours earlier Home Secretary Suella Braverman was forced to resign yesterday, ostensibly for breaching protocol by sending an email from her personal account to a contact revealing details of an announcement on immigration policy.

Downing Street said Mrs Braverman, the shortest serving Home Secretary of modern times, had resigned after sending a confidential document to a Tory MP in breach of the ministerial code.

But multiple sources said her departure followed a ‘fiery’ 90-minute meeting between her and Miss Truss in No 10 the previous night at which the Home Secretary warned the PM it would be ‘insane’ to relax immigration rules in order to boost economic growth.

In an explosive resignation letter last night Mrs Braverman suggested that the PM should quit and savaged her record.

‘It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time,’ she wrote. 

‘I have concerns about the direction of this Government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this Government’s commitment to honouring manifesto commitments, such as reducing overall migration numbers.’ 

She swiped that when people made ‘mistakes’ – something Ms Truss has admitted – the right thing to do was quit.

Ms Truss responded with a much briefer letter saying it is ‘important the Ministerial Code is upheld’ and quickly installed Grant Shapps – previously a strident critic and Rishi Sunak supporter – as a replacement. 

On Monday of this week, Mr Shapps publicly said that if Ms Truss were to save her premiership, she would need to ‘thread the eye of a needle with the lights off’.

Ms Braverman was under pressure to sign off a plan to liberalise migration rules to help boost the economy, as part of Ms Truss’s drive for growth. The former minister appears to have sent an email with details of the proposed policy to a parliamentary staffer, with speculation she could have been trying to sabotage it. 

One Tory MP close to Ms Braverman told MailOnline of the security breach: ‘It’s the kind of thing that you give a wrap on the knuckles and carry on – unless you want to get rid of someone.’

The MP said Ms Braverman ‘wasn’t happy over their stance on immigration’, and also warned more resignations could be imminent. ‘I get the impression we’re going to get an avalanche.’ 

Mr Shapps did not offer any solace to Ms Truss as he spoke outside the Home Office late on Thursday, stressing his duty is to keep the country secure. ‘It’s been a turbulent time for the government. The most important thing is for the people of the country to know that they have got security.’ 

MPs yesterday described the Cabinet as a ‘caretaker’ government, and many do not believe that Ms Truss can even survive until the Halloween Budget regardless of divisions over who should take over. 

Hardline home secretary who shunned party line 

Suella Braverman was only in the Home Office for a matter of weeks but she spent most of it positioning herself for a tilt at another job – that of prime minister. 

The hardline Brexiteer was handed the top job as an acknowledgement of her popularity with the right of the party in the summer leadership contest. 

But during her tenure she made a series of outbursts that put her at odds with Liz Truss, raising suggestions she was positioning herself for the next leadership race. 

The 42-year-old mother-of two hit the headlines just yesterday with a rant against the ‘tofu-eating wokerati’ for effectively preventing police from arresting eco-zealots who have caused mayhem and misery during weeks of protest.

She hit out at MPs who voted against tough new measures to strengthen police powers to deal with activists more quickly.

Addressing the Commons as MPs debated the Public Order Bill, Mrs Braverman said: ‘I’m afraid it’s the Labour Party, it’s the Lib Dems, it’s the coalition of chaos, it’s the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati – dare I say, the anti-growth coalition – that we have to thank for the disruption we are seeing on our roads today.’

Her comments came as police arrested two Just Stop Oil protesters who spent 36 hours suspended from the QEII bridge, closing a major transport link between Kent and Essex due to safety fears.

At the Conservative Party conference a fortnight ago she also attacked the PM for U-turniong over plans to axe the 45p top rate of income tax.

She launched a swipe as the PM tried to regain her balance, branding the U-turn on axing the 45p tax rate ‘disappointing’ and accusing rebels of a ‘coup’.

She was also blamed recently for jeopardizing a free trade deal with India by accusing its people of being the worst at overstaying visas in the UK.

The staunch Brexiteer, who served loyally in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet as Attorney General, was appointed to replace Priti Patel as home secretary.

Like Miss Patel, she is of Indian ancestry – her parents, of Goan and Mauritian origins, emigrated to Britain in the 1960s from East Africa before setting up base in Harrow, north-west London.

Her mother, a nurse by profession, ensured politics was a part of family life. A Tory councillor for 16 years, she also stood for Parliament in 2001 and 2003.

Mrs Braverman herself was an early adopter of Tory values, serving as president of the Cambridge University Conservative Association while studying law.

After two failed parliamentary runs, she was elected as MP for Fareham in Hampshire in 2015 and rose through the party ranks quickly.

Outside politics, Mrs Braverman has two children with her husband Rael, whom she married at the House of Commons in 2018.

She has faced questions over her involvement with the controversial Buddhist Triratna sect.

The Triratna order, formerly one of Buddhism’s largest sects in the UK, has been the subject of historic sexual abuse allegations.

Mrs Braverman is believed to have attended meetings and retreats organised by the group, and was known as a ‘mitra’ – or friend – within the order.

After another difficult PMQs, during which she stunned the house by performing yet another u-turn in announcing she was committed to the pensions triple lock, Ms Truss abruptly cancelled a visit to an aerospace firm earlier without giving a reason beyond ‘government business’.

She is now facing Tory mutiny on a bewildering range of issues.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt addressed the Conservative 1922 committee last night, and is said to have quipped, ‘this sh** would be interesting if I wasn’t in the middle of it’ – a quote from Barack Obama. 

Northern Ireland Secretary Steve Baker was sent out on TV to insist Ms Braverman was not attacking the premier, and would still be Home Secretary if not for the security issue.

He said he hoped that she would be brought back into government in the New Year. 

Ms Braverman has repeatedly been embroiled in controversy since taking over at the Home Office. 

At the Tory conference she complained about the 45p tax rate being kept, and said she wanted Britain to leave the European Convention on Human Rights. She has also suggested that rules on visas for Indian nationals should not be relaxed, seemingly torpedoing a mooted trade deal. 

Earlier this week she attacked the ‘tofu-eating wokerati’ for effectively preventing police from arresting eco-zealots who have caused mayhem and misery during weeks of protest.

The PM’s press secretary shrugged off the latest intervention this afternoon, saying Ms Braverman had a ‘way with words’. 

In front of a gloomy Tory rank-and-file in the Commons during yesterday’s PMQs, a clearly-rattled Ms Truss admitted she was ‘sorry’ and had ‘made mistakes’.

But despite Keir Starmer joking that she will be ‘out by Christmas’ after her ‘fantasy economics ended in disaster’, Ms Truss insisted she will not resign. 

‘I am a fighter not a quitter,’ she said, echoing a famous line from Labour’s Peter Mandelson.

The clashes came as inflation surged back into double-digits with food prices heaping more pain on hard-pressed Britons.

The government had been hinting that pensioners faced real-terms cuts as part of a desperate £40billion spending squeeze – but Ms Truss tried to kill off the issue by declaring she will stick to the triple lock. ‘I am completely committed to it, so is the Chancellor,’ she said as Jeremy Hunt watched from beside her on the the green benches.

However, she pointedly stopped short of making the same promise on uprating benefits, another area where Tories are threatening to revolt.

Steve Double warned she could only have ‘days’ left as he called her position ‘untenable’, while William Wragg said he had sent a letter of no-confidence to the 1922 committee chief Graham Brady.

Sir Graham is believed to have informed the premier that more than 50 Tories have privately sent him no-confidence letters. 

Ms Truss told MPs: ‘I have been very clear that I am sorry and that I have made mistakes.’

Amid shouts of ‘resign’, she added: ‘The right thing to do in those circumstances is to make changes, which I have made, and to get on with the job and deliver for the British people.’

Former Cabinet minister Sajid Javid had been slated to ask a question at PMQs, but apparently pulled out at the last minute. As the session began reports emerged that Ms Truss’s senior aide Jason Stein has been suspended pending an investigating into briefing. There was a vicious barb at Mr Javid over the weekend claiming he was not offered the Chancellor job because the PM regarded him as ‘sh**’.

The PM’s press secretary said this afternoon: ‘I am not going to get into individual staffing matters but the Prime Minister has made very clear to her team that some of the sort of briefings that we have seen are completely unacceptable about parliamentary colleagues and they must stop.’ 

The cost-of-living crisis is the stark backdrop for a crisis at Westminster as Ms Truss desperately battles to cling on after being forced to sack ally Kwasi Kwarteng and ditch the disastrous mini-Budget that triggered havoc on markets – before any of last night’s chaos came into play.  

PMQs was only Ms Truss’s third since entering No10 and came just a week after she insisted there would ‘absolutely not’ be spending cuts. Mr Hunt – who has been branded the ‘de facto PM’ – now says cuts will be ‘eye-watering’. 

Inflation has rocketed this year.  The rate of Consumer Price Index inflation rose to 10.1% in September from 9.9% in August, the Office for National Statistics has said

Food and drink inflation is one of the biggest factors in the latest rise. Figures are in % 

The cost of food in the UK is now at its highest inflation level since 1980

Transport costs such as fuel are falling but the majority of goods and services continue to rise

Now Liz Truss could U-turn over a windfall tax: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt considering raiding profits of banks and energy giants to fill spending black hole 

Liz Truss could be bumped into yet another embarrassing U-turn as new chancellor Jeremy Hunt considers a new windfall tax on banks and energy giants. 

The PM ruled out a punitive levy against gas companies during her leadership campaign and reiterated her position as recently as last week.

But Mr Hunt is now said to be considering unveiling a new tax on October 31 to help fund a massive fiscal black hole when he announced his spending cuts, the Financial Times reported.

Earlier this week Mr Hunt told the Commons he was ‘not against the principle’ of windfall taxes – which have a high level of support among the general public – and refused to rule out such a move.

Banks have been added to the ranks of energy firms because of the extra cash they are making due to higher interest rates, the FT said. 

 Lloyds Banking Group and Natwest Group Plc led losses among bank stocks after the story broke. The UK’s banking index was down 0.6 per cent, while the investment banking & brokerages index dropped 1.6 per cent.

Vicious PMQs clashes 

Here are some of the most cutting lines from the exchanges between Liz Truss and Keir Starmer today: 

LIZ TRUSS: ‘I have been very clear that I am sorry and that I have made mistakes.

‘But the right thing to do in those circumstances is to make changes, which I have made, and to get on with the job and deliver for the British people.’

KEIR STARMER: ‘Last week the Prime Minister stood there and promised absolutely no spending reductions, they all cheered. This week the Chancellor announced a new wave of cuts. What’s point of a prime minister whose promises don’t even last a week?’ 

TRUSS: ‘I am a fighter and not a quitter. I have acted in the national interest to make sure that we have economic stability.’ 

STARMER: ‘A book is being written about the Prime Minister’s time in office. Apparently it’s going to be out by Christmas. Is that the release date or the title?’

TRUSS: ‘I am somebody who’s prepared to front up, I am prepared to take the tough decisions unlike the honourable gentleman who hasn’t done anything on businesses, who has done nothing to say or protect people after one year. He has got no plan.’ 

STARMER: ‘Those spending cuts are on the table for one reason and one reason only, because they crashed the economy. Working people are going to have £500 more a month on their mortgages and what’s the Prime Minister’s response? To say she’s sorry.

‘What does she think people will think and say that’s alright, I don’t mind financial ruin at least she apologised.’

Official figures released yesterday showed the headline CPI rate reaching 10.1 per cent in September, up from 9.9 per cent the previous month and matching the 40-year high that it hit in July.

The grim figure was driven by a huge 14.5 per cent annual rise in food costs, and came despite petrol prices coming down slightly. 

It is more than eight percentage points higher than the Bank of England’s target and will put pressure on the Monetary Policy Committee to hike interest rates by 1 percentage point when it meets in a fortnight.

Reacting to the news, Mr Hunt said the government will ‘prioritise help for the most vulnerable’ and take action to stabilise the economy.

But the soaring CPI seems to have triggered a rethink in Downing Street over the triple lock on pensions. The rule increases payments in line with the highest out of the September inflation rate, earnings or 2.5 per cent. 

Lifting pensions in line with earnings rather than prices from April would have meant the elderly getting £434 less a year, saving the Treasury around £4.5billion. 

Benefits are also typically increased in line with the September inflation figure, but using an earnings figure is still on the table.

Tories have vowed to revolt if Mr Hunt tries to press on with either of the moves in his Halloween Budget – with resistance going as far as the Cabinet.

The CPI increase was driven by food prices, leaping by 14.5 per cent compared with the same month last year, representing the largest annual rise for 40 years. But transport costs, including fuel, are finally falling. 

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: ‘After last month’s small fall, headline inflation returned to its high seen earlier in the summer.

‘The rise was driven by further increases across food, which saw its largest annual rise in over 40 years, while hotel prices also increased after falling this time last year.

‘These rises were partially offset by continuing falls in the costs of petrol, with airline prices falling by more than usual for this time of year and second-hand car prices also rising less steeply than the large increases seen last year.

‘While still at a historically high rate, the costs facing businesses are beginning to rise more slowly, with crude oil prices actually falling in September.’

Mr Hunt said: ‘I understand that families across the country are struggling with rising prices and higher energy bills. This Government will prioritise help for the most vulnerable while delivering wider economic stability and driving long-term growth that will help everyone.

‘We have acted decisively to protect households and businesses from significant rises in their energy bills this winter, with the Government’s energy price guarantee holding down peak inflation.’

On Wednesday morning, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said ministers ‘take manifesto commitments incredibly seriously’ but refused to say the vow on pensions would be kept.

Just hours later his comments were rendered useless after the PM announced the pensions u-turn in a seemingly unplanned and off-the-cuff way. 

Mr Claverly yesterday criticised colleagues for their ’emotional response’ to the extraordinary U-turns and said he was ‘far from convinced’ kicking out Ms Truss would help.

He told Sky News: ‘The people who are criticising the Prime Minister, and I get why people are frustrated, you know, we look at poll numbers – of course it’s disconcerting if you’re a member of the Government.

‘But my contention is the best way of addressing those poll numbers is to demonstrate to the British people that we are focused on their priorities, that we’re delivering on their behalf.

‘And if we do that, those numbers will head in the right direction instead of the wrong direction.’

He added: ‘What I’m not convinced by – far, far from convinced by – is that going through another leadership campaign, defenestrating another prime minister, will either convince the British people that we’re thinking about them rather than ourselves, or convince the markets to stay calm and ensure things like those bond yields and gilt yields start coming back down.

‘Being angry, again, I totally get it. But that’s an emotional response, it’s not a plan.

‘And the Prime Minister’s got a plan, the Chancellor’s got a plan.’

But former minister Steve Double cautioned Ms Truss is in the ‘last chance saloon’ and will likely have to stand down ‘quite soon’.

The MP for St Austell and Newquay told Times Radio: ‘I think her position is becoming increasingly untenable.

‘I think it’s becoming abundantly clear when you look at the loss of confidence in her as Prime Minister from the general public, and increasingly I think the loss of confidence in her from the parliamentary party, that we are going to get to the point where she really does have to consider her position and for the good of the country, step aside, and I think we will probably come to that place quite soon.’

Gloucester MP Richard Graham was among the Tories who voiced reservations about fracking policy ahead of a crunch vote today

The cost-of-living crisis is the stark backdrop for a crisis at Westminster as Liz Truss (pictured today) desperately battles to cling on after being forced to sack ally Kwasi Kwarteng and ditch the disastrous mini-Budget that triggered havoc on markets

Ms Truss went out for a run this morning as she prepared for another gruelling day in the House of Commons 

Mr Double told the BBC: ‘I really think she’s in the last chance saloon. She’s either got to step up and demonstrate to us that she is the right person for the job, that she’s got the qualities we need to lead our country through what are going to be incredibly challenging months ahead. 

‘And what her policies are, because she’s ditched virtually every policy that she said she stood for when she stood for the election.

‘And I think she’s got an incredibly short window now to do that.’

Pressed how long the PM could survive, he said: ‘I think days … by the end of next week we’ve got to be convinced. Every time I’m hoping for something she doesn’t come up with it.’

Given these comments were made on Wednesday, it is doubtful Mr Double’s doubts, along with those of other Tory MPs, have been eased. 

In his emergency statement on Monday, Mr Hunt warned of decisions of ‘eye-watering difficulty’ to plug the Government’s multibillion-pound financial black hole.

He is considering a year delay to the cap on how much people pay for care in old age, according to The Times.

Treasury sources did not deny the claim, pointing to the Chancellor’s words that ‘nothing is off the table’.

Although £32billion of the mini-Budget tax cuts have now been reversed, the OBR watchdog is said to have identified a £72billion black hole in the public finances – leaving another £40billin to be dealt with, depending on borrowing costs.  

A YouGov poll of Tory members published yesterday found that most want her to resign

Energy costs have been driving the surge in CPI inflation, but experts warn the pressure has been becoming embedded in the economy 

Many countries have been hit by the inflation shockwave from the war in Ukraine, although only Germany has a higher level than the UK currently 

On pensions, a prior admission from Downing Street that Ms Truss could ditch the key manifesto commitment to increase state pensions in line with inflation sparked a swift backlash. 

Tory backbencher Maria Caulfield said she ‘will not be voting to end the pensions triple lock’, with former minister Steve Double joining her in saying: ‘Nor me.’

Stephen Crabb, the former work and pensions secretary, told the Telegraph it is ‘not the time to consider abandoning the triple lock’ and that ‘maintaining the value of the state pension during the cost-of-living crisis is essential’.

However, the Prime Minister reiterated her pledge to boost defence spending after the armed forces minister publicly threatened to resign if it was broken.

Michael Gove is now said to be one of the heavyweights plotting Truss’ removal. 

Asked at a private event on Tuesday whether it was no longer a question of whether Ms Truss goes, but when, Mr Gove agreed that was ‘absolutely right’, the Guardian reported.

But Welsh Secretary Sir Robert Buckland warned colleagues considering removing Ms Truss to ‘be careful what you wish for’.

‘The more the Conservative Party change leaders, the stronger the case for a general election becomes,’ the Cabinet minister told BBC Newsnight.

‘I say to my colleagues, be careful what you wish for. An early election serves nobody any good, not least the Conservative Party and certainly not the country.’

A meeting between Mr Hunt, who is widely seen as effectively in control, and Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbenchers, likely fuelled further questions about the Prime Minister’s future.

Treasury sources said it was a briefing ahead of Mr Hunt’s 1922 appearance on Wednesday, but it is likely that Ms Truss’s imperilled premiership came up.

One of the factors keeping Ms Truss in office, despite being forced to abandon the economic platform that got her elected as party leader, is the lack of an obvious successor.

A 90-minute shouting match: Suella Braverman had ‘fiery’ meeting with Liz Truss before quitting as Home Secretary and plunging the knife in… as senior Tories hold urgent talks on how to remove Prime Minister from office  

By Jason Groves and Martin Beckford

Liz Truss’s premiership was in freefall last night.

In an astonishing few hours, she sacked Suella Braverman after a 90-minute ‘shouting match’ – and then saw her Chief Whip ‘resign’.

The ousted Home Secretary launched an outspoken attack on the PM, accusing her of breaking key pledges and wobbling over manifesto commitments such as reduced migration.

Chief Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker appeared to quit after Miss Truss reversed her plan to expel Tory MPs who voted against the Government on fracking.

No 10 was last night unable to say whether it still had a chief whip.


The Prime Minister allegedly sacked the Home Secretary after a 90 minute shouting match. A source said Mrs Braverman, pictured left, was furious at being asked to relax immigration rules in order to boost economic growth and satisfy the Office for Budget Responsibility that the Government’s economic plans added up 

MP Chris Bryant posted a scene of Tory division in the Westminster Lobby after 36 Tory MPs ignored the three-line whip on fracking, including former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng

Amid chaotic scenes in the Commons, Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey and Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg were accused of ‘manhandling’ MPs through the voting lobbies – a claim both ministers denied.

As Government discipline collapsed, Mr Whittaker was heard telling his colleagues: ‘I am f***ing furious and I don’t give a f*** any more.’

Tory MPs were seen shouting at an ashen-faced Miss Truss: ‘It’s a shambles.’

One Cabinet ally of the PM said it looked impossible for her to recover her authority, adding: ‘It feels like it’s over.’

Senior Tory MPs were urgently discussing strategies for ousting Miss Truss, although the precise timing and mechanism remain unclear – as does the question of who might succeed her.

Some MPs believe her authority is draining away so quickly that she will be forced to resign by the weekend, possibly as early as today.

Downing Street said Mrs Braverman, the shortest serving Home Secretary of modern times, had resigned after sending a confidential document to a Tory MP in breach of the ministerial code.

But multiple sources said her departure followed a ‘fiery’ 90-minute meeting between her and Miss Truss in No 10 the previous night at which the Home Secretary warned the PM it would be ‘insane’ to relax immigration rules in order to boost economic growth.

In an explosive resignation letter last night Mrs Braverman suggested that the PM should quit and savaged her record.

‘It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time,’ she wrote. ‘I have concerns about the direction of this Government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this Government’s commitment to honouring manifesto commitments, such as reducing overall migration numbers.’

Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey and Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, pictured, were accused of ‘manhandling’ MPs through the voting lobbies – a claim both ministers denied

As former Cabinet minister Grant Shapps, who openly plotted against Miss Truss, was made Home Secretary:

– The PM performed yet another U-turn by announcing that the pensions ‘triple lock’ would be protected;

– She insisted she would not resign, telling MPs: ‘I’m a fighter, not a quitter’;

– The Prime Minister also issued another grovelling apology, saying she was ‘sorry’ and had ‘made mistakes’;

– 36 Tory MPs ignored the three-line whip on fracking, including former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng;

– Labour called for an inquiry into alleged ‘bullying’ of Tory MPs during the vote;

– Party leader Sir Keir Starmer mocked the PM, asking her: ‘What’s the point of a Prime Minister whose promises don’t even last a week?’

– One of the PM’s closest aides was suspended over a No 10 briefing describing former chancellor Sajid Javid as a ‘s***’ minister;

– Tory MPs on the Right of the party warned of a Remainer takeover, with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly now the only Brexiteer in a top Cabinet job;

– Former Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries led a Tory revolt over cost-cutting plans to delay the social care cap.

Labour called for an inquiry into alleged ‘bullying’ of Tory MPs during the vote, with Therese Coffey accused of ‘manhandling’ other MPs during last night’s chaos

The departure of Mrs Braverman came just five days after Mr Kwarteng was sacked in the wake of the market turmoil triggered by last month’s emergency Budget.

A source said the email she sent from her phone about immigration policy was a ‘clear breach’ of the ministerial code’s requirement to respect confidentiality.

Mrs Braverman last night acknowledged the ‘mistake’ but said the policy was due to be announced ‘imminently’, and that much of it had already been briefed to MPs.

One Whitehall source said the ‘trivial’ episode appeared to be a pretext for removing a senior minister who had made no secret of her continuing leadership ambitions.

‘She’s obviously gone because of a bust-up,’ the source said. ‘She was always a flight risk, like Penny Mordaunt – she’s positioning herself for what’s to come.’ Two sources said the Home Secretary’s departure followed a meeting between the pair the previous evening over immigration policy.

One described the 90-minute encounter as a ‘shouting match’, saying raised voices could be heard outside.

Another said Mrs Braverman was furious at being asked to relax immigration rules in order to boost economic growth and satisfy the Office for Budget Responsibility that the Government’s economic plans added up.

A source said she told Miss Truss the idea was ‘insane, adding: ‘Are we just going to junk every manifesto commitment going?’

Mrs Braverman has also clashed with the PM over her plan to relax visa rules as part of a major trade deal with India. Downing Street is now braced for the possibility of a resignation speech in the Commons from Mrs Braverman later today.

Miss Truss is said to have initially planned to appoint Mr Javid as Home Secretary, a role he has filled before.

But the two were locked in stand-off because of the briefing row over which the aide has been suspended.

 

Labour MP Chris Bryant claims Jacob Rees-Mogg and Therese Coffey were among those who ‘physically manhandled’ wavering Tory MPs into ‘no’ voting lobbies during key fracking vote – as he demands deputy speaker launches investigation

By Elizabeth Haigh 

The Deputy Prime Minister and at least one other Cabinet member were personally involved in ‘manhandling’ Conservative MPs through the lobby to vote against Labour’s motion to ban fracking, Labour MP Chris Bryant has said. 

The vote turned into chaos after climate minister Graham Stuart caused confusion by telling the Commons as the debate ended: ‘Quite clearly this is not a confidence vote.’

This was in direct contradiction to earlier briefings, when Conservative whips initially stated the vote was being treated as a ‘confidence motion’ in Liz Truss’s embattled Government.

But when Conservative MP Ruth Edwards (Rushcliffe) asked to clarify if those Tories who abstain or vote against the motion will lose the party whip, Mr Stuart added: ‘That is a matter for party managers, and I am not a party manager.’

The Government defeated Labour’s bid to ban fracking amid farcical scenes in the House of Commons this evening.

Allegations of bullying were levelled against Government whips, with Labour former minister Chris Bryant saying some MPs had been ‘physically manhandled into another lobby and being bullied’.

He told Sky he had seen Conservative MP Alex Stafford being ‘manhandled’ through the lobby by a group of MPs which included Therese Coffey, Deputy Prime Minister, and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

But Mr Stafford later tweeted that ‘no-one pushes me around’ in a denial of Mr Bryant’s version of events. 

Labour MP Chris Bryant shared this photo on Twitter that he says shows Jacob Rees-Mogg and Therese Coffey walking Tory MP Alex Stafford through the lobby to vote against Labour’s motion on fracking

Chris Bryant speaks to the Deputy Speaker in the House of Commons, demanding an investigation into the goings-on within the lobby

Sources close to Deputy PM Therese Coffey have also denied that she was involved in any ‘manhandling’.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has also denied the claims, saying there was a ‘heated exchange’ but no bullying. 

He said: ‘There were discussions going on, and there was a discussion about the vote that was taking place, and this was what normally goes on outside the division lobby.’

‘I heard one person swear and use an expletive… a Conservative, when going into the division lobby, swear and say, sort of, ‘get on with it’, but he wasn’t saying it to an individual.

‘I didn’t see any bullying and I saw nobody being manhandled.’

Mr Rees-Mogg said there had been ‘confusion’ after a ‘junior official’ from No 10 had relayed a message to the Government front bench that it was no longer a confidence vote.

‘Nobody else was aware of that. Most members thought it was a vote of confidence,’ he said.

Mr Bryant told the Speaker in the moments after the vote result was announced: ‘I would urge you to launch an investigation into the scenes outside the lobby earlier. As you know members are supposed to be able to vote without fear or favour.

‘And the behaviour code which is agreed by the whole of the house says there will never be bullying or harassment of members.

‘I saw members being physically manhandled into another lobby and being bullied

‘If we want to stand up against bullying in this house of our staff, we have to stop bullying in this chamber.’

While Mr Bryant was speaking, several other Labour MPs sitting behind him could be heard alleging some of those forced through to vote by Conservatives were ‘crying’.

He added to Sky News: ‘In the area just as you go into the no lobby, which is where the Tory whips were gathered, the MPs were clearly uncertain whether they were allowed to vote with the Labour motion or against it because of what had been said in the chamber…

‘There was a group including several Cabinet members who were basically shouting at them and at least one member was physically pulled through the door into the voting lobby.

‘That is completely out of order in our system.

‘I have never ever seen a member physically manhandled through a division lobby.

‘Four members I think it was. I know Therese Coffey was in the group and Jacob Rees-Mogg was in the group, and there were others as well.

‘The group all moved forward with the one member, and that person was, to my mind, he will have to speak for himself, he was to my mind physically manhandled into the lobby.’

He named the MP in question as Alexander Stafford, but Mr Stafford has since said on Twitter that ‘no-one pushes me around’.

Liz Truss is on record as having not voted tonight – after whips were threatening to remove the whip from any MP who didn’t vote against the motion. 

He added he has photos of the scenes in the lobby which he will pass on to the Speaker and Deputy. 

Mr Bryant also said that before MPs allegedly resorted to manhandling, there was ‘very aggressive’ pointing.

He concluded: ‘I’ve been an MP for 21 years. I’ve never seen that.’ 

It was thought that both Chief Conservative Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker had quit their roles after the shambolic vote, after multiple sources said Ms Morton walked into the lobby area and said: ‘I’m no longer the Chief Whip’ before storming out, followed by Liz Truss.

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg was asked live on Sky News whether the Chief Whip remained in post, to which he said he did not know. 

After more than two hours, No10 confirmed shortly before 10pm on Thursday that both the Chief Whip and Deputy remain in post. 

One miserable Cabinet source told MailOnline: ‘At this rate I’m going to be PM by Christmas.

‘The writing was on the wall for Wendy since the day of her appointment.’

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said he was ‘not entirely clear what the situation is with chief whip’.

Meanwhile Chris Walker, a Conservative MP of 17 years, told the BBC: ‘This whole affair is inexcusable. It is a pitiful reflection on the Conservative Party.’

When asked whether there is a way back for the government, Mr Walker said: ‘I don’t think so.’

He added: ‘This is an absolute disgrace.

‘I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I am livid.

‘I hope all those people who put Liz Truss in No.10 I hope it was worth it. […] Because the damage they have done to our party is extraordinary.’

‘I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of talentless people putting their tick in the right box, not because it’s in the national interest, but because it’s in their personal interest.’ 

But former Culture Secretary described Mr Bryant’s comments as ‘nonsense’, despite dozens of tweets from MPs in the lobby at the time which appear to back up his claims. 

Earlier, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg sought to limit the rebellion by insisting communities will have a ‘veto’ on fracking in their area.

He said national government would be unable to overrule the objections from communities, with one option under consideration involving local referendums for areas where fracking is proposed.

Mr Rees-Mogg, in a message directed at Conservative MPs, told the Commons: ‘There’s an absolute local consent lock.

‘Any process to determine local consent must be run independently and this House will vote on any scheme that we bring forward.’

Labour’s motion was defeated by 230 votes to 326, majority 96, but the Commons heard there were ‘very strong rumours’ the Government chief whip Wendy Morton had resigned.

Liz Truss’s government was in the grip of a wider massive meltdown tonight after Suella Braverman quit as home secretary just hours before the Chief Whip left too.

In yet another day of madness in Westminster Ms Braverman was removed for breaching protocol by sending an email from her personal account to a contact revealing details of an announcement on immigration policy.

It is unclear whether she resigned herself or was asked to by the Prime Minister. 

But in another hammer blow for the PM’s chances of clinging on, she also complained that the government was breaking promises. She swiped that when people made ‘mistakes’ – something Ms Truss has admitted – the right thing to do was quit.

Ms Truss responded with a much briefer letter saying it is ‘important the Ministerial Code is upheld’ and quickly installed Grant Shapps – a Rishi Sunak supporter – as a replacement.

But the feeling of a rudderless government later deepened in the Commons. In another sign of evaporating Government control, 40 MPs refused to back the government in a vote over fracking.

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