Liz Truss’s prime ministership hangs in the balance after an extraordinary day at Westminster that saw the resignation of a cabinet minister and a Commons motion thrown into chaos by allegations of “inhumanity and violence”.
The unprecedented events led some Tory MPs to declare the Conservative party “finished”, with one hitting out at the “talentless people” who supported Mrs Truss “to sit around the cabinet table”.
The Prime Minister looks after the barrel now former Interior Secretary Suella Braverman has resigned regarding sending an official document from a personal e-mail – and took aim at the prime minister in the speech.
“I made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign,” he said in a barely coded dig at Ms Truss, whose disastrous mini-budget has led to financial turmoil.
Ms Braverman, a popular figure on the Tory right, voiced her “dismay at the direction of this government”, accusing it of breaking manifesto promises, adding: “It is clear to everyone that we are going through a very difficult time.”
The resignation of Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng last Friday and the departure of the Prime Minister after new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt on Monday axed most of the government’s economic policies have further threatened the embattled Prime Minister’s rule.
‘Something’s Gotta Give’
Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, joined calls for Ms Truss to resign, saying there was “no shred of a mandate” for what she had done.
“As Suella Braverman made clear this afternoon, the government is delivering neither the program originally championed by Liz Truss nor the 2019 manifesto,” he said in the Telegraph.
“There’s no shred of a mandate for it. It’s only happening because the Truss Government messed things up worse than anyone could have imagined and allowed a hostile takeover by their rivals. Something has to give.”
With Liz Truss no longer in charge, what’s unclear is who – if anyone – is
Ms Truss’s authority suffered another blow on Wednesday amid claims Conservative MPs were “coerced and manipulated” into voting with the government to oppose the fracking ban, contrary to what was said in the party’s 2019 manifesto.
Several deputies depicting scenes of chaos in the voting lobby, Labour’s Jess Philips described a “massive brawl” and others said they saw Tory whips “screaming” and MPs “crying”.
Despite earlier issuing a “100% tough” three-line whip, Conservative deputy leader Craig Whittaker was fired up after climate minister Graham Stuart told the Commons minutes before Labor’s move that it was “absolutely clear that this is not a vote of confidence”. any Tory MP who rebelled could be expelled from the parliamentary party.
Following widespread reports, chief whip Wendy Morton quit her government post as Mr Whittaker walked out the door as MPs filed papers through voting lobbies.
After hours of confusion over whether they should go to Downing Street, both said they were “remaining in office”.
Cabinet ministers Therese Coffey and Jacob Rees-Mogg were among a group of senior Tories accused of pressuring colleagues to join the “no” lobby, with former Labor minister Chris Bryant telling Sky News that some MPs were “physically exposed to another lobby and said that they were subjected to violence, “insulted”.
Mr Rees-Mogg, the business secretary, insisted he had seen no evidence that anyone had been taken over, while a source close to the health secretary and deputy prime minister, Ms Coffey, said he was “not managing anyone”.
But Sir Charles Walker, a senior Tory MP, said what happened was “inexcusable” and “a sad reflection on the Conservative Parliamentary Party”.
“There is no turning back for the Conservative Party”
Asked if there was a way back for the Tories, he said: “I don’t think so … but I’ve been thinking that for two weeks now.”
Visibly shaken and emotional, he hit out at those in his party who voted for the new prime minister:
“All the people who put Liz Truss at number 10, I hope it was worth it.
“I hope the ministers’ red box was worth it, I hope it was worth sitting around the cabinet table.
Because the damage they caused to our party was extraordinary.”
Speaking to the BBC, he added: “I’ve had enough of untalented people putting their ticks in the right box, not because it’s not in the national interest, but because it’s in their personal interest to get a ministerial position.
“I know I speak for hundreds of backbenchers who have always worried about their constituents but are now worried about their own personal situation because there’s no such thing as an ex-MP.”
“We are all Charles Walker”
Conservative MP Maria Caulfield responded: “We’re all Charles Walker tonight.”
Former minister Johnny Mercer said Mr Walker was “staring” along with the offending remark.
The Prime Minister is likely to face another day of misery on Thursday, when Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer accuses her of “insulting” British workers and vows to scrap any new Conservative legislation restricting her government’s right to strike.
Emboldened by the huge rise in the polls, he will tell the TUC conference: “We will meet their attacks with hope, provide the leadership this country so desperately needs and build a Britain where working people can succeed again, where working people are supported. People who really create economic growth.”
“It’s a Labor choice.”
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