UK

Tory MPs express alarm as Truss drops pensions triple lock commitment – live

Moment Liz Truss appears in Commons after mystery absence

Arch-Liz Truss critic Michael Gove said it is a matter of when, not if the prime minister leaves office, warning the public to expect “a hell of a lot of pain in the next two months”.

The former levelling up secretary said “we are going through hell” and need “tough economic medicine” to reduce inflation and recover the economy from the damage of Ms Truss’s mini-budget.

Asked whether it was “no longer a question of whether Liz Truss goes, but when she goes,” Mr Gove agreed that was “absolutely right”.

He added: “The question for any leader is what happens when the programme or the platform on which you secured the leadership has been shredded.”

Earlier, Downing Street revealed that Ms Truss was no longer committed to increasing state pensions in line with inflation as her new chancellor seeks to cut government spending in a departure from the prime minister’s failed growth strategy.

A spokesperson indicated ministers could abandon the longstanding triple lock, which binds the government to increase pensions by whichever is highest – 2.5 per cent, wages or inflation.

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Video: What do Liz Truss’s constituents think of premiership?

People in Liz Truss’s constituency of South West Norfolk have given damning reviews of their MP’s time as prime minister so far.

After just six weeks in office, Ms Truss’s premiership has been turbulent, with the mini-Budget sending the pound tumbling and a number of Conservative MPs publicly calling for her resignation.

Gordon McInnes, 69, said Ms Truss had “lost the plot.”

“We’re going to suffer for some of the stupid U-turns that have been put upon us now,” the retired school careers adviser said.

‘Lost the plot’: Liz Truss’s constituents give damning verdict on premiership so far

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Election Now: The Independent launches petition calling for a general election

The Independent has launched a petition calling for a general election to be held in the UK following the turmoil caused by recent political events.

Liz Truss had no mandate for her abrupt change of direction when she became prime minister – except from 81,000 Conservative Party members, a tiny and unrepresentative section of the population. Nor does she have any authority for her U-turns, changing the government’s fundamental stance on taxes and public spending twice in a matter of weeks.

The response of many Conservative MPs, even of many who supported her, is to devise ways in which a third prime minister could take office since the last election, without reference either to Conservative members or to the general electorate. This would be to stretch the democratic process too far.

Follow this link to sign the petition.

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Poll suggests Tory members have lost faith in Truss

Liz Truss has survived a meeting of the cabinet without any ministers calling for her to quit, but Tory members and voters appear to be turning on her.

A snap poll of party members released yesterday saw more than half respond that she should resign and 83 per cent say she was doing a bad job.

Downing Street insisted the cabinet fully supported the prime minister and stressed that Ms Truss was focused on the challenges facing the country rather than party infighting.

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Truss set to face PMQs after economic U-turns

Liz Truss faces a humiliating clash with Sir Keir Starmer today, having been forced to junk her entire economic strategy and with her leadership in peril.

She will square off against the Labour leader in Prime Minister’s Questions for the first time since her new chancellor Jeremy Hunt ripped up her plan for tax cuts and increased public borrowing in a bid to reassure markets in the wake of the mini-Budget turmoil.

It could come amid more gloomy economic news, with economists predicting that Office for National Statistics data will reveal inflation returned to double-figures in September.

The prime minister faces disquiet from Tory MPs over plans for public spending cuts across all departments, after Mr Hunt warned of decisions of “eye-watering difficulty” to plug the government’s multibillion-pound financial black hole.

An 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.

Her official spokesperson said she is “not making any commitments on individual policy areas” ahead of the chancellor’s fiscal plan on 31 October.

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Graham Brady: Who is chair of influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers?

Whenever a Tory leader lets slip their control of the party, a certain figure emerges from the darkest reaches of Westminster with a renewed purpose.

Sir Graham Brady does not come to save his ailing colleague. His return to prominence in fact suggests their time is short.

In Sir Graham, the highest representative of party backbenchers, Conservative MPs have a means of calling for their leader to be chucked out.

Letters demanding a vote of confidence are handed to the head of the 1922 Committee in private – though some MPs will tell the world of their submissions – and if he receives them from 15 per cent of the parliamentary party, Sir Graham will tell the Tory leader it is time for their fate to be decided by their MPs.

A look at the background of this unique figure in British politics:

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Liz Truss turns to former Johnson adviser as she fights to shore up tottering premiership

Liz Truss has recruited a key member of Boris Johnson’s inner circle in a bid to shore up her tottering premiership following the collapse of her flagship economic policies.

Addressing MPs on the Brexiteer right of the Conservative Party on Tuesday evening, Ms Truss was accompanied by the former PM’s deputy chief of staff, combative election strategist David Canzini, who aides confirmed had started working with her earlier that day.

The meeting with the European Research Group – at which Ms Truss said it had been “painful” to give up the tax-cutting policies that had been included in Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget – came on the eve of Wednesday’s crucial session of Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, at which Ms Truss hopes to shake off the impression that she is a passenger in a government now led by chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

But one Tory MP told The Independent that no amount of improvement on her previously wooden PMQs performances can save her now.

“It’s irrecoverable,” said the backbencher. “She’s toast; it’s just a matter of when the toaster pops. No-one expects her to be great at PMQs; if she’s good it might buy her a bit of time, but if she has a really bad time, that could be the end of her. If I was Keir Starmer, I’d go easy on her.”

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Welsh secretary warns against ousting Truss

Welsh Secretary Sir Robert Buckland warned Tory MPs considering ousting Liz Truss as prime minister to “be careful what you wish for”.

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

“Now the Labour Party want the Conservatives to chop and change another leader because they think that their best opportunity is an early election.

“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.”

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Britain is going backwards with these people in charge | Comment

Alastair Campbell joins The Independent’s call for an election.

He writes: Four prime ministers in six years. Four chancellors of the Exchequer in as many months. Even Greece, mid-meltdown, couldn’t get close to that.

The people who gave us this disaster are not the people to get us out of it. The idea that they should be able to install a fifth prime minister without reference to the general public is a democratic obscenity.

Read more from Alastair Campbell here:

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Jacob Rees-Mogg facing legal challenge over fracking plans | Exclusive

Jacob Rees-Mogg is facing legal action over his decision to lift the moratorium on fracking in England (Andrew Woodcock writes).

Environmental and community groups have sent a legal letter, seen by The Independent, to notify the business secretary of their intention to seek judicial review of his decision, on the grounds that it was “unlawful” to reverse the 2019 ban on the controversial gas extraction method without fresh scientific evidence to prove it is safe.

The move by Friends of the Earth, Talk Fracking and Preston New Road Action Group comes as MPs vote on a Labour bid to ban fracking “once and for all” through a parliamentary vote.

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Former DWP secretary warns over pension threat

A former work and pensions secretary has added his voice to growing Tory opposition against Liz Truss’s potential ditching of her commitment to increase state pensions in line with inflation.

Stephen Crabb told The Telegraph: “This is not the time to consider abandoning the triple lock, especially after such clear promises were made following the last temporary pause.

“Maintaining the value of the state pension during the cost-of-living crisis is essential.”

Downing Street today indicated that ministers may drop the triple-lock on state pensions, which binds the government to raise payments in line with the highest of 2.5 per cent, inflation or wages.

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