'Rolling the pitch': Conservatives complain of not being consulted by Liz Truss on key policies

Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss pictured together at the Tory party conference.
Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss have endured a difficult first few weeks as chancellor and prime minister respectively. Credit: PA

Everywhere I go at Tory party conference, I hear one phrase - from Cabinet ministers, junior ministers and MPs - apparently, it is all about “rolling the pitch”.

That is their critique of why things have gone so wrong for Liz Truss in the first few weeks of her premiership.

One said that they thought of what a maths teacher used to tell them - that you don’t just write down the solution - you show your workings.

Repeatedly MPs are saying that she and her Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, jumped to the answer without the explanation and persuasion.

One Cabinet minister pointed back to Dominic Cummings - talking about the extent he went to in order to test policy with focus groups.

They said the problem with the 45p rate was that they didn’t talk to anyone, not even the Cabinet, never mind MPs and the wider public.

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The same was true - they added - of fracking. And on that there is also a big rebellion brewing. One MP messaged: “No way fracking happening either now, if they thought the 45p rate was unpopular.” A Cabinet minister agreed. It won’t happen they said.

And the same is true of cutting benefits. There is a feeling that no one has been consulted or checked with - and that is why cabinet ministers appear to be freelancing.

Which is why so much of conference feels messy right now - without the level of control a new prime minister ought to be able to ensure.