Is time up for Liz Truss? Tory MPs losing faith in 'dire' leadership
Some of Liz Truss’ own MPs would vote against her in a confidence vote, a cabinet member has told ITV News’ Political Editor Robert Peston.
They would prefer a general election costing them their seats over the economic chaos, Peston reports, with Ms Truss' and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's governance "so dire."
Speaking at PMQs amid chaos in the financial markets earlier on Wednesday, Ms Truss said she would bring down debt "not by cutting public spending, but by spending public money well."
The cost of government borrowing increased on Wednesday while sterling fell against the euro and dollar in the latest signs of market turbulence – with many blaming the chaos on the government’s ‘mini-budget.’
In a bid to win over mutinous MPs, Ms Truss on Wednesday evening addressed the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, including some prominent critics of her strategy, ex-cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Grant Shapps.
She told them that small businesses would have faced “devastation” if the government had not acted to cap energy prices, aides said.
But it seems unlikely her appearance significantly calmed the mood.
MPs are describing the meeting in the same way many spoke of those from the final days of Theresa May’s or Boris Johnson’s premiership, ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reported.
'Tory MPs are stuck - they know they would look ridiculous to get rid of her now, but they think she’s bound to lose them the next election'
“Something will need to happen as we can’t go on like this for over two years,” one Tory MP told ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand.
“We’re either dead or a joke,” another told Brand, referring to the prospect of either keeping Ms Truss as PM or removing her just a month after the last leadership contest.
Former minister David Davis was one of those to speak out on Wednesday – though he said he believes Ms Truss is safe for a few months.
On ITV’s Peston show, he called the mini-budget a “maxi-shambles” and suggested reversing some of its tax cuts would allow Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng to “buy some time.”
He said: “Mel Stride, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said they’re going to have to back off and U-turn on some of those tax cuts.
“If they do that I think people like Mel Stride and others will come in behind them and they buy some time.”
Mr Davis also said that “nothing’s going to happen in the next few months” in terms of Tory MPs moving to replace the prime minister.
“As it stands after that mini-budget, which was a maxi-shambles mini-budget… many of them thought ‘we’ve got at best a one-in-five chance of winning the next election but if we have a civil war right now, we have zero chance of winning that election’.”
'She is incredibly vulnerable... confidence in her has utterly collapsed'
In another sign of pressure building on the government, Damian Green, a former deputy prime minister, said Tory MPs are openly discussing reversing some of the mini-budget measures.
“It is indeed a topic of conversation around the tea rooms of the House of Commons as well,” he told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.
“Because we can all do the rough maths and see that it’s very difficult.
“One of the obvious ways would be possibly to defer some of the tax cuts or the failure to put taxes up.”
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