Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle calls for investigation into alleged intimidation during fracking vote
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has called for an investigation into allegations made about incidents in the Commons on Wednesday night.In extraordinary scenes at Westminster on Thursday, Cabinet ministers Therese Coffey and Jacob Rees-Mogg were among a group of senior Tories accused of pressuring colleagues to go into the “no” lobby.
It ended a chaotic day at Westminster that left Liz Truss battling open revolt as number of Tory MPs demanding she goes rising. Ms Truss was meeting with the chair of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservatives Sir Graham Brady on Thursday.
ITV News political editor Robert Peston understands the prime minister called the meeting with Sir Graham.
Ms Truss acknowledges a "difficult day" in her premiership on Wednesday but wants to push on as Prime Minister, Downing Street said.
Yvette Cooper described Tory MPs as “fighting like rats in a sack” at Wednesday night’s vote during an urgent question in the Commons this morning.
Former Labour former minister Chris Bryant claimed some MPs had been “physically manhandled into another lobby and being bullied” during a vote on fracking.
In the wake of claims from MPs, Sir Lindsay said he had asked the Serjeant at Arms and other officials to investigate allegations of intimidation in the division lobby.
In a statement to MPs, the Speaker said: “I remind Members that the behaviour code applies to them as well as to other members of our parliamentary community.”
Mr Bryant said he has never seen scenes like the ones that unfolded ahead of the vote, and said he has had “utterly desperate” Tory MPs “crying on my shoulder”.
“Honestly, this was the most extraordinary scene that I’ve seen in my time, and anyway, even if it has happened in the past, that is not how we should do our business – we are not the Italian parliament – and all of this is happening because there is complete chaos in government. There isn’t a government," he told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Business Secretary Mr Rees-Mogg insisted he had seen no evidence of anyone being manhandled, but senior Tory MP Sir Charles Walker said what took place was “inexcusable” and “a pitiful reflection on the Conservative Parliamentary Party”.
Today Sir Keir Starmer accused Ms Truss of being "completely out of touch" with the UK's economic reality, in a speech to the TUC conference.
"She doesn't care about the distribution of wealth in Britain, she hasn't U-turned on that," as he repeated Labour's call for a general election. The pound slid lower on Thursday morning as shaken City traders digested the growing political turmoil.
Sterling declined by 0.27% to 1.119 against the US dollar – its lowest reading this week – as it lost the gains it briefly made earlier.
Meanwhile, yields on UK Government bonds (gilts) moved marginally higher, reflecting an increase in the cost of state borrowing.
The yield on UK 10-year bonds was up 0.018 percentage points at 3.89%.
Cabinet minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan tells Libby Wiener said alleged disruptive behaviour during Wednesday's fracking vote was "never acceptable"
Before the chaotic Westminster vote, former Home Secretary Suella Braverman lashed out at Ms Truss’s “tumultuous” premiership as she quit and accused the government of “breaking key pledges”.
Labour were granted an urgent question on Thursday morning to the new home secretary Grant Shapps on the departure of Ms Braverman but sent Brendan Clarke-Smith in his place
Shadow home secretary Ms Cooper said: “I notice there’s no Home Secretary this morning unless the member for Bassetlaw (Brendan Clarke-Smith) has been appointed home secretary in the last few hours? Which to be honest, nothing would surprise us at the moment because this is total chaos."
She continued: “We’ve got the third home secretary in seven weeks. The Cabinet was only appointed six weeks ago. The home secretary has been sacked, the chancellor sacked, the chief whip sacked and then unsacked and the unedifying scenes of Conservative MPs last night fighting like rats in a sack. This is a disgrace.”
"Are you confident Liz Truss will still be in post on Monday?" Cabinet minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan tells Libby Wiener she is
Responding to the question, Mr Clarke-Smith suggested the former home secretary no longer held the confidence of Ms Truss.
“The Prime Minister has made clear the importance of maintaining high standards in public life and our expectation that ministers should uphold these standards as set out in the ministerial code," he told the Commons.
He continued: “All ministers are personally responsible for deciding how to act and conduct themselves in light of the code and for justifying their actions and conduct to Parliament and the public.
“However, ministers only remain in office so long as they retain the confidence of the Prime Minister.
“She is the ultimate judge of the standards of behaviour expected of a minister and the appropriate consequences of a breach of those standards.”
UK Editor Paul Brand said he understood One Nation Conservative MPs were meeting on Thursday to try and coalesce around a single candidate to replace Liz Truss.
"Conversations ongoing and no agreement yet. But active moves afoot to decide upon one single successor," he wrote.
Ms Braverman's exit, coming just five days after Kwasi Kwarteng’s sacking as chancellor, means the PM has lost two people from the four great offices of state within her first six weeks in office, with all eyes on whether other Cabinet ministers could follow suit.
The exodus appeared to continue on Wednesday, with speculation that Chief Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker walked out after a last-minute U-turn on a threat to strip the whip from Conservative MPs if they backed a Labour challenge over fracking.
Overnight, ITV News political editor Robert Peston received an update from Downing St saying last night’s fracking vote was always a confidence vote, that Number 10 made a mistake in telling the minister at the despatch box it wasn’t, and that Tory MPs who deliberately abstained will face disciplinary measures.
But speaking on Thursday morning, Anne Marie-Trevelyan appeared to contradict last night's message from Number 10, saying the vote on fracking was not a confidence motion, claiming it was an "opposition day debate" claiming Labour were trying to "hijack the order paper".
There was speculation on Thursday morning the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, has already received more than 54 letters calling for a no-confidence vote in the prime minister, the threshold for triggering one if Ms Truss was not in the 12 months’ grace period for new leaders.
Several MPs had publicly called for Ms Truss's resignation, among them veteran Tory Sir Gary Streeter who wrote on Twitter: “Sadly, it seems we must change leader BUT even if the angel Gabriel now takes over, the Parliamentary Party has to urgently rediscover discipline, mutual respect and teamwork if we are to (i) govern the UK well and (ii) avoid slaughter at the next election.”
"It's not a talent show" - Asked whether Liz Truss was "the best that you have," Tory Party MP Danny Kruger tells Good Morning Britain it was "a difficult question"
Sheryll Murray, Henry Smith and Steve Double added their names to the growing list on Thursday morning.
Miriam Cates also called on the prime minister to quit, warning her position seems “untenable” while Hendon MP Matthew Offord said Ms Truss needed to agree on a "dignified exit" from Downing Street.The Committee is expected to meet later to discuss the leadership crisis.
One MP told ITV News Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana: “I would be very surprised if she’s still in place or at least hasn’t announced her resignation by end of the day.”
A member of 1922 executive told Home Editor Paul Brand, “odds are against” Ms Truss surviving the day as prime minister with Lord David Frost the latest MP to call for the Prime Minister to quit.
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