Angela Rayner takes brutal swipe at Boris Johnson's record
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Dominic Cummings has claimed Tory MPs fear ousting Prime Minister Liz Truss because it could see Boris Johnson return to Downing Street. Ms Truss sparked financial chaos just three weeks into her premiership after Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled plans to fund tax cuts through borrowing, sending bond markets into turmoil and the value of the pound downwards against the dollar. Market response to the Prime Minister’s fiscal package, which was unveiled by Mr Kwarteng on Friday, saw the pound fall to a record low of $1.03 on Monday. The Sterling later recovered some of its losses.
Mr Kwarteng’s decision to announce the multi-billion pound package without forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility is understood to also have spooked the market.
The scale of the crisis in the markets has prompted unease among some members of the Tory party and led to questions over the PM’s future.
Mr Cummings, who was sacked in November 2020, tweeted: “Ironically, one of the things holding back MPs will be fear that another [leadership] contest may put [Mr Johnson] back in… which I guarantee [Mr Johnson] is thinking right now.”
His claim comes after a former minister in Mr Johnson’s Government told Sky News letters which could trigger a no confidence vote have already been sent to the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.
The unnamed MP told the broadcaster Ms Truss is “f*****”y, adding the Prime Minister and Treasury ministers were “playing A-Level economics wih people’s lives”.
The former minister said: “They are already putting letters in as [they] think she will crash the economy. The tax cuts don’t matter as [they are] all noise anyway – mainly reversing back to the status quo this year.”
They said the issue was that Government fiscal policy is opposite to the Bank of England’s monetary policy, adding: “What Kwasi gives, the Bank takes away… You cannot have monetary policy and fiscal policy at loggerheads.”
A leadership contest can be triggered if a current Tory leader resigns or 15 percent of Conservative MPs write to Sir Graham saying they no longer have confidence in the leader and the leader loses a vote, according to the House of Commons Library.
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If the leader wins the vote of no confidence, they stay in place and cannot be challenged again for another 12 months.
A source told the Mirror this also applies to new leaders for a year after they take office. MPs have threatened to rewrite the rules in the past.
However, detailed rules for votes of no confidence are a matter for the 1922 Committee and are not in the public domain, according to the House of Commons Library.
Mel Stride, Conservative chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, warned there is a lot of concern within the parliamentary party.
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The MP for Central Devon, who supported Ms Truss’s leadership rival Rishi Sunak, refused to speculate about Mr Kwarteng’s future at the top of the Treasury.
He told Sky News: “I don’t want to speculate on the future of the Chancellor other than to say that I think where the party should be at the moment is really uniting at a time of economic crisis. The last thing we want now is a political crisis to compound that, and I think really focus on this issue of growth.
“Every department needs to throw the kitchen sink at this and we need to be communicating to the markets that we are able to grow this economy, albeit that we’ve now got all sorts of head winds that we didn’t have before Friday. But that is really where, in a positive and constructive way, the parliamentary party needs to focus its energy in my opinion.”
He added now was not the time to flap around and wring one’s hands.
A Tory backbench source said it was depressing to see Mr Sunak’s predictions come true “in alarming fashion”.
The former Chancellor warned against Ms Truss’s plans to cut tax during the leadership race.
The source said: “For Rishi supporters, we love our party dearly and wanted to get behind Liz, as unlike Boris she actually appears to be a Conservative.
“However, you can’t govern on the back of a couple of think tank pamphlets.
“Governing is serious, grown-up business – it is somewhat depressing to see all the predictions Rishi’s campaign made come true in alarming fashion.
“Liz’s prospectus was either going to get lucky and work brilliantly, or be an unmitigated disaster that would lose us the election.”
However, a senior Tory MP told the Financial Times the right wing of the party was delighted by Mr Kwarteng’s plans.
They said: “They’re all feeling Thatcher is back.”
Sir John Redwood, who backed Ms Truss in the leadership race, told Sky News defended the Government’s tax cuts, saying recession posed a bigger threat to the UK than inflation.
Meanwhile, polling by YouGov and The Times shows most Britons are happy with the cut to the basic rate of income tax (60 percent) and the reversing of the recent National Insurance increase (59 percent). Half of those surveyed also approve of Mr Kwarteng’s changes to Stamp Duty bands (52 percent).
However, the large majority said they thought abolishing the top rate of tax (72 percent) was the wrong priority at the present time. The poll, carried out after Mr Kwarteng’s mini-Budget shows the Tories have taken a severe hit over the poor reception to his Growth Plan.
Figures show the Tories on 28 percent of the vote (down four percentage points from YouGov’s last survey between September 21-23) to Labour’s 45 percent, up five percentage points. It is the highest Labour lead YouGov has ever recorded.
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