Truss QUITS: PM admits she cannot carry on after crisis talks

Truss QUITS: PM admits she cannot carry on after crisis talks

October 20, 2022

Truss QUITS after just 44 days in No10: PM admits she cannot carry on after crisis talks with Tory chiefs over flood of no-confidence letters from angry MPs – with a replacement to be chosen in a WEEK and Jeremy Hunt ruling himself out

  • Liz Truss has dramatically resigned as PM after a flood of no-confidence calls from Conservative MPs 
  • Just 44 days after taking the keys to No10 Ms Truss declared that a replacement will be chosen within a week 
  • Mini-Budget fallout caused chaos and the situation has spiralled out of control over the past few days  
  • Utter chaos was seen in the House of Commons division lobbies last night as Tories rowed over crunch vote 
  • Suella Braverman quit as Home Secretary admitting protocol breach by sending email on immigration policy 
  • Ms Truss has told the Commons yesterday: ‘I am a fighter not a quitter’ as she faced Starmer in a fierce PMQs

Liz Truss dramatically quit today, admitting defeat following crisis talks with Tory chiefs in Downing Street and with MPs in open insurrection. 

After just 44 days in No10, the PM took to a lectern outside the famous black door to confirm her departure, sealing her fate as the shortest-serving premier in modern political history.

Revealing she had informed the King of her decision, she said: ‘I cannot deliver on the mandate…. I will remain as PM until a successor has been chosen.’ 

Ms Truss – who insisted she was a ‘fighter not a quitter’ barely 24 hours ago – said the Tory leadership contest will be completed over the next week. Giving her valedictory statement, she was watched by husband Hugh. 

Attention immediately turns to the leadership battle – with Jeremy Hunt ruling himself out within minutes. Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Suella Braverman are thought likely to run –  while Boris Johnson, currently on holiday in the Caribbean, could bid for a shock return. 

The bombshelll news follows a week of carnage that saw a bewildering array of U-turns on the mini-Budget, the Chancellor and Home Secretary quit, confusion over whether the Chief Whip had followed her out of the door, and MPs wrestling in Commons voting lobbies.

Ms Truss held crisis talks with 1922 chair Graham Brady, deputy PM Therese Coffey and Tory chair Jake Berry in the building earlier, as they delivered grim message about the mood of the party.  

The Tory MPs publicly calling for Truss to go 

Here are the Tories openly calling for the PM to quit – although many more have made their views clear privately.

1) Crispin Blunt

2) Andrew Bridgen

3) Jamie Wallis

4) Angela Richardson

5) Charles Walker

6) Will Wragg

7) Gary Streeter

8) Steve Double

9) Sheryll Murray

10) Henry Smith

11) Miriam Cates 

12) Matthew Offord 

13) Jill Mortimer 

14) Ruth Edwards 

A series of previously-loyal MPs joined calls for her to go this morning. Even supportive Cabinet ministers had been conceding the situation is ‘terminal’.

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan was sent out to prop up the PM this morning, but would only say that ‘at the moment’ she believes Ms Truss will lead the Tories into the next election. 

The main obstacle to removing Ms Truss over recent days was the lack of consensus on who should take over and what the process should be, with little appetite for a drawn-out contest. 

Nadine Dorries has warned the only person who would be acceptable in a ‘coronation’ is Mr Johnson. 

One idea being pushed by influential Tories is that MPs vote on a successor, but there is a very high threshold of nominations to get on the ballot. 

The 1922 committee could ask candidates to agree that they will step aside if they are not in pole position when the field is whittled down to a final two. That would avoid the need for a run-off vote of the entire party membership.

A source said of the blueprint: ‘That has been put to someone very senior in the party, very, very senior.’   

Events accelerated after another bout of madness at Westminster yesterday culminated in stories of tears and tantrums in Parliament, with Ms Truss allegedly engaging in a shouting match with her own enforcers.

Deputy PM Therese Coffey was accused of ‘manhandling’ Tory MPs to vote against a Labour motion that could have killed the government’s plans to resume fracking – something she denies.

The premier tried to force the issue by declaring that it was a matter of confidence, meaning a defeat the would have collapsed the government. But at the end of the debate a minister declared that it was not in fact a confidence vote – triggering fury from Chief Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker. 

Other whips told MPs they had resigned, but after three hours of silence and frantic wrangling behind the scenes Downing Street announced they were still in post. A 1.33am statement then made clear that it had been a confidence vote, warning that around 30 MPs who abstained will be disciplined. 

However, in another twist this morning, Ms Trevelyan said that it had not been a confidence vote. 

The PM lost her second Cabinet heavyweight in five days after Suella Braverman resigned as Home Secretary, admitting using of her personal email to campaign against the government’s own immigration policy – but also hit out at Ms Truss for ditching key policies, suggesting she should also quit for ‘mistakes’.  

The PM appointed Grants Shapps, a Rishi Sunak supporter who as late as Monday was telling media that her government was unsustainable.

As Ms Truss time in power came shuddering to an ignominious end: 

  • Keir Starmer has twisted the knife demanding an immediate general election in a speech to the TUC conference in Brighton; 
  • Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has launched an investigation into the claims of bullying during the votes last night; 
  • The Pound has dropped to $1.119 against the US dollar, its lowest level for a week, as markets digest the political turmoil. 

After just 44 days in No10 – the shortest term in modern political history – the PM took to a lectern outside the famous black door to confirm her departure

Chair of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady is in Downing Street speaking to the PM today

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was seen deep in conversation on his phone in Whitehall today

Deputy PM Therese Coffey and Tory chair Jake Berry have also gone into the building, fuelling speculation that the crisis could be about to peak

Chief Whip Wendy Morton and Tory chair Jake Berry were seen going in and out of Downing Street today, although that in itself is not unusual

Nadine Dorries warned the only person who could return in a ‘coronation’ is Boris Johnson. Other MPs want Rishi Sunak or Penny Mordaunt to take over

The barely believable scenes in the division lobbies – captured on camera by Labour MP Chris Bryant in defiance of Commons rules – were the latest evidence of the wheels falling off Liz Truss’s administration

‘What a c**t’: Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy is recorded insulting Tory minister Steve Baker off-camera 

A Channel 4 News anchor has issued a grovelling apology after he was filmed referring to Tory minister Steve Baker as a ‘c**t’.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy conducted a ‘robust’ interview with the Minister for Northern Ireland on Wednesday about Suella Braverman’s decision to step down as Home Secretary.

After the interview took place, the live feed switched to Prime Minister Liz Truss’s home. Guru-Murthy believed he was no longer on air, but his comments were picked up by other livestream broadcasts nearby.

In footage which has now been widely circulated on social media, the Channel 4 News anchor said: ‘It wasn’t a stupid question, Steve, you know it. I’m very happy to go up against you on [PM Liz] Truss any day. ‘What a c**t.’

The audio has since sparked widespread social media frenzy and Mr Baker told Times Radio it was an ‘unfortunate’ mishap.

‘If it’s in breach of his code of conduct I hope they sack him,’ he said.

Earlier this evening, Guru-Murthy issued an unreserved apology over the blunder.

‘After a robust interview with Steve Baker MP I used a very offensive word in an unguarded moment off air,’ he said.

‘While it was not broadcast that word in any context is beneath the standards I set myself and I apologise unreservedly. I have reached out to Steve Baker to say sorry.’

Mr Baker responded to the tweet with a message that read: ‘I appreciate you apologising. Thank you.’

Tory backbencher Gary Streeter said he believes that Ms Truss must go, but warned that even the ‘Angel Gabriel’ will struggle to lead the party because it lacks ‘discipline, mutual respect and teamwork’. 

Fellow Conservative Sheryl Murray said: ‘I had high hopes for Liz Truss but after what happened last night her position has become untenable and I have submitted a letter to Sir Graham Brady.’

Hendon MP Matthew Offord told the Evening Standard said Ms Truss needs to make a ‘dignified exit’. ‘I can’t see the situation being sustainable. She does need to sit down and discuss it with her Cabinet and with others to manage some kind of dignified exit.’ 

Crawley MP Henry Smith told Times Radio that the Conservatives ‘cannot delay’ getting rid of the premier.

Tory Jill Mortimer, who shocked Labour by winning the Hartlepool by-election just last year, shared an image of her letter of no confidence on Facebook.

She added: ‘Yesterday, I tried to get called in PMQs to ask Liz Truss for an assurance of support for our town and our promises.

‘Sadly I was not called and the deteriorating situation throughout the day left me with no choice but to submit a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister to Sir Graham Brady.’

Senior MP Simon Hoare told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’m a glass half full sort of person. Can the ship be turned around? Yes. But I think there’s about 12 hours to do it.

‘I think today and tomorrow are crunch days. I have never known – OK, I’ve only been an MP for seven years – but a growing sense of pessimism in all wings of the Tory party.’

In a rant during an interview that was retweeted by colleagues, veteran Conservative MP Charles Walker said: ‘I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I think it is utterly appalling. I am livid.’

Last night Conservative MPs were confident that between 50 and 100 letters of no confidence had been submitted to Sir Graham, despite current rules stating the committee cannot hold a vote of confidence in Liz Truss for a year after her appointment. 

And in another hit for the PM, Tory MP William Wragg confirmed within the House of Commons that he was one of those who has submitted a letter. There are now at least 14 Tory MPs on the record who have said Ms Truss can’t continue.

Recent polling shows Ms Truss has lower approval ratings than both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn at any time during their time as leader of their parties. 

After the government declared yesterday morning that the vote on banning fracking was an issue of confidence and all Conservative MPs had to vote against the motion, raucous scenes ensued after Climate Minister Graham Stuart at the last minute told the Commons it was not a confidence motion after all.

Deputy chief whip Craig Whittaker had written to Conservatives telling them it is a ‘100 per cent hard 3 line whip!’

‘We cannot, under any circumstances, let the Labour Party take control of the order paper and put through their own legislation and whatever other bits of legislation they desire,’ he said.

‘We are voting NO and I reiterate, this is a hard 3 line whip with all slips withdrawn.’

The last-minute withdrawal of this caused Chief Whip Wendy Morton to storm out of the Chamber, before reportedly publicly declaring ‘I am no longer the Chief Whip’ while standing just a metre away from the PM.

While Tory MPs were originally telling reporters that both the Chief Whip and her Deputy, Craig Whittaker, had quit their roles and handed in resignation letters, confusion soon intensified after it was reported Liz Truss followed Ms Morton and pulled her into an intense meeting to prevent her quitting.  

Mr Whittaker reportedly declared as he walked out of the division lobby: ‘I am f***ing furious and I don’t give a f*** any more.’

For several hours, no-one from the government could confirm or deny the claims that both the top whips had resigned. When pressed on issue, Business Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said he was ‘not clear’ what the ‘situation’ with the whips was. 

By 9pm, Ms Coffey was telling reporters outside the Carlton Club – where with exquisite timing the entire Cabinet was due to attend a dinner for the centenary of the agreement that sunk Lloyd George’s government – that Ms Morton had won a ‘great victory’ by defeating the Labour motion. 

No10 confirmed at 9.49pm that the pair were indeed remaining in post. 

The Carlton Club bash was originally due to be black tie, but was downgraded to avoid pix of the Cabinet looking too decadent on day huge inflation figures were unveiled. 

‘If only that was our biggest problem,’ said one source. 

There were extraordinary scenes within Westminster as Tory MPs were left in chaos after the apparent u-turn on the ‘confidence’ vote, leaving them unsure whether they could now abstain or vote against without losing the whip. 

Multiple MPs claim they witnessed shouting and screaming amongst Conservative MPs and senior ministers, while the senior members of the whip’s office were nowhere to be seen. 

The barely believable scenes in the division lobbies – captured on camera by Labour MP Chris Bryant in defiance of Commons rules – were the latest evidence of the wheels falling off Ms Truss’s administration.

Labour had tabled a motion trying to ban fresh drilling and Tory whips told backbenchers it was a ‘confidence motion’ that could in theory bring down Ms Truss. They threatened to kick rebels out the party if they did not vote with the Government.

No Tories voted against the government but 40 abstained – including Kwasi Kwarteng, who was chancellor until last week. Commons records show Ms Truss abstained, although there are now claims that is a mistake and she did vote with the government.

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘Late in the day, a junior official at 10 Downing Street sent a message through to the front bench that it was not a vote of confidence and nobody else was aware of that.

‘The whips were not aware of that, I was not aware of that and most members thought that it was a vote of confidence. It was simply one of those unfortunate miscommunications that occasionally happens.

Labour MPs reported screaming and shouting and Tory MPs being dragged in to vote with the Government. 

Speaking in the chamber afterwards, former minister Chris Bryant said: ‘I would urge you to launch an investigation into the scenes outside the entrance to the no lobby earlier. 

Suella Braverman returned home from the school run this morning after quitting as Home Secretary yesterday amid claims she had a 90-minute row with the PM over immigration first

‘As you know, members are expected to be able to vote without fear or favour and the behaviour code which is agreed by the whole of the House says there shall never be bullying or harassment.

‘I saw members being physically manhandled into another lobby and being bullied. If we want to stand up against bullying in this House of our staff, we have to stop bullying in this chamber as well.’

Later on Sky he directly accused Deputy PM Therese Coffey and Mr Rees-Mogg of manhandling MP Alex Stafford into the voting lobby, though he described it as a ‘heated exchange’.

But Mr Stafford later commented on Twitter that ‘no-one pushes me around’ in a denial of Labour’s version of events.

Nevertheless, dozens of opposition MPs shared their own eyewitness accounts on social media during and shortly after the voting period which appeared to back up the allegations, including government whips ‘screaming’, Therese Coffey ‘practically picking up’ another MP to walk them through the ‘No’ lobby, and multiple MPs in tears.

Shadow minister Anna McMorrin wrote on Twitter that she witnessed an MP ‘in tears’ in the lobby. 

A Tory MP who witnessed the height of the chaos said: ‘I was waiting for the votes and then Craig Whittaker came out crying and saying he’s sick of everything. Then Wendy came out stony faced. The other whips say they have quit. It was absolute carnage.’ 

Ms Truss eventually won the vote by 326 to 230 but among the chaos Chief Whip Wendy Morton also abstained.

One miserable Cabinet source told MailOnline: ‘At this rate I’m going to be PM by Christmas.

‘The writing was on the wall for Wendy since the day of her appointment.’ 

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said he was ‘not entirely clear what the situation is with the chief whip’.

Conservative MP Sir Charles Walker, MP for Broxbourne since 2005, told the BBC: ‘This whole affair is inexcusable. It is a pitiful reflection on the Conservative Party.’

When asked whether there is a way back for the government, Mr Walker said: ‘I don’t think so.’

In a letter, Ms Braverman said she was resigning for breaching processes by sending an email from her personal account about a forthcoming ministerial statement on immigration

Ms Truss responded with a much briefer letter saying it is ‘important the Ministerial Code is upheld’

Grant Shapps has been installed as the new Home Secretary, despite being one of the most prominent critics of the PM

Suella Braverman resigned as Home Secretary yesterday in yet another blow to Truss’ authority: but did not go quietly. 

In her letter, Ms Braverman said she sent a message from her personal email to a ‘trusted parliamentary colleague as part of policy engagement, and with the aim of garnering support for government policy on migration’.

She acknowledged that constituted a ‘technical infringement of the rules’, the document was a draft written ministerial statement, and while much of it had already been briefed to MPs ‘nevertheless it is right for me to go’.

She said ‘the business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes’ adding: ‘Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see we have made them and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics.

‘I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign.’

She added: ‘It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time.

‘I have concerns about the direction of this government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this Government’s commitment to honouring manifesto commitments, such as reducing overall migration numbers and stopping illegal migration, particularly the dangerous small boats crossings.’ 

He added: ‘This is an absolute disgrace.

‘I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I think it is utterly appalling. I am livid.

‘I hope all those people who put Liz Truss in No.10 I hope it was worth it. […] Because the damage they have done to our party is extraordinary.’

‘I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of talentless people putting their tick in the right box, not because it’s in the national interest, but because it’s in their personal interest.’ 

Later he added: ‘I expect the prime minister to resign very soon because she’s not up to her job.’

Hours earlier Home Secretary Suella Braverman was forced to resign yesterday, ostensibly for breaching protocol by sending an email from her personal account to a contact revealing details of an announcement on immigration policy.

Downing Street said Mrs Braverman, the shortest serving Home Secretary of modern times, had resigned after sending a confidential document to a Tory MP in breach of the ministerial code.

But multiple sources said her departure followed a ‘fiery’ 90-minute meeting between her and Miss Truss in No 10 the previous night at which the Home Secretary warned the PM it would be ‘insane’ to relax immigration rules in order to boost economic growth.

In an explosive resignation letter last night Mrs Braverman suggested that the PM should quit and savaged her record.

‘It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time,’ she wrote. 

‘I have concerns about the direction of this Government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this Government’s commitment to honouring manifesto commitments, such as reducing overall migration numbers.’ 

She swiped that when people made ‘mistakes’ – something Ms Truss has admitted – the right thing to do was quit.

Ms Truss responded with a much briefer letter saying it is ‘important the Ministerial Code is upheld’ and quickly installed Grant Shapps – previously a strident critic and Rishi Sunak supporter – as a replacement. 

On Monday of this week, Mr Shapps publicly said that if Ms Truss were to save her premiership, she would need to ‘thread the eye of a needle with the lights off’.

Ms Braverman was under pressure to sign off a plan to liberalise migration rules to help boost the economy, as part of Ms Truss’s drive for growth. The former minister appears to have sent an email with details of the proposed policy to a parliamentary staffer, with speculation she could have been trying to sabotage it. 

One Tory MP close to Ms Braverman told MailOnline of the security breach: ‘It’s the kind of thing that you give a wrap on the knuckles and carry on – unless you want to get rid of someone.’

The MP said Ms Braverman ‘wasn’t happy over their stance on immigration’, and also warned more resignations could be imminent. ‘I get the impression we’re going to get an avalanche.’ 

Mr Shapps did not offer any solace to Ms Truss as he spoke outside the Home Office late on Thursday, stressing his duty is to keep the country secure. ‘It’s been a turbulent time for the government. The most important thing is for the people of the country to know that they have got security.’ 

MPs yesterday described the Cabinet as a ‘caretaker’ government, and many do not believe that Ms Truss can even survive until the Halloween Budget regardless of divisions over who should take over. 

Hardline home secretary who shunned party line 

Suella Braverman was only in the Home Office for a matter of weeks but she spent most of it positioning herself for a tilt at another job – that of prime minister. 

The hardline Brexiteer was handed the top job as an acknowledgement of her popularity with the right of the party in the summer leadership contest. 

But during her tenure she made a series of outbursts that put her at odds with Liz Truss, raising suggestions she was positioning herself for the next leadership race. 

The 42-year-old mother-of two hit the headlines just yesterday with a rant against the ‘tofu-eating wokerati’ for effectively preventing police from arresting eco-zealots who have caused mayhem and misery during weeks of protest.

She hit out at MPs who voted against tough new measures to strengthen police powers to deal with activists more quickly.

Addressing the Commons as MPs debated the Public Order Bill, Mrs Braverman said: ‘I’m afraid it’s the Labour Party, it’s the Lib Dems, it’s the coalition of chaos, it’s the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati – dare I say, the anti-growth coalition – that we have to thank for the disruption we are seeing on our roads today.’

Her comments came as police arrested two Just Stop Oil protesters who spent 36 hours suspended from the QEII bridge, closing a major transport link between Kent and Essex due to safety fears.

At the Conservative Party conference a fortnight ago she also attacked the PM for U-turniong over plans to axe the 45p top rate of income tax.

She launched a swipe as the PM tried to regain her balance, branding the U-turn on axing the 45p tax rate ‘disappointing’ and accusing rebels of a ‘coup’.

She was also blamed recently for jeopardizing a free trade deal with India by accusing its people of being the worst at overstaying visas in the UK.

The staunch Brexiteer, who served loyally in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet as Attorney General, was appointed to replace Priti Patel as home secretary.

Like Miss Patel, she is of Indian ancestry – her parents, of Goan and Mauritian origins, emigrated to Britain in the 1960s from East Africa before setting up base in Harrow, north-west London.

Her mother, a nurse by profession, ensured politics was a part of family life. A Tory councillor for 16 years, she also stood for Parliament in 2001 and 2003.

Mrs Braverman herself was an early adopter of Tory values, serving as president of the Cambridge University Conservative Association while studying law.

After two failed parliamentary runs, she was elected as MP for Fareham in Hampshire in 2015 and rose through the party ranks quickly.

Outside politics, Mrs Braverman has two children with her husband Rael, whom she married at the House of Commons in 2018.

She has faced questions over her involvement with the controversial Buddhist Triratna sect.

The Triratna order, formerly one of Buddhism’s largest sects in the UK, has been the subject of historic sexual abuse allegations.

Mrs Braverman is believed to have attended meetings and retreats organised by the group, and was known as a ‘mitra’ – or friend – within the order.

After another difficult PMQs, during which she stunned the house by performing yet another u-turn in announcing she was committed to the pensions triple lock, Ms Truss abruptly cancelled a visit to an aerospace firm earlier without giving a reason beyond ‘government business’.

She is now facing Tory mutiny on a bewildering range of issues.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt addressed the Conservative 1922 committee last night, and is said to have quipped, ‘this sh** would be interesting if I wasn’t in the middle of it’ – a quote from Barack Obama. 

Northern Ireland Secretary Steve Baker was sent out on TV to insist Ms Braverman was not attacking the premier, and would still be Home Secretary if not for the security issue.

He said he hoped that she would be brought back into government in the New Year. 

Ms Braverman has repeatedly been embroiled in controversy since taking over at the Home Office. 

At the Tory conference she complained about the 45p tax rate being kept, and said she wanted Britain to leave the European Convention on Human Rights. She has also suggested that rules on visas for Indian nationals should not be relaxed, seemingly torpedoing a mooted trade deal. 

Earlier this week she attacked the ‘tofu-eating wokerati’ for effectively preventing police from arresting eco-zealots who have caused mayhem and misery during weeks of protest.

The PM’s press secretary shrugged off the latest intervention this afternoon, saying Ms Braverman had a ‘way with words’. 

In front of a gloomy Tory rank-and-file in the Commons during yesterday’s PMQs, a clearly-rattled Ms Truss admitted she was ‘sorry’ and had ‘made mistakes’.

But despite Keir Starmer joking that she will be ‘out by Christmas’ after her ‘fantasy economics ended in disaster’, Ms Truss insisted she will not resign. 

‘I am a fighter not a quitter,’ she said, echoing a famous line from Labour’s Peter Mandelson.

The clashes came as inflation surged back into double-digits with food prices heaping more pain on hard-pressed Britons.

The government had been hinting that pensioners faced real-terms cuts as part of a desperate £40billion spending squeeze – but Ms Truss tried to kill off the issue by declaring she will stick to the triple lock. ‘I am completely committed to it, so is the Chancellor,’ she said as Jeremy Hunt watched from beside her on the the green benches.

However, she pointedly stopped short of making the same promise on uprating benefits, another area where Tories are threatening to revolt.

Steve Double warned she could only have ‘days’ left as he called her position ‘untenable’, while William Wragg said he had sent a letter of no-confidence to the 1922 committee chief Graham Brady.

Sir Graham is believed to have informed the premier that more than 50 Tories have privately sent him no-confidence letters. 

Ms Truss told MPs: ‘I have been very clear that I am sorry and that I have made mistakes.’

Amid shouts of ‘resign’, she added: ‘The right thing to do in those circumstances is to make changes, which I have made, and to get on with the job and deliver for the British people.’

Former Cabinet minister Sajid Javid had been slated to ask a question at PMQs, but apparently pulled out at the last minute. As the session began reports emerged that Ms Truss’s senior aide Jason Stein has been suspended pending an investigating into briefing. There was a vicious barb at Mr Javid over the weekend claiming he was not offered the Chancellor job because the PM regarded him as ‘sh**’.

The PM’s press secretary said this afternoon: ‘I am not going to get into individual staffing matters but the Prime Minister has made very clear to her team that some of the sort of briefings that we have seen are completely unacceptable about parliamentary colleagues and they must stop.’ 

The cost-of-living crisis is the stark backdrop for a crisis at Westminster as Ms Truss desperately battles to cling on after being forced to sack ally Kwasi Kwarteng and ditch the disastrous mini-Budget that triggered havoc on markets – before any of last night’s chaos came into play.  

PMQs was only Ms Truss’s third since entering No10 and came just a week after she insisted there would ‘absolutely not’ be spending cuts. Mr Hunt – who has been branded the ‘de facto PM’ – now says cuts will be ‘eye-watering’. 

An honourable departure, an undignified sacking by her own party … or just limping on towards a general election hammering: The options facing Liz Truss as Tory calls for her to step down grow amid deepening chaos 

The chaos surrounding Liz Truss today has at its heart one seemingly straightforward question: what does the Conservative Party do with her?

The Tories have two equally basic answers to that question: they either find a way to get rid or her or step back and keep her in power, however unpalatable that seems.

But it is there than any sort of simplicity disappears. Ms Truss yesterday vowed that she is a ‘fighter, not a quitter’ and suggested she wants to fight on to the next election.

But with calls for her to quit as Tory leader mounting, this feels increasingly unlikely, if not totally impossible.

This means that she must either a) be convinced to change her mind and leave No10 in a dignified manner or b) have the decision of whether or not to go taken out of her hands and be humiliatingly booted out.

Tory MPs today emerged to plead with the PM to take the first course and spare herself and the party more damage, as they reel from truly appalling poll figures that show Labour on course for a landslide election win.

Devon MP Gary Streeter said: ‘Sadly, it seems we must change leader BUT even if the (arch 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,’

And Hendon MP Matthew Offord said Liz Truss needed to agree on a ‘dignified exit’, telling the Evening Standard: ‘She does need to sit down and discuss it with her Cabinet and with others to manage some kind of dignified exit.’

Any resignation would be as leader of the Conservative Party. Ms Truss would remain PM until a successor – permanent or a caretaker – was appointed by the party. They would then take power in No10.

Here we look at the possible scenarios that could emerge in the next few hours, days or, improbably, weeks.

The chaos surrounding Liz Truss today has at its heart one seemingly straightforward question: what does the Conservative Party do with her?


The calmest way for the current chaos to end would be with a dignified resignation by the Prime Minister. 

This could be done after a visit by the ‘men in grey suits’ – the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee. Led by chairman Sir Graham Brady.

They go to see the PM and tell her she no longer enjoys the confidence of her MPs, the parliamentary Tory Party.

The ’22 is currently in a bit of a bind. Any new leader is safe from a no confidence vote in their first 12 months in power under rules designed to provide some stability. 

But Sir Graham, if he feels that the level of opposition is so high that she would lose a hypothetical vote, could lead a delegation to inform her of this and make an appeal to her honour.

He could also make a veiled threat – given the level of opposition her only other option is to be embarrassingly removed by her own side.

It is possible that she listens and agrees to resign. But if not… 

The calmest way for the current chaos to end would be with a dignified resignation by the Prime Minister. This could be done after a visit by the ‘men in grey suits’ – the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee. Led by chairman Sir Graham Brady.


With the PM refusing to walk out in a dignified way, the 1922 Committee can vote to change its rules and allow a vote of no confidence in the PM before 12 months are up.

To trigger a vote, 15 per cent of Tory MPs have to submit letters of no confidence in her leadership of the party – which is currently 54 MPs.

Rumours have suggested that more than 100 MPs have already submitted letters, but the only person who actually knows the tally is Sir Graham, who does not reveal it. 

Ms Truss could still resign if a vote is triggered, without waiting to see if she is deposed.

But if she does lose the vote – which seems almost certain currently – she would effectively be sacked as Conservative leader, leaving MPs to decide on a replacement.

In the unlikely event that she wins the vote, she has a fresh mandate to govern, albeit a slim one, from her MPs. But it could harm the party even more in the polls, with the public so against her and her polities.


Another option open to the Tories is mass ministerial walkouts. 

This is how Boris Johnson was eventually forced from power, after he survived a vote of confidence. Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak resigned from the Cabinet, prompting more than 50 colleagues to follow suite.

While he was able to cobble together a replacement Government his authority was totally undermined and eventually it was the straw that broke the camel’s back and he agreed to resign a short time later.

Several ministers have already been linked with resignations, including Education Secretary Kit Malthouse and International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch. Both deny any such plans.

But a walkout by a large chunk of ministers, especially if they come from both the moderate and right wings of the party, could prove terminal.

Another option open to the Tories is mass ministerial walkouts. This is how Boris Johnson was eventually forced from power, after he survived a vote of confidence. Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak resigned from the Cabinet, prompting more than 50 colleagues to follow suite.


Improbable as it seems it is still possible for the PM to remain in power. No 10 defiantly insisted she wants to fight the next election, due in 2024.

There is still no agreement on a successor who can unite the disparate factions in the party and this could a real problem.

MPs are keen to avoid a lengthy leadership election that leaves a power vacuum and exposes the party to another public show of infighting, after the bitter summer campaign between Ms Truss and Rishi Sunak.

Mr Sunak has been mooted as a replacement, but is disliked by the party right and the Boris Johnson faction.

Other names linked with a tilt include fellow summer candidate Penny Mordaunt, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and even Grant Shapps, who has been Home secretary since yesterday.

Other names linked with a tilt include fellow summer candidate Penny Mordaunt (top), Chancellor Jeremy Hunt (above), Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and even Grant Shapps, who has been Home secretary since yesterday.

Conservative peer Lord Ed Vaizey said ‘the only way out of this mess’ is for Liz Truss to stand down and for somebody to be appointed as prime minister by Conservative MPs.

‘That is still fraught with problems,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.’

He said it is clear from Suella Braverman’s resignation letter that she regards herself as a credible candidate to be prime minister.

‘And in terms of kind of shocking self-belief there will be at least five or six people out there who genuinely believe they could be the next prime minister.

‘So if the Tory Party cannot have a degree of self-knowledge and realise that the only way forward is to appoint someone they’re pretty much sunk,’ he said.

If the party cannot agree on a unity candidate they and the country could be left with a lame duck PM until they do.  

Downing Street has denied that there is any change to Liz Truss’s plan to stay in No 10 beyond the fiscal plan on October 31.

Asked the question, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: ‘No plans for any change. The Prime Minister will continue beyond the 31st’.

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