Rebel MPs are urged to fall into line behind Liz Truss
‘Unite behind Prime Minister or lose election’: Rebel MPs are urged to fall into line behind Liz Truss or risk becoming ‘ungovernable rabble’ and handing power to Keir Starmer
- Cabinet ministers warned rebel Tory MPs they must back Truss or lose election
- Backbenchers led a rebellion that spread to the top levels of the Government
- It overshadowed the Tory Party conference, as the PM’s allies called for calm
- A source said the party was in danger of becoming an ‘ungovernable rabble’
Cabinet ministers tonight warned feuding Tory MPs they must unite behind Liz Truss – or face electoral oblivion.
After backbenchers led a rebellion that spread to the top levels of the Government and overshadowed the Conservative Party conference, the Prime Minister’s allies called for calm.
They said MPs must decide to either ‘get behind’ the PM when they return to Westminster next week or continue their infighting and ‘consign us to certain defeat’.
A source close to the PM warned the party was in danger of becoming an ‘ungovernable rabble’. ‘We had underestimated the pure hatred of some of these people like [Michael] Gove and [Grant] Shapps,’ he said. ‘It is very hard to get your message heard when they are behaving like that.’
Another No10 insider acknowledged the conference had been a ‘s*** show’, adding: ‘MPs have got a choice when they get back to Westminster next week – they can either knuckle down and get behind the PM or they can carry on as they are and consign us to certain defeat. ‘
Cabinet ministers have urged rebel MPs to back Liz truss or see the party become an ‘ungovernable rabble’
There is still a path to victory. We are two years from the election – but not if people carry on behaving like this. They are playing straight into Keir Starmer’s hands.’
Miss Truss emboldened rebel backbenchers when she performed a humiliating U-turn on Monday – reversing plans to cut the top rate of income tax.
MPs then staged a fresh revolt over the PM’s proposals to uprate benefits in line with earnings – breaking a commitment from Boris Johnson to increase payments in line with inflation.
Cabinet ministers openly criticised the plans at the conference in Birmingham, piling pressure on Miss Truss to change her mind.
But the Daily Mail understands she remains determined to press ahead with uprating benefits in line with earnings. Sources indicated disability support may increase in line with inflation, but the PM continues to believe it would be unfair for most claimants to receive a bigger uplift than workers whose taxes fund their payments.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the move would cut state spending by around £7billion – because earnings are growing at 5.5 per cent, compared with inflation at around 10 per cent. One insider warned that if Miss Truss was forced into another U-turn, the rebels would be emboldened further still. ‘We’ve got to win this because our opponents are playing whack-a-mole,’ they said.
‘If we give way they will just move on to the next thing.’
Liz Truss emboldened rebel backbenchers when she performed a humiliating U-turn on Monday – reversing plans to cut the top rate of income tax
Cabinet ministers Chloe Smith, Penny Mordaunt and Sir Robert Buckland were among senior Tories who signalled their concerns about the benefits plan. But one member of the Cabinet accused No10 of leaving ministers in the dark – enabling their comments to be seen as signs of a split.
‘No 10 needs to set out the policy to us. I don’t think the ministers were necessarily trying to cause trouble, but they just didn’t know what to say.’
They also warned that those calling for Miss Truss to be ousted by Christmas ‘need to be sectioned’.
Tory former Cabinet minister David Davis said it would be ‘impossible’ to replace a Tory leader before the next election.
‘If the party splits into pieces then we will lose the next election,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘They’ve got to pull together, but that means two sides: both the Government itself… and my colleagues have got to try and make their experiences available to the Government.
‘Like Thatcher – take on the big issues but do it carefully, do it with some sense of caution. Try to meet the needs of the nation.’
And Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said it was ‘ridiculous’ to suggest Miss Truss had just ten days to save her leadership.
‘I like the fact that she says what she’s going to do and then does what she says,’ he told BBC Breakfast. ‘She is delivering from day one on the things she said she would do because, as I say, she recognises that if you don’t go for growth you end up with either stagnation or recession and that is not what we want to do.’
Miss Truss appeared to address the feuding MPs in her conference speech yesterday. ‘I know how it feels to have your potential dismissed by those who think they know better,’ she said pointedly.
Downing Street later suggested that whips would seek to restore order over critical ministers.
The PM’s press secretary said: ‘There’s always going to be differences of opinion between people, people are entitled to their personal opinions. But they should be raised in a more constructive manner.’
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