5 (New) Signs The Prime Minister's Problems Are Only Getting Worse

Liz Truss's premiership is facing obstacles she may not be able to overcome.
Liz Truss is only 40 days into her premiership
Liz Truss is only 40 days into her premiership
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Liz Truss is just 40 days into her premiership, but she’s already facing calls to resign.

The prime minister’s chaotic time in office started to go downhill when she unveiled her flagship policies in her mini-budget – or Growth Plan – which included £45bn of unfunded tax cuts. This promptly caused the decline of the pound and disaster on the UK markets.

Since then, she has performed a series of U-turns, fired her chancellor, and given a remarkably short press conference which only fired up the calls for her to resign.

At the start of a new week where Truss is once again hoping to revive her reputation, here’s a list of the five new signs of trouble heading her way.

1. Jeremy Hunt is ripping up Trussonomics

The chancellor, appointed on Friday after Truss fired Kwasi Kwarteng, is already ditching many of the prime minister’s economic policies. He is making an emergency statement a fortnight earlier than expected on Monday, to a bid to reassure the financial markets.

It comes amid speculation that more power lies in the No.11 right now than No.10, as all of the landmark policies Truss was elected on come under fire.

An ally of the chancellor even alleged that Hunt should be seen as the “chief executive” of the government now.

While Hunt claimed Truss is still in power when speaking to the media over the weekend, he admitted that she is doing “that most difficult thing in politics” – changing tactics.

2. A new, devastating poll

Opinium has released a new poll which projected a landslide general election win for the Labour Party, if voters headed to the ballot box now.

Their victory would be so large it would echo the party’s historic 1997 win.

With more than 10,000 respondents answering the survey between 26 and 30 September – weeks before Truss was forced to sack her chancellor over the chaos – Opinium found the Tories would lose 219 seats in total, leaving it with just 137 seats.

Many high-profile Conservatives would lose their seats, too, including the new chancellor Hunt, levelling up secretary Simon Clarke, business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and health secretary Therese Coffey, among other ministers.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson would also lose his seat, and the Tories would lose their majorities in all 45 out of 45 of its seats in the “red wall” in the north of England.

Chris Curtis, head of political polling at Opinium, said the backlash from voters Truss had seen was more like “a nightmare than a honeymoon”.

“If the government want any chance of avoiding a once-in-a-generation wipeout at the next election then they need to turn this reputation around,” he said.

Three Tory backbenchers have already publicly called for her to leave Downing Street.

3. No government ministers go on the airwaves

On Monday morning, no government ministers were available to do the media rounds. Over the past few years, it’s been rare for the government not to send a representative to speak to broadcasters and usually indicates how much chaos is going on behind the scenes.

For instance, ministers were also absent when new, damning revelations about partygate came to light and bleak energy bill forecasts.

A source told POLITICO’s Playbook that without a Tory minister on the airwaves, Truss is a “dead woman walking”.

4. Keir Starmer calls for Truss to speak to the UK

The Labour leader has wasted no time in pointing out the flaws in No.10′s leadership right now.

He released a statement on Twitter on Sunday night, which read: “The prime minister says she is in charge but the evidence this weekend suggests she is in office but not in power.

“Friday’s press conference completely failed to answer any of the questions the public has.”

He pointed out that mortgage rises and the cost of living crisis are still ongoing, so the “Conservative government is currently the biggest threat to the security and the finances of families across the country”.

“That’s why the prime minister must come to parliament on Monday to explain what she plans to do to turn the situation,” Starmer said.

“If the prime minister won’t take questions from journalists, Liz Truss must at least take them from MPs representing the families whose livelihoods she’s putting at risk.”

Notably, Truss only took four questions from journalists during her exceptionally brief press briefing on Friday, after firing Kwasi Kwarteng.

5. Tesco speak out

Tesco chair John Allan said on the BBC show, Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, said that Labour has “ideas on the table” for the UK economy that are “actionable and attractive”.

“We have a moral responsibility to look after people, who in the real world, are being impacted by this,” Allan said.

“I don’t think we’ve seen a growth plan from the Conservatives, I hope we will... Labour’s ideas are on the table and many are attractive, but at the moment there’s only one team on the field.”

Tesco is the UK’s largest private sector employer in the UK, so these remarks show yet more divisions between the Conservative party and big business.


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