The current political atmosphere is a gift to the Labour Party, who are fantasizing about a general election. Astonishingly, these fantasies are backed by the Conservatives.
Just five weeks into her premiership, UK Prime Minister has had another bruising week, attacked by the opposition, by the mainstream media and by piranhas in her own party, following an appearance at the 1922 Committee. Boris Johnson was brought down by the same forces. Will any Conservative ever be good enough? The attackers should be clear what they want and why, otherwise it might be a case of be careful what you wish for.
The current political atmosphere is a gift to the Labour Party, who are fantasizing about a general election. Astonishingly, these fantasies are backed by Conservatives; and some deluded MPs think it would be possible to impose a fifth Prime Minister in six years on the public, which would involve changing Conservative Constitutional rules. Some Tory factions have a vendetta against Liz Truss, this is most evident in the pro-Rishi brigade. There is also the “bring-back Boris” brigade; Rishi Sunak supporters are finding fault with Trussonomics, while Boris Johnson publicly continues to “Back Liz”. Former Secretary of State Priti Patel told Sky News that market forces could make a government U-turn on tax cuts unavoidable.
Truss gave a talk at the Dorchester hotel to hundreds of paying guests. She spoke about unifying the party and her pro-growth package. Reportedly, she was eloquent and her conservative values were convincing. However, it was a short-lived triumph as so many MPs and businesses have derided the Truss/Kwarteng mini-budget, resulting in the spontaneous sacking of Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng as he returned from Washington on Friday, and the subsequent appointment of Rishi Sunak supporter Jeremy Hunt as Chancellor. It is obvious Truss felt under immense pressure to save her own skin and Kwarteng was the only option for her. Many doubt whether this move is enough to save Truss or to save the Conservative Party at the next election. Truss was elected by the membership on her campaign promises of lower taxes and investment but these have not been delivered, it seems ironically she is adopting more of a Rishi Sunak approach and raising taxes; in effect this is a disloyal strategy.
Whether Hunt is a popular choice remains to be discovered and will his efforts stabilise the markets? Kwasi Kwarteng’s fiscal statement was due on 31 October, it was to show how much debt will fall as a share of GDP in the medium term, will Hunt have a statement he prepared earlier? On that same day the Office for Budget Responsibility will publish their latest outlook for the economy and public finances.
The membership are already called out for their racism in side-lining Sunak, now Truss has put the blame on Kwarteng’s shoulders. It is very likely the Black community will not favour the Conservatives as their first political choice.
One thing is clear, the government desperately need effective Whips and a Communications Director, at the moment the narrative belongs to the opposing elements.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman simultaneously managed a display of disloyalty to the PM and to the country of her ancestors. By sounding off about immigration she sabotaged the good work thus far achieved towards a UK-India FTA. Westminster will have to work doubly hard to repair the rift and make visa entry concessions for skilled workers; as a result, it seems the UK Indian diaspora, so assiduously wooed by the Tory party, have disowned Braverman. Braverman was on maternity leave for much of her time as Attorney General. Evidently, Truss and Braverman were unfamiliar with each other’s views as in six weeks they have differed on many issues, reclassifying marijuana, illegal boats crossing the channels, the role of the ECHR and the foreign workers the UK desperately needs. Steve Baker, formerly known as “Brexit hardman”, who is thought to be Braverman’s mentor, was also in the news this week. As Truss’ new MoS for Northern Ireland, Baker apologised for his previous “ferocious” stance on negotiations with the EU and said that “humility” was needed to restore relations with the Republic of Ireland and the EU. Perhaps he can advise Braverman to adopt the same humility.
Now that Tom Tugendhat is the MoS for Security, his position as Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee came up for election. The winning candidate is Alicia Kearns, the first female Chair, Kearns also chairs the China Research Group and is a Board Member of Great British China Centre. Her constituency website says she “has been independent consultant across the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans”. Her campaign statement outlines her aim for Britain to be resilient against hostile states, and she intends to lead the parliamentary conversation towards solutions and security. It is thought the Committee’s trip to Taiwan will still take place in November.