Exclusive: Ex Tory chair Baroness Warsi says PM Liz Truss should call a General Election
A former chair of the Conservative Party has said Prime Minister Liz Truss should call a General Election.
Speaking exclusively to City A.M., Baroness Sayeeda Warsi said prime minister Liz Truss either “had to just carry on with the 2019 manifesto – or go to the electorate” upon entering Number 10.
“Because neither of those things are happening, it’s invariably going to create an element of tension and disagreement” within the party.
This comes as senior Tory politicians, including cabinet members and ex ministers criticised Liz Truss on her mini-budget, including the 45p tax rate abolition and the refusal to raise benefits with inflation.
The Tory peer, who resigned from the government in August 2014 over the Israel-Gaza conflict, said Truss “doesn’t have the mandate to do some of the things she’s doing”.
Despite backing Truss in the leadership contest, the former party chair added: “I’m not saying she would” lose an election. “She could go to the country, she might win. But she’s got to have the courage of her conviction in doing that.
“If you think the country won’t vote for it, then you don’t have a right to implement it in government because you don’t have the authority to do it.“
“This is democracy.”
Asked whether Boris Johnson was right to go as PM, the peer “wanted Boris to step down, I didn’t want us to remove him”.
“The question marks over his integrity and his conduct were too much” and he “was starting to taint the office of the Prime Minister”.
With some polls forecasting Labour has a 33 point lead, she aired concerns the Tories are “giving the impression of a government that’s not in control, that’s quite chaotic, that’s not competent.
“These are all the things that we used to traditionally see the Labour Party as.”
“I can live with the fact that we’re not always liked, but at least we’re seen as competent on the economy.
“What Johnson did was damaged our reputation as a party of law and order.
“What Liz Truss could do, is potentially damage the reputation of being competent on the economy” she added.
While insisting the party can still be the party of ‘sound money’, Warsi said it was “odd and unusual” for chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng to announce major policies the mini-budget without a forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibilities.
She “didn’t have an issue” with scrapping the cap on bankers bonuses, but raised concerns about the now U-turned policy of abolishing the 45p rate of income tax.
Warsi said however, her support for removing the bonus cap was “qualified“, because there were two types of bank. One group came “cap in hand” asking for help int he financial crisis, while another handled their problems independently.
“If you didn’t cause losses to – and didn’t rely upon – the public purse, you can do what you want your business. If you want to pay your bankers, bonuses, you pay your bankers, bonuses. We can’t regulate how much people get paid”.
This comes as Baroness Warsi fronts a reality TV show on Channel 4 alongside former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, called ‘Make Me Prime Minister’.
She said, while she isn’t a big fan of reality TV, this “was too attractive to turn down”, as the Labour and Tory duo set political tasks in a bid to find a potential new resident for Number 10.
Warsi joined because she was “incredibly frustrated at the quality of political leadership and the way in which politics was being done” at the time, as the partygate scandal unfolded.
“Our politics has become reality TV, so maybe we needed to turn to reality TV to make politics better”.