Truss and Kwarteng face Tory backlash as they refuse to back down over tax plan
Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss are facing open rebellion from parts of the Tory backbenches as MPs call for the pair to make a dramatic U-turn on their tax plan.
Some Conservative MPs are already anonymously briefing to media outlets that the chancellor should be sacked, while one, Simon Hoare, broke cover to say the government’s plan is “inept madness”.
Rishi Sunak and a growing number of his supporters have said they will not attend the Tory party conference next week, with internal party fears growing that the three-day event will be riven by bruising factional warfare.
New YouGov polls this week showed Labour now had a 17-point lead over the Tories and that Sir Keir Starmer’s party is trusted more on the economy.
City minister Andrew Griffith was yesterday forced to defend the government’s tax cuts – the largest package of tax cuts since 1972 – and told Sky News they were the “right plans”.
He said the market turmoil over the past week was not the fault of the government, despite the pound and bond sell-off starting after the government announced its Plan for Growth last Friday.
When asked if the massive sell-off of UK bonds and the pound was the government’s fault, Griffith said: “No, we both know that we’re seeing the same impact of Putin’s war in Ukraine cascading through things like the cost of energy, some of the supply side implications of that.
“And that’s impacting every major economy and just the same, every major economy, you’re seeing interest rates going up as well.”
Hoare said “these are not circumstances beyond the control of the government and Treasury – they were authored there”.
Tory High Peak MP Robert Largan said the decision to cut the top rate of tax from 45p to 40p was “a mistake”.
Tory MP and former cabinet minister Julian Smith said sticking to last week’s plan “will only continue further stress and strain on UK citizens”.
“It is critical that the government is honest about the current situation & plays its part in stabilising markets,” he said.
Number 10 has said that Truss will not make a statement today to address the recent turmoil, however she will be doing a morning round of broadcast interviews tomorrow.