Liz Truss’ government is on the brink of collapse after another chaotic day that included the bitter resignation of her home secretary, chaos in the House of Commons over a fracking vote and confusion over whether the Chief and Deputy Chief Whip have resigned.
Uella Braverman lashed out at Ms Truss’ ‘stormy’ prime ministership when she quit, accusing the government of ‘breaking important promises’.
Her departure, which comes just five days after Kwasi Kwarteng was ousted as chancellor, means the prime minister has lost two people from the four major offices of state within her first six weeks in office, with all eyes on whether other cabinet ministers will agree example could follow.
The government is not implementing the program originally advocated by Liz Truss, nor the 2019 manifestoMr Frost
The exodus appeared to be continuing with speculation that Chief Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker, after a last-minute about-face, left with threats to strip Conservative MPs of the whip if they backed a Labor challenge over fracking.
It came after Climate Secretary Graham Stuart told the Commons minutes before the vote that “this is very clearly not a vote of confidence”, although Mr Whittaker had previously issued a “100% hard” three-line lash meaning any Tory MP, who rebelled, it could be thrown out of the faction.
In extraordinary scenes in Westminster, Cabinet ministers Therese Coffey and Jacob Rees-Mogg were among a group of senior Tories accused of pressuring colleagues to go to the “No” lobby, with former Labor Secretary Chris Bryant said some MPs had been “physically abused”. another lobby and being bullied”.
Business Secretary Rees-Mogg insisted he had seen no evidence anyone was ill-treated, but senior Tory MP Sir Charles Walker said what happened was “inexcusable” and “a pathetic reflection on the Conservative Parliament party”.
“I saw Wendy looking very unhappy in the lobby and then she stormed out,” senior Tory backbencher Sir Roger Gale told the PA news agency, while Mr Whittaker was reportedly swearing as he exited.
After hours of uncertainty over their departure, Downing Street has been forced to clarify that both “remain in office”.
Labor’s fracking ban proposal was defeated by a vote of 230 to 326, with the divisional list showing 40 Conservative MPs did not vote.
In a sign of mounting pressure on Ms Truss, former Tory Brexit Secretary Lord David Frost joined calls for her resignation.
“As Suella Braverman made so clear this afternoon, the government is not implementing the program initially advocated by Liz Truss, nor the 2019 manifesto. It’s going in a completely different direction,” wrote the Conservative colleague who backed Ms Truss as Prime Minister, in The Telegraph.
“There is not a trace of a mandate for this. It’s only happening because the Truss government screwed things up worse than anyone could have imagined… Something’s gotta give.”
Paul Goodman, the editor of influential website ConservativeHome, said he had never seen “anything like Wednesday’s chaos”.
“I have to say, if you’re looking for a coalition of chaos, Liz Truss is a one-woman coalition of chaos,” he told BBC Two on Newsnight.
Sir Charles, visibly emotional, told BBC News: “As a 17-year-old Tory MP… I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I find it absolutely terrifying. I am angry.”
Several Tory MPs sided with him, including Maria Caulfield, who tweeted: “Tonight we are all Charles Walker.”
There is speculation that the chairman of the 1922 Tory Backbench Committee, Sir Graham Brady, has already received more than 54 letters calling for a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, the threshold for triggering a vote of no confidence if Mrs Truss does not 12 months was a grace period for new executives.
In a poorly coded dig at the prime minister whose disastrous mini-budget sparked financial turmoil, Ms Braverman wrote in her resignation letter: “I made a mistake; I take responsibility; I step back”.
The letter continued: “The business of government depends on people taking responsibility for their mistakes.
“Pretending we haven’t made any mistakes, moving on like not everyone can see we made them and hoping things will magically turn out right isn’t serious politics.
“It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a turbulent time.”
In a bid to salvage her ailing leadership, Ms Truss replaced Ms Braverman with Grant Shapps, a supporter of her rival Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership race and a critic of her later abandoned plan to abolish the top tax rate.
The former Transport Secretary spent the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month warning that Tory MPs would not be “sitting on their hands” if they ousted Ms Truss without improvement.
Speaking to reporters outside the Home Office, he acknowledged a “turbulent time” but said he looked forward to getting on with the work “regardless of what else happens in Westminster”.
Sir Roger Gale said the chaos over the fracking vote had been a “storm in a teacup” and Mr Shapps’ appointment could strengthen Ms Truss’ position.
“The Braverman issue is more fundamental in nature, but I think overall it’s possible that the Prime Minister will emerge stronger than weaker,” the veteran backbencher told the PA news agency.
“We need people in government who are mature and experienced and understand real politics.”
Northern Ireland Minister Steve Baker claimed Ms Truss “could not be removed from No 10”.
He told ITV’s Peston: “The Prime Minister can’t be deposed, whether she goes or not is up to her.”
Ms Braverman, a former Attorney General, admitted sending an “official document from my personal email” to a colleague in Parliament.
She conceded it was a “technical breach of the rules” but made clear a major rift with Ms Truss in her resignation letter.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/truss-on-the-brink-after-braverman-exit-and-commons-chaos-42080959.html Truss on the brink after Braverman exit and Commons chaos