Question over Truss’s future as PM very difficult, says Tory MP

Senior Conservatives have said they are talking with their party colleagues about how to best address the crisis.

16 October 2022

A senior Conservative MP has said it is “very difficult” to say whether Liz Truss should continue as Prime Minister.

Alicia Kearns, who recently became the chairwoman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, also said the Government’s problems are linked to policy and not just communication, warning “dogmatism scares people”.

The critical remarks come as another senior Conservative MP, Robert Halfon, said he wants an “apology and a fundamental reset”.

Mr Halfon, chairman of the Commons Education Committee, declined to deny that MPs are considering installing a new leader.

“Of course, colleagues are unhappy with what is going on,” he told Sky News.

“We’re all talking to see what can be done about it.

“I worry that, over the past few weeks, the Government has looked like libertarian jihadists and treated the whole country as kind of laboratory mice on which to carry out ultra, ultra free market experiments. And this is not where the country is.

“There’s been one horror story after another.”

Robert Halfon
Tory MP Robert Halfon said a ‘reset’ is needed (House of Commons/PA)

Mr Halfon said he is not calling on Ms Truss to go, but told Times Radio the Government needs a reset “pretty soon”, adding: “I can’t give you hours or days.”

Ms Kearns, also speaking to Times Radio, said: “Do I think the Government has a fundamental communications problem? Yes, I do.

“But I think it comes ultimately from the policy decisions they make. In a time of crisis, the public wants to see pragmatism. They want to see fiscal responsibility, and they want to see compassion. And dogmatism scares people.

“There is nothing wrong with some of the tax cuts they want to bring in, but if you don’t bring the country with you, and you don’t bring the markets with you, then you won’t have their support.”

Asked if Ms Truss could or should survive in Number 10, Ms Kearns said: “Ultimately it is a very difficult one because I think, you know, we’ve had the questions around our moral competency. We’ve now got questions around our fiscal competency.

Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock said a Cabinet reshuffled is required (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

“I don’t want further questions around even our ability to continue to govern as a party and our ability to stay united. It’s an incredibly difficult one, and ultimately I need to listen to colleagues and speak to colleagues over coming days.

“But do we need a fundamental reset? Without question.”

Former health secretary Matt Hancock said the Prime Minister needs to reshuffle her Cabinet.

Speaking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg about the prospect of a leadership contest, Mr Hancock said: “I don’t think we’re there yet,” but he added she needs to do three things: deliver an economically-credible plan, reshuffle her Cabinet, and restore trust.

“She needs to bring the broad Conservative Party in her Government. She needs a reshuffle,” he said.

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