By Politics.co.uk staff
Conservative criticism of the prime minister has this morning moved from private whispered conversations amongst MPs at Westminster to public statements on the airwaves and social media.
This change in approach from many leading conservatives follows one of the most dramatic afternoons in post war British politics. As part of this, the Home Secretary was sacked, the Chief Whip was said to have resigned and then un-resigned, the prime minister’s special advisor was suspended, and there were unruly scenes among Conservative MPs in the Commons division lobby.
The willingness of leading Conservatives to now go public with their concerns signals a likely intensity in the efforts of the Conservative parliamentary party to move against Liz Truss.
The executive of the 1922 committee is reported to be meeting today. Should a large number of Conservative backbench MPs (estimated to be between 33% and 50% of the total) submit letters of ‘no confidence’ in Liz Truss, it is thought that the 1992 executive will be prepared to change the party rules to permit a no-confidence ballot within the first 12 months of a new leader’s term.
Should any such ballot go ahead, it would appear highly unlikely that Liz Truss would emerge victorious, and in all probability, she may likely resign before any such ballot went ahead.
The attached is a selection of the public comments from leading Conservative figures in the last twelve hours, notable for their tone as well as the content of their criticism.
Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme this morning, the Conservative MP, Simon Hoare said, “If this was a career review, and an employer was sitting in front of a person looking at performance and outcomes, then the score-sheet isn’t looking very good”.
Suggesting that the prime minister had just “12 hours” to turn things round, Mr Hoare said, “I think there is a growing sense of pessimism in all wings of the Tory party, usually it is one wing or the other, but to have it in all wings of the party, should be ringing alarm bells in both Number 10 and Number 11”.
Speaking on the same programme, the Conservative peer, Lord Vaizey said, “The only way out of this mess is for Liz Truss to step down and for someone to be appointed as prime minister by Conservative MPs”.
Speaking to Sky New last night, the Conservative MP, Danny Kruger said, “The fact is that our party is in a total mass, the government is in a very bad way. We are a divided party at the moment and there have been some significant mistakes”.
Commenting on the BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme, the Conservative MP, Crispin Blunt described Liz Truss’ position as “wholly untenable”, adding, “If she doesn’t understand that, I would be absolutely astonished”.
Continuing he said, “There is a rather obvious choice now for who should be the next prime minister and it is either Jeremy Hunt or Rishi Sunak who have the qualities of self-evident intelligence, calm authority, and a capacity to learn from experience”.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Frost, who served in the cabinet under Boris Johnson said, “The government is implementing neither the programme Liz Truss originally advocated nor the 2019 manifesto”. Continuing he wrote, “Something has to give. Truss just can’t stay in office for one very obvious reason: she campaigned against the policies she is now implementing”.
In an impassioned interview to the BBC last night, the Conservative MP, Sir Charles Walker MP, said, “I am livid and you know, I really shouldn’t say this, but I hope all those people that put Liz Truss in No. 10 I hope it was worth it. I hope it was worth it for the ministerial red box”.
Speaking to Sky Radio last night, the former Chief of Staff to Therea May, Lord Barwell, said, “I think the one bright spot is the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think Jeremy Hunt since he came into office at the end of last week, has significantly stabilized the economy. But the rest of what is going on is frankly a complete shambles, it is an embarrassment to the county, it is an embarrassment to the conservative party, and the sooner it comes to an end the better”.
Talking to BBC Newsnight, the Editor of the website Conservative Home, Paul Goodman, himself a former Conservative MP said, “I have to say if you’re looking for a coalition of chaos, Liz Truss is a one woman coalition of chaos. If the Conservative Party wants some semblance of order and to communicate the opposite of the chaos it’s been communicating ever since Liz Truss became Tory leader, I’m just asking this as a question because I don’t know the answer, but has it got any alternative but to send for Rishi Sunak.”