After a chaotic 12 hours that included her Home Secretary resigning, reports of tears and tear-ups in the Commons over fracking, and the Tory leader reportedly chasing her own chief whip while pleading with her not to resign as her own MP called her a “shambles” to her face, Liz Truss’ premiership is in its final hours today.
Given that several of her MPs called for her resignation this morning “in order to end the mess,” Ms. Truss may soon hold the record for the shortest tenure as prime minister.
Suella Braverman resigned at 5 o’clock yesterday night, allegedly after a 90-minute shouting fight that could be heard echoing through the office door and into No. 10, and her influence started to dwindle. And about two hours later, everything started in the Commons.
Chris Bryant, a Labour MP, said that some Conservative MPs had been “literally manhandled into another lobby and being intimidated” and disclosed that he had been comforted by “utterly desperate” Conservative MPs.
Following Miss Truss’s decision to abandon her proposal to eject Conservative MPs who voted against the government on fracking, Chief Whip Wendy Morton and her assistant Craig Whittaker seemed to resign. Downing Street said it was a confidence vote at 1.30 a.m. this morning, only for a minister to deny it at 7.30 a.m. when party discipline collapsed.
Therese Coffey, the deputy prime minister, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the business secretary, were accused of “manhandling” MPs through the voting lobbies during the tumultuous scenes in the Commons. Both ministers refuted the accusation. Mr. Whittaker was heard saying to his colleagues, “I am f***ing enraged and I don’t give a f*** any longer,” as government discipline broke down.
It’s a catastrophe, Tory MPs were heard yelling at Miss Truss, who had a pale face. While being heckled by her own backbenchers, the prime minister was reportedly spotted chasing after her chief whip and pleading with her not to resign. Later, Jacob Rees-Mogg said he was unaware of the status of the party’s chief whip.
And as of right now, it’s unclear if Ms. Morton and Mr. Whittaker are still in their positions. According to Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the chief whip did not quit after yesterday night’s Commons vote. She said, “Not that I’m aware of, no,” when asked whether Wendy Morton had resigned on Wednesday night.
When questioned about whether Ms Morton ever quit before being persuaded to take up her previous position, Ms Trevelyan said to Sky News, “So, I wasn’t there. I cast my ballot early in the lobbies before attending to crucial security matters at the Department of Transportation.
I didn’t pay close attention to the intrigues, then. I regret that I was preoccupied with work. However, it is evident that both of them have positions, which is fantastic news.
Mr. Bryant said that he had never seen events such to those that occurred before Wednesday’s Commons vote on fracking.
The 21-year-old MP claimed on the Today program on BBC Radio 4: “I have never seen scenes like that. Many other MPs have said the same, including Charles Walker, who said much the same thing last night.
Sincerely, this was the most astonishing spectacle I have ever seen. Moreover, even if it has occurred before, we are not the Italian parliament, and all of this is taking place as a result of the utter turmoil in the government. A government is nonexistent.
“And what will end up occurring day in and day out when the thread of government kind of breaks apart is that there will be full and utter anarchy.”
Later on in the evening, I had Tory MPs physically weep on my shoulder, including one whip.
They are at the stage of being completely frantic about what is happening, says the speaker.
After a 90-minute “shouting battle,” she fired Suella Braverman in a matter of hours and forced her Chief Whip to “resign.”
The former home secretary publicly attacked the prime minister, charging that she had broken important promises and wavered on issues like lower immigration that were included in the manifesto.
One of the PM’s cabinet allies said that it seemed hard for her to regain her power and remarked, “It seems like it’s finished.”
Senior Tory MPs were frantically debating Miss Truss’s removal plans, although the exact time and method are still unknown, as is the possibility of a successor.
Some MPs think she may have to quit by the weekend, perhaps even tonight, since her power is eroding so swiftly.
Following the market instability brought on by last month’s emergency Budget, Mr. Kwarteng was fired only five days before to Mrs. Braverman’s resignation.
The email she sent regarding immigration policy from her phone, according to a source, was a “clear infringement” of the ministerial code’s need to maintain secrecy.
Mrs. Braverman admitted the error yesterday night, but she insisted that the policy will soon be released and that MPs had already had a briefing on the majority of it.
A Whitehall insider said that the “trivial” incident looked to be used as a cover to get rid of a senior minister who had made no secret of her desire to continue in the leadership position.
According to the insider, “She’s certainly left because of a bust-up.” Like Penny Mordaunt, she was always a flight risk, but now she’s getting ready for what’s to come. According to two sources, the Home Secretary’s departure happened after a meeting between the two the night before to discuss immigration policies.
One person said that loud voices could be heard outside and characterized the 90-minute exchange as a “shouting battle.”
According to one source, Mrs. Braverman was incensed when she was told to loosen immigration restrictions in order to spur economic expansion and prove to the Office for Budget Responsibility that the Government’s economic plans made sense.
‘Are we simply going to rubbish every manifesto promise going,’ she allegedly replied to Miss Truss, calling the concept ‘crazy.’
As part of a significant economic agreement with India, Mrs. Braverman also disagreed with the PM over her proposal to loosen visa requirements. The potential of Mrs. Braverman making a speech of resignation in the Commons later today has Downing Street preparing for it.
According to reports, Miss Truss had originally intended to choose Mr. Javid as Home Secretary, a position he had held previously.
However, the disagreement over the briefing, which resulted in the suspension of Truss’ adviser Jason Stein, left the two parties in a standoff.
Some MPs think she may have to quit by the weekend, perhaps even tonight, since her power is eroding so swiftly.
According to Downing Street, Mrs. Braverman, the Home Secretary with the shortest tenure in recent times, resigned after breaking the ministerial code by emailing a classified document to a Tory MP.
However, some sources said that her departure came after a “fiery” 90-minute conversation between the two in No. 10 the night before, during which the Home Secretary cautioned the PM that relaxing immigration laws in order to spur economic development would be “crazy.” Last night, Mrs. Braverman wrote an explosive resignation letter in which she attacked the Prime Minister’s record and suggested that she resign.
Everyone can see that we are living in a turbulent moment, she wrote. “I’m worried about the way this government is going.” Not only have we breached important promises made to our supporters, but I have grave doubts about this government’s dedication to keeping promises made in the manifesto, including lowering overall migration rates.
According to Labour MP Chris Bryant, the Deputy Prime Minister and at least one other Cabinet member were directly engaged in’manhandling’ Conservative MPs to vote against Labour’s resolution to outlaw fracking.
The vote descended into turmoil as environment minister Graham Stuart confused the Commons by stating: “Quite plainly this is not a confidence vote” as the discussion came to a close.
This was a blatant denial of prior briefings from Conservative whips, who had said the vote was being handled as a “confidence motion” in Liz Truss’s troubled administration.
However, Mr. Stuart added: “That is an issue for party management, and I am not a party manager.” When Conservative MP Ruth Edwards (Rushcliffe) questioned if Conservatives who abstain or vote against the resolution would lose the party whip.
In the midst of absurd events in the House of Commons this evening, the Government rejected Labour’s attempt to prohibit fracking.
Government whips were accused of bullying; former Labour minister Chris Bryant said that several MPs had been “literally manhandled into another lobby and being intimidated.”
He claimed to have seen Jacob Rees-Mogg and Therese Coffey, as well as other MPs, “manhandling” Conservative MP Alex Stafford across the lobby.
However, Mr. Stafford then tweeted that “no-one pushes me about,” refuting Mr. Bryant’s account of what happened.
Therese Coffey’s allies have likewise refuted claims that she engaged in any “manhandling.”
Additionally refuting the allegations, Jacob Rees-Mogg said that there was just a “heated argument” and no bullying.
He stated: “Discussions were taking place, and there was a debate regarding the vote that was taking place. This was what usually takes on outside the division lobby.”
“I overheard one guy curse and utter an expletive… a Conservative, while coming into the division lobby, swear and kind of say, “Get on with it,” but he wasn’t addressing it to a specific person.
“I didn’t witness any bullying, and I didn’t see anybody being treated badly.”
After a “junior official” from No. 10 informed the Government front bench that the vote wasn’t for confidence, Mr. Rees-Mogg said there had been “confusion.”
“Nobody else knew about it.” The majority of members believed it to be a vote of confidence, he added.
Immediately after the announcement of the vote’s outcome, Mr. Bryant addressed the Speaker, saying, “I would encourage you to begin an inquiry into the events outside the lobby earlier.” Members are meant to be free to cast their votes without fear or favor, as you are aware.
And according to the behavior code adopted by the whole house, members will never be bullied or harassed.
I saw folks being violently dragged into another lobby and harassed.
“We have to end bullying in this chamber if we want to speak up against bullying in this home of our personnel.”
While Mr. Bryant was speaking, a number of Labour MPs seated behind him could be heard claiming that some of the Conservatives’ compelled voters were “weeping.”
In response to what had been stated in the chamber, he said, “In the area right before you walk into the no lobby, which is where the Tory whips were congregated, the MPs were plainly unsure whether they were authorized to vote with the Labour motion or against it.”
Several Cabinet members were part of a throng that was essentially yelling at them, and at least one of them was physically pushed through the entrance into the voting lobby.
“In our system, it is entirely out of order.”
Never in my life have I seen a member being violently pushed through a division lobby.
“Four members, I believe.” I am aware that the group also included Therese Coffey, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and other individuals.
The one gentleman who, in my opinion—he will have to speak for himself on this—was physically manhandled into the lobby as the group pushed ahead as a whole.
Alexander Stafford, the MP in question, was identified by him, although Mr. Stafford afterwards claimed on Twitter that “no one pushes me about.”
After whips threatened to pull the whip from any MP who didn’t vote against the motion, Liz Truss is known to have abstained tonight.
He stated that he will provide the Speaker and Deputy his images of the events in the lobby.
Additionally, Mr. Bryant said that there was “extremely aggressive” pointing prior to the alleged manhandling by MPs.
I’ve been an MP for 21 years, he said in conclusion. That, I’ve never seen.
After the chaotic vote, it was believed that Chief Conservative Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker had both resigned from their positions. According to various accounts, Ms. Morton stormed out of the lobby area, saying, “I’m no longer the Chief Whip,” and was followed by Liz Truss.
When questioned live on Sky News if the Chief Whip was still in office, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said that he was unsure.
Nearly two hours later, No. 10 announced that the Chief Whip and Deputy are still in their positions on Thursday night just before 10 p.m.
One depressed Cabinet insider said to MailOnline: “At this pace, I’ll be PM by Christmas.”
Since the day of her appointment, “the writing was on the wall” for Wendy.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Business Secretary, said that he was “not fully sure what the position is with chief whip.”
Meanwhile, Chris Walker, a 17-year Conservative MP, told the BBC that the situation was “inexcusable.” That speaks poorly of the Conservative Party.
When asked whether the government could go back, Mr. Walker said, “I don’t think so.”
This is a complete embarrassment, he said.
“I think it’s a mess and a disgrace,” you say. I’m furious.
“I hope it was worth it for all those people to put Liz Truss in No. 10,” they said. Because of the extraordinary harm they have caused to our party.
“I’ve had it.” I’m tired of seeing untalented individuals check the appropriate boxes, but only because it benefits them personally rather than the country.
Although Mr. Bryant’s assertions seem to be supported by many tweets from MPs in the lobby at the time, the former Culture Secretary referred to Mr. Bryant’s remarks as “nonsense.”
In an earlier attempt to quell the uprising, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted that local communities would have a “veto” over fracking in their region.
He said that municipal referendums in regions where fracking is planned are one alternative under discussion since the federal government would not be able to override community concerns.
There is an absolute local consent lock, Mr. Rees-Mogg said in a statement to Conservative lawmakers.
This House will vote on whatever proposal we put out, and any procedure to ascertain local approval must be conducted independently.
Although the Commons was informed that there were “extremely strong rumors” that Government Chief Whip Wendy Morton had quit, Labour’s motion was lost by 230 votes to 326, a margin of 96.
Suella Braverman resigned as home secretary only hours before the Chief Whip followed suit, sending Liz Truss’ administration into a broader, catastrophic implosion.
Ms. Braverman was dismissed from Westminster in yet another day of insanity for breaking procedure by sending an email from her personal account to a contact that included information about an announcement about immigration policy.
It’s unclear whether the prime minister requested her to quit or if she decided to do so on her own.
She also said that the administration was breaching pledges, which dealt another fatal blow to the PM’s prospects of remaining in office. She said that individuals should resign when they made “mistakes,” which Ms. Truss has acknowledged.
Ms. Truss swiftly replaced him with Rishi Sunak supporter Grant Shapps after responding with a considerably shorter letter that said it is “essential the Ministerial Code be respected.”
The Commons, however, subsequently became more convinced that the administration lacked direction. 40 MPs declined to support the government in a fracking vote, another indicator of the administration’s waning power.