Jeremy Hunt statement live: new Chancellor addresses Commons after Liz Truss misses urgent question

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The new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced that universal help with energy bills will only last until April, in a huge shake up of Liz Truss’ economic policies.

He gave a public speech from 11am and will address the House of Commons soon. All of Truss’ 1p cuts to tax rates were scrapped, and Hunt announced the full energy price guarantee would only last until April. The Chancellor said there would then be a review to target support.

Truss missed an urgent question of the Prime Minister from Labour as “she was detained on urgent business”. Three Tory MPs have publicly called for her to resign, with more likely to follow.

Follow our politics live blog for all the latest news and analysis from the NationalWorld team.

Politics live: U-turns on Truss’ economics plan

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PM addresses One Nation group during Downing Street drinks reception

Liz Truss has addressed the One Nation group during a drinks reception held for cabinet members of Tory MPs in Downing Street this evening.

The One Nation group is a centrist collective of MPs, with the group having been revived during Boris Johnson’s time in power.

Speaking to the group, the Prime Minister was said to have apologised for the chaos of the past few weeks, despite her party and herself repeatedly refusing to say sorry to the public during Truss’ press conference post-Kwarteng sacking and during Urgent Questions earlier today.

The Prime Minister’s press secretary said: “The Prime Minister said she was sorry for some of the mistakes that have been made over the last few weeks.”

He added that Truss told the group that “we tried to do too much too quickly”, after newly-appointed Chancellor Jeremy Hunt largely reversed many policies from the controversial mini-budget.

Liz Truss’ absence during Urgent Question debate explained

It has been reported that Liz Truss was absent for the Urgent Questions debate prior to the Chancellor’s address as she was meeting with 1922 Committee chair Sir Graham Brady.

The PM’s lack of appearance at the debate, which was scheduled after Labour submitted an urgent question to the chamber, was on the minds of all MPs in the room.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer opened the session stating that “the lady’s not for turning - up” in reference to the no-show from Truss.

Commons leader Penny Mordaunt led the session for the Conservatives and repeatedly told MPs questioning the PM’s whereabout that she has an “urgent situation” she was attending to, however never specifically said where Truss was.

Number 10 sources have now confirmed that Truss was meeting with Sir Graham Brady.

The powerful 1922 Committee, which Brady leads, is best-known for its role in votes of no confidence, leading many to believe that the PM was attending crisis talks.

However, sources have claimed that the “private” meeting was “pre-planned”.

Truss later joined the frontbench for the Chancellor’s statement before hurriedly exiting the chamber shortly after.

New poll would leave the Conservatives with just 22 MPs

The Twitter profile Election Maps UK has mapped out what that Redfield & Wilton poll would mean in terms of seats.

The results are quite astonishing, and would leave the Tories with just 22 MPs - the fourth party in Parliament.

Labour would be left with 515 seats, a majority of 380.

The full results:

  • Labour 515 (+313)
  • Lib Dem 47 (+36)
  • SNP: 42 (-6)
  • Conservative 22 (-343)
  • Plaid Cymru 4 (=)
  • Green 1 (=)

New poll puts Labour 36 points ahead

A new Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll has given Labour a lead of 36 percentage points, the biggest poll lead for any party by any polling company since 1997.

Taken on October 16, the poll finds:

  • Labour 56% (+3)
  • Conservative 20% (-4)
  • Lib Dems 11% (-2)
  • Green 5% (+2)
  • SNP 4% (–)
  • Reform UK 2% (–)
  • Other 1% (-2)
A Redfield & Wilton poll has put Labour 36 points ahead of the Tories. Credit: Redfield & Wilton StrategiesA Redfield & Wilton poll has put Labour 36 points ahead of the Tories. Credit: Redfield & Wilton Strategies
A Redfield & Wilton poll has put Labour 36 points ahead of the Tories. Credit: Redfield & Wilton Strategies

Ms Reeves said people will be “paying a Tory mortgage premium for years to come”, adding: “Does the Chancellor accept that once credibility and trust have been destroyed, it cannot simply be regained by a series of zig-zagging, chaotic U-turns? Will he and the Prime Minister apologise for the costs and anxieties laid on families?

“Can he admit once and for all that the market turmoil we are in was directly caused by the disastrous decisions of his predecessor and of the Prime Minister?”

Ms Reeves questioned why the Government has not abolish non-dom tax status in a bid to raise £3 billion a year.

She also said there is “lasting damage which these policy U-turns won’t change”, adding: “They’ve set fire to everything. Now they insist it is all fine. The truth is an arsonist is still an arsonist, even if he runs back into the burning building with a bucket of water.

“Because they can’t be trusted. The Tories are clinging on for themselves regardless of the cost to the country.”

Reeves: Hunt was part of ‘austerity season one'

Rachel Reeves takes a barb at Jeremy Hunt’s role in the coalition Government’s programme of austerity.

She says that he was part of “austerity season one” and that the UK is heading towards “austerity season two”.

Reeves also makes the point that in his Tory leadership campaign, Hunt wanted to cut corporation tax even further without saying how it was paid for.

She said the economy would have crashed further if Hunt was PM.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves responds

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves starts by quipping: “As I regularly say now, I welcome the new chancellor - the fourth in four months,”

She says: “The damage has been done. This is a crisis made in Downing Street - but ordinary people are paying the price.

“It is good to see the prime minister, and not as the Leader of the House of Commons had to reassure us, under the desk.

“She has no authority, no credibility... the people who caused the chaos cannot fix the chaos.”

How long can Liz Truss stay in office?

Liz Truss’ authority is crumbling by the minute as her own MPs plot to replace her and polls continue to swing towards Labour. My colleague Imogen Howse asks how long can she remain in office?

Following the economic crisis provoked by former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini budget, Tory MPs seem to have turned against Truss - with several of them publicly calling for her to hand in her resignation. But surprisingly, it is not just the opposition or Conservative Party backbenchers who are undermining her position as leader - the Prime Minister has now been humiliated by her own Cabinet too.

Today (17 October), new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ditched “almost all the tax measures” from the government’s mini budget, and in doing so, scrapped the economic ethos Truss pushed during her leadership campaign and taken away one of the key arguments she has used to ward off attacks from the Labour Party and other critics over the past few weeks.

Truss’ leading pledge, and the one that differentiated her from her rival Rishi Sunak, was to slash taxes. Her own Chancellor has backtracked on this. Likewise, amidst attacks from all angles in recent weeks regarding her fiscal decisions, Truss has frequently used her energy price plan as her main rebuttal - and praised it as the government’s key success. But this too has disappeared, with Hunt announcing that the price cap will only be universal until April 2023, and not for two years as was originally promised.

So what does all of this mean for the Prime Minister’s future, and how long is she likely to stay in office?

New economic advisory council

The Chancellor has announced the formation of a new economic advisory council to provide “more independent expert advice” to the Government.

Jeremy Hunt told the Commons he “fully” supports the “vital, independent” roles of the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility.

However, he added: “But I also want more independent expert advice as I start my journey as Chancellor. So, I’m announcing today the formation of a new economic advisory council to do just that.

“This council will advise the Government on economic policy with four names announced today. Rupert Harrison, former chief of staff to the chancellor of the Exchequer, Gertjan Vlieghe from Element Capital, Sushil Wadhwani of Wadhwani Asset Management and Karen Ward of JP Morgan.”

Hunt criticises lack of OBR forecast

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the UK has faced “short-term difficulties” caused by the lack of an Office for Budget Responsibility forecast alongside the so-called mini-budget.

Speaking in the Commons, he said: “I want to be completely frank about the scale of the economic challenge we face. We have had short-term difficulties caused by the lack of an OBR forecast alongside the mini-budget.

“But there are also inflationary and interest pressures around the world.”

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