Politics as it happened: Liz Truss pledges not to reduce public spending in first PMQs since mini budget

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Liz Truss pledged not to reduce public spending in her first PMQs since her disastrous budget.

Sir Keir Starmer quizzed her on the mini budget and mortgage rates before asking about her pledge, during the Tory leadership campaign, that she would not reduce public spending. Responding, the Prime Minister said she “absolutely” would not

The markets were plunged into turmoil again as Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey warned there could be no further extension of the emergency market support beyond the end of the week.

“My message to the (pension) funds involved – you’ve got three days left now. You have got to get this done,” he said. “Part of the essence of a financial stability intervention is that it is clearly temporary.”

Following Mr Bailey’s remarks, sterling fell more than a cent against the dollar to its lowest rate since September 29. The pound was lower against both the dollar and euro on Wednesday morning amid continued unease among financial traders.

Follow our live blog below for the latest updates and analysis from NationalWorld reporters.

UK politics live - Bank of England to end emergency support within days

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The ban on fracking in England is set to be lifted, my colleague Matthew Mohan-Hickson reports.

A moratorium on drilling for shale gas has been in place since 2 November 2019.

The ban was introduced on the basis of a report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which found that it is not currently possible to accurately predict the probability or magnitude of earthquakes linked to fracking operations.

However Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg announced plans to lift the ban.

Labour: we will hang broken fracking promise around their necks

Labour has made clear it will attack Liz Truss’ government over allegedly breaking its manifesto promise over fracking.

The 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged not to lift England’s moratorium unless it was scientifically proven to be safe amid concerns over earthquakes.

A British Geological Survey review into its safety was commissioned, but its publication was delayed by the Queen’s death.

Raising an urgent question in the Commons, shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: “So, first, why doesn’t he admit the truth that anyone who knows anything about this subject says his claim that fracking will cut bills is nonsense.

“Next, let’s come to safety. The 2019 manifesto on which he and every member of the party opposite stood said this ‘we will not support fracking unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely’.

“He says in his written statement laid before this House, tolerating a higher degree of risk and disturbance appears to us to be in the national interest.

“I look forward to him and his colleagues explaining his charter for earthquakes to the people of Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands, Sussex, Dorset, and indeed Somerset will be part of his dangerous experiment.

“Let me tell the party opposite: we will hang this broken promise around their necks in every part of the country between now and the next general election.”

Prime Minister needs to establish how ‘local consent' for fracking will be given

New business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg is now facing fire from the Conservative benches.

Mark Menzies is the Tory MP for Fylde in Lancashire where there was strong local opposition to a Cuadrilla fracking site

He accused Mr Rees-Mogg of ignoring his letters and Whatsapps, which he sent to the cabinet minister’s PPS, and says Liz Truss needs to be clear about how local consent is given if she is to remain a woman of her word.

Responding to the business secretary’s suggestion that opposition was “ludditery”, Mr Menzies said: “There is nothing luddite about the people of Lancashire or of Fylde.

“I just want to start by saying how disappointed I am that Parliament was not informed about this before the media, and that as a local member of Parliament I was not given the courtesy despite having requested for two weeks contacting the honourable member to get information via his PPS, I’ve sent letters, I have sent WhatsApps, nothing back.”

He added: “Can we be crystal clear on one thing? The Prime Minister at the Manchester hustings … made it crystal clear, no ifs, not buts, no caveats, that fracking would only take place in the United Kingdom where there was local consent.

“Crystal clear. So, if the Prime Minister is to remain a woman of her word, a woman that we can believe in, which I believe she is, can the Secretary of State outline how that local consent will be given and demonstrated?”

Interest rates increased to 2.25%

UK interest rates will rise to 2.25% following today’s meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), my colleague Matt Brooks reports.

Following a 0.5 percentage point increase last time around, the Bank of England has pushed up rates at the same rate once again from 1.75%.

The announcement, pushed back after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, will impact people’s finances, not least those with mortgages, as the Bank of England looks to get a grip on inflation.

And rates will likely rise again in November and December - hitting 3% by the end of the year.

This could be bad news for the Government, which is looking to borrow more to fund the array of tax cuts new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is set to announce tomorrow.

Downing Street declined to comment on interest rates rise

Downing Street declined to comment on the Bank of England’s decision to raise the interest base rate from 1.75% to 2.25%.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said: “That is obviously a matter for the independent Bank of England.

“I would point you to the support that we’ve set out to help people with the cost of living, which we know is a concern for families and businesses across the country.

“I’d point you to the support that we’re providing and the immediate assistance we’ve provided for energy bills in particular.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg claims some of the opposition to fracking has been funded by Putin

There have been stories widely reported that some of the opposition to fracking has been funded by President Putin’s regime, Jacob Rees-Mogg has said.

His comments came as Labour’s Cat Smith (Lancaster and Fleetwood) told him in the Commons that “there is no public support for fracking”.

The Business Secretary replied: “I’m well aware that there have been objections to fracking, but I would also note that there have been stories widely reported that some of the opposition to … fracking has been funded by Mr Putin’s regime.”

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband later tweeted: “Absolutely outrageous slur by Jacob Rees-Mogg that people who object to fracking are funded by Putin. Shameful and disgraceful.”

Jim Pickard, of the FT, reports that the claim was originally made by a Nato secretary general in 2014, however environmental website DeSmog stated there was no evidence to support this.

National insurance increase to be reversed, the Chancellor confirms

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed the national insurance increase which came into effect in April will be reversed from November 6.

In a tweet that appears to pre-empt Friday’s mini-budget, he said: “I can confirm that this year’s 1.25% point rise in National Insurance will be reversed on 6th November.

“Its replacement – the Health and Social Care Levy planned for April 23 – will be cancelled.”

Mr Kwarteng added: “Taxing our way to prosperity has never worked. To raise living standards for all, we need to be unapologetic about growing our economy.

“Cutting tax is crucial to this – and whether businesses reinvest freed-up cash into new machinery, lower prices on shop floors or increased staff wages, the reversal of the levy will help them grow, whilst also allowing the British public to keep more of what they earn.”

The 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance was announced by former chancellor Rishi Sunak to help fund health and social care.

Fresh rail strikes announced by RMT

Fresh rail strikes will take place next month, a union has announced.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) announced that 40,000 of its members at Network Rail and 15 train operators will walk out on 8 October.

Rail strikes are already planned on 1 and 5 October, threatening fresh travel chaos for passengers next month.

More than 40,000 RMT members will go on strike on 8 October.

Truss faces backlash from own MPs over end to fracking ban

Liz Truss faces a political backlash after lifting England’s fracking ban, with anger from Tory MPs and the threat that opposition parties will use the excuse to drum up support in key electoral battlegrounds.

Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said the impact of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine means securing domestic energy supplies is vital.

The moratorium on fracking had been in place since 2019 following a series of earth tremors and Conservatives representing seats in northern England hit out at the move to end it, which breaks a Tory manifesto promise.

East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight told Mr Rees-Mogg that forecast earthquakes as a result of fracking remained a challenge for experts, adding: “The safety of the public is not a currency in which some of us choose to speculate.”

After Mr Rees-Mogg suggested it was “sheer Ludditery” to oppose fracking, Fylde’s Tory MP Mark Menzies shot back: “There’s nothing Luddite about the people of Lancashire or Fylde.”

He demanded to know how consent would be sought for developments, but Mr Rees-Mogg suggested it would be for fracking firms to offer compensation packages to “make what they are proposing to do welcome to local communities”.

Boris Johnson inadvertently thanks Vladimir Putin for ‘inspirational leadership’

Boris Johnson made a significant verbal slip-up as he thanked Vladimir Putin instead of Volodymyr Zelensky for his “inspirational leadership”.

In his first major contribution as a backbench MP during a Commons debate, the Conservative former prime minister said it is important to “double down in our defence of the Ukrainians” if Mr Putin doubles down on his “aggression”.

As he listed the reasons why Ukraine’s counter-offensive is proving to be successful, though, Mr Johnson inadvertently thanked Mr Putin for his “inspirational leadership”, before quickly correcting himself and thanking Mr Zelensky.

He said: “Thanks to the heroism of the Ukrainian armed forces, thanks in part to the weapons that we are proud to be offering, I congratulate my right honourable friend (James Heappey) on his description of the work of the UK armed forces, the weapons that we’re sending, the huge list…

“Thanks also, of course, to the inspirational leadership of Vladimir Putin…”

Mr Johnson immediately realised his mistake and added: “The inspirational leadership of Volodymyr Zelensky, forgive me, the Russian forces have, in recent days been expelled from large parts of the north-east of the country around Kharkiv.

“And they are under increasing pressure in Kherson in the south, and I have no doubt whatever that the Ukrainians will win.”

Mr Johnson’s slip-up came during a general debate on the situation in Ukraine.

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