Nadine Dorries, the former Culture Secretary, has become the most high profile Tory MP to demand an early general election.
She has challenged Liz Truss, arguing that “if she wants a whole new mandate, she must take to the country” and suggesting that the Prime Minister’s new policies are not what people voted for when the Conservative Party won its landslide victory in 2019.
The Mid Bedfordshire MP, who was an avid supporter and ally of Boris Johnson, also claimed Ms Truss had put her predecessor’s “three years of work” on hold - something she alleged on Twitter has caused “widespread dismay”.
It comes amidst the Tories’ annual conference, and just after Ms Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng have been forced to make a U-turn on their plans to scrap the top rate of income tax for the highest earners. This followed huge backlash from the public and experts alike, as well as a week of economic turmoil for the country.
Lashing out at the Prime Minister on Twitter, Ms Dorries complained that policies such as the privatisation of Channel 4, the Online Safety Bill and the review of the BBC Licence Fee - all of which have caused their fair share of controversy - have been shelved. She also added that these policies were all “signed off” by the Cabinet and “ready to go.” It is thought the Online Safety Bill will still go through Parliament, but the Government reportedly wants to make amendments.
Her words were in response to a tweet by The Mirror’s Lizzy Buchanan, who reported that Rachel Wolf, the co-author of Johnson’s winning 2019 Tory manifesto, has said Ms Truss “partly won the leadership race due to perceived loyalty to Boris Johnson - but this Government has now junked everything he stood for.”
The author also slammed the Government for having neither a “neither a democratic or Parliamentary mandate”.
On Sunday, Ms Truss was left speechless when Laura Kuenssberg asked her “how many people voted for your plan?”
The baffled Prime Minister asked “what do you mean by that?”, to which the BBC presenter explained: “You set out a significant change in direction from the Conservative government that you’ve been a part of for many, many years. How many people voted for you to do that?”
Ms Truss responded: “What people voted for in 2019 when they voted Conservative, sometimes for the first time in many years, is they voted for a different future. They voted for investment into their towns and cities, they voted for higher wages, they voted for economic growth.”
Ms Dorries’ condemnation may come as a surprise to some as she was a supporter of the new Prime Minister throughout the Tory leadership race, but she did refuse to serve in her Cabinet after Ms Truss’ victory over Rishi Sunak. She has been tipped to retire to the House of Lords after the next election.
The former Culture Secretary, whose successor Michelle Donelan is today [3 October] making a keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference, is not the only MP to have criticised Ms Truss’ latest actions.
Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove condemned the plans to abolish the 45p top income tax rate, saying the policy showed the “wrong values” and was “not Conservative”. Meanwhile, Teesside Mayor Ben Houchen, a supporter of Mr Sunak, warned that the 45p rate abolition had undone 15 years of work by the Tories to win over the Red Wall seats.