LivePolitics live: Liz Truss accused of ‘throwing Kwarteng under the bus’ over tax cuts as Tory conference begins

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

The Tory Party conference is under way, with Liz Truss facing an uphill struggle to win over her own MPs as a mood of open revolt descends on the event in Birmingham.

In an interview on Sunday morning, the prime minister admitted that “we should have laid the ground better” over the mini budget which has caused market turmoil over the past week.

Appearing on the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg show, she also revealed that she had not discussed abolishing the 45p rate of tax with her cabinet. The interview has raised the question of whether there’s a rift between the PM and her chancellor, who she said made the decision for the controversial tax cut.

As the Conservatives arrive in Birmingham for their annual party conference, it remains to be seen how backbench MPs, the party membership, the general public and the financial markets will respond to Truss’ latest comments. Her keynote speech is on Wednesday.

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

UK politics live - Tory conference in Birmingham amid market turmoil

Last updated: Sunday, 02 October, 2022, 17:21

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Anger over appointment of Tory donor as trade minister

There’s fresh controversy for Liz Truss this evening, after the government website gov.uk quietly announced the appointment of a Tory donor and former business partner of Jacob Rees-Mogg as a trade minister.

Dominic Johnson has given hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Tories, and will be made a life peer and sit in the House of Lords.

Dominic Johnson is a city financier and former business partner of Jacob Rees-Mogg (Image: gov.uk)

‘Highly unlikely’ that Putin will use nuclear weapons - Ben Wallace

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he thought it “highly unlikely” that Vladimir Putin would use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict.

He told a Tory conference fringe event that while the use of tactical nuclear weapons was in the Russian military doctrine “we think it is highly unlikely he will do it”.

The Russian President recently warned the West that Russia will use all available methods to defend its borders, saying, "It's not a bluff."

Mick Lynch: ‘we are in the middle of a class struggle'

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch told a rally in Birmingham that “we are in the middle of a class struggle”.

“We pay tax to support our people not to subsidise the rich. The rich should be subsidising us,” he told protesters gathered in the city centre, where the Tory conference was getting under way.

“Ordinary men and women have got to understand we are in the middle of a class struggle now.”

Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) speaks to the crowd at a rally in Victoria Square

He also said the last six months had shown “the decadence and corruption of the ruling class” and that the Government was “acting in the interests of their people”.

To loud cheers, he said: “We’re going to change this country, we’re going to change society.”

Mobile phone numbers of Liz Truss and cabinet ministers ‘on sale on website for £6.49'

The personal mobile phone numbers of Liz Truss and 25 other Cabinet ministers are for sale over the internet after being stolen by hackers, it has been reported.

The Mail on Sunday said the stolen numbers appeared on a US website which charges just £6.49 for a week’s access to its searchable database. Among those listed, the paper said, were Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

The numbers of seven members of the Labour shadow cabinet, including party leader Sir Keir Starmer, were also said to be available.

The disclosure raises concerns that the security of ministers may be compromised, with foreign intelligence agencies able to access and exploit the information.

The government declined to comment directly on the report, although a spokesman said they were aware that such sites existed although much of the data on them was “old and incorrect”. The spokesman added that ministers were given regular security briefings on how to protect their personal data.

The Mail on Sunday said the website – which it did not name – claimed to have more than 14 billion files of “compromised assets” stolen in cyberattacks dating back more than a decade.

Jacob Rees-Mogg booed on arrival at Tory conference

Jacob Rees-Mogg was booed loudly by hundreds of protesters in Birmingham.

Jacob Rees-Mogg is escorted by police at the Conservative Party annual conference (PA)

The Business Secretary was escorted by several police officers as he walked across Victoria Square, where demonstrators had gathered to vent their anger at the government as the Tory conference gets under way in the city.

The crowd pursued him, jeering and booing, with some shouting “Tory scum”.

Demonstrators furious at Truss’s economic plan are carrying signs reading “unelected, unaccountable, unhinged” and “wages up, bills down, Tories out”.

Police officers hold back members of the public as Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives (PA)

Senior Tory: Truss needs to turn polls around ‘quickly’ if she wants to continue as PM

A senior Conservative MP has said Liz Truss needs to rapidly regain the confidence of the public and of the markets if she is to lead the party into the next general election.

Mel Stride, the chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, said the party will be in “hugely difficult waters” if that does not happen.

Asked on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme about Truss’s prospects of leading the party into the election, he said: “For that to happen I think it is fair to say that we have to fairly quickly move to a place where the polls are beginning to turn around, where the markets are feeling the Government is behaving fiscally responsibly and they are gaining in confidence, the pressure on the pound is being released somewhat and bond yields are not soaring off.”

Stride criticised Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget, saying: “I do think there are some very difficult optics, at the very least, around having the 45p rate (of tax) abolished and then seeking reductions, for example, in the welfare.”

Nadine Dorries says PM ‘threw Chancellor under a bus'

Nadine Dorries has attacked Liz Truss for “throwing your Chancellor under a bus” after the Prime Minister said the abolition of the 45% tax rate on earnings over £150,000 was a decision made by Kwasi Kwarteng.

The former culture secretary, a staunch ally of Truss’s predecessor in No 10, tweeted: “One of (Boris Johnson’s) faults was that he could sometimes be too loyal and he got that.

“However, there is a balance and throwing your Chancellor under a bus on the first day of conference really isn’t it. (Fingers crossed) things improve and settle down from now.”

We had only just noticed that Dorries’ Twitter account has been reactivated after she recently deleted it.

Rachel Reeves: PM’s growth plan is a ‘mad experiment with the UK economy’

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said the Prime Minister failed to understand the “anxiety and fear” felt by people facing huge increases in their mortgage repayments as a result of the Government’s mini-budget.

Reeves rubbished claims that Truss’ growth plan would deliver the annual 2.5% trend rate of growth Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is aiming for.

“The Prime Minister just doesn’t seem to understand the anxiety and fear. This is a crisis made in Downing Street but it is ordinary working people who are paying the price,” she told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

“The idea that trickle-down economics is somehow going to deliver the 2.5% growth we all want to see is for the birds.

“The Prime Minister and the Chancellor are doing some sort of mad experiment with the UK economy and trickle down economics. It has failed before and it will fail again.”

Michael Gove: cutting tax for the richest is a display of ‘the wrong values’

Former cabinet minister Michael Gove was one of the studio guests on Laura Kuenssberg’s show, and he’s clearly enjoying making Truss’ life as difficult as possible right now.

Michael Gove (left) looks on as Liz Truss is interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg (Image: PA)

Speaking after the PM’s interview, he said there were “two major things” that were problematic with the mini budget plan: “The first is the sheer risk of using borrowed money to fund tax cuts. That’s not Conservative.

“The second thing is the decision to cut the 45p rate (of income tax) and indeed at the same time to change the law which governs how bankers are paid in the City of London.

“Ultimately, at a time when people are suffering,and you are quite right to point out the concerns people have not just over mortgages but over benefits, when you have additional billions of pounds in play, to have as your principle decision, the headline tax move, cutting tax for the wealthiest, that is a display of the wrong values.”

Pressed on whether he would vote for the measures in the Commons, he said: “I don’t believe it’s right.”

Gove is expected at several fringe events around the Tory conference this week, and he could well become a thorn in the PM’s side.

A rift between the PM and chancellor?

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng appear to have taken the decisions behind the mini budget without the approval of the cabinet, but the PM did seem to distance herself from her chancellor when asked about reports that he attended a champagne party with city financiers.

She said Kwarteng “meets business people all the time” when asked about his attendance of a private reception with hedge fund managers who stood to gain from a collapse in sterling following his mini-budget.

The Prime Minister told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme: “The Chancellor meets business people all the time, that’s his job. I do not manage Kwasi Kwarteng’s diary, believe me.”

Pressed on whether it would have been better if he had not gone as people are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, Truss said: “I get up every morning as Prime Minister thinking how can we make our country more successful, how can we reassure people, how can we help people get through these very difficult times and we do face difficult times…

“And that’s what I’m focused on. That’s what the Chancellor is focused on and that is what the whole Cabinet is focused on.”

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