Rishi Sunak has brought Dominic Raab and Suella Braverman back into the Cabinet as he starts his tenure as Prime Minister.
In his first speech as Prime Minister he said there are “difficult decisions to come”. The former Chancellor said that “mistakes were made” under the premiership of Liz Truss, and said he had been elected by MPs, in part, to “fix those”. Earlier today, Truss held held her final Cabinet meeting and gave a farewell speech in Downing Street before formally tendering her resignation to Charles at Buckingham Palace.
Sunak then began with his cabinet reshuffle. One of the major points was the comeback of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary, six days after she resigned for breaking the Ministerial Code in the role. Jeremy Hunt also remained as Chancellor, while Michael Gove returned as Levelling Up Secretary
Follow our politics live blog for all the latest news and analysis from the NationalWorld team.
Live: Rishi Sunak appoints his Cabinet
Truss to face Starmer
Truss is preparing for a major clash with Sir Keir Starmer on Wednesday after being forced to U-turn on her entire economic strategy.
She will face the Labour leader in Prime Minister’s Questions at midday for the first time since her new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ripped up her plan for tax cuts and increased public borrowing.
It comes as the Prime Minister faces disquiet from Tory MPs over plans for public spending cuts across all departments, after Mr Hunt warned of decisions of “eye-watering difficulty” to plug the Government’s multibillion-pound financial black hole.
Foreign Secretary warns against leadership contest
The Foreign Secretary has warned restless Tory MPs against “defenestrating” another Prime Minister as he suggested a leadership contest would neither win the hearts of the British public nor calm the markets.
James Cleverly, a prominent supporter of Liz Truss throughout her campaign for PM, insisted “the plan is not to make mistakes” but “they do happen”.
His comments come after Truss’s authority was hammered by a raft of humiliating U-turns to quell the fallout following the mini-budget.
Cleverly said he understands why people are “frustrated” with the Tory leader, adding that dire polls for the party are obviously “disconcerting” for the government.
Calls grow for Truss to resign
Calls are growing for Liz Truss to resign as Prime Minister or call a general election following last month’s disastrous mini-budget.
Michael Gove: ‘matter of time’ before Truss is ousted
Former Cabinet minister Michael Gove has said it is a matter of time before Liz Truss is ousted as Prime Minister and warned the UK public to expect “a hell of a lot of pain in the next two months”.
One of the factors keeping Truss in office, despite being forced to abandon the economic platform that got her elected as party leader, is the lack of an obvious successor.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly suggested those who ousted Boris Johnson did not have a plan for what to do next and many are now turning on the new PM.
He told Sky News: “What I’m not convinced by – far, far from convinced by – is that going through another leadership campaign, defenestrating another prime minister, will either convince the British people that we’re thinking about them rather than ourselves, or convince the markets to stay calm and ensure things like those bond yields and gilt yields start coming back down.
“Being angry, again, I totally get it. But that’s an emotional response, it’s not a plan.”
‘Last chance saloon’ for Truss
Steve Double has said Liz Truss is in the “last chance saloon” and will likely have to stand down “quite soon”.
The MP for St Austell and Newquay is the latest Conservative MP to publicly question her position as Prime Minister.
He told Times Radio: “I think her position is becoming increasingly untenable.
“I think it’s becoming abundantly clear when you look at the loss of confidence in her as Prime Minister from the general public, and increasingly I think the loss of confidence in her from the parliamentary party, that we are going to get to the point where she really does have to consider her position and for the good of the country, step aside, and I think we will probably come to that place quite soon.”
Fracking vote is ‘confidence motion in the government'
One important vote going through the House of Commons today is an opposition day debate tabled by Labour to ban fracking for shale gas.
These votes are usually just symbolic, and the government ensures they get voted down by whipping MPs. However this one has the potential to be trouble for Liz Truss given so many Tory members oppose fracking.
Kevin Schofield, from HuffPost UK, is reporting that the government whips are saying it is effectively “a confidence motion in the government”.
A leaked memo from deputy chief whip Craig Whittaker says: “The second debate [fracking ban] is the main event today and is 100% a hard three line whip!
“This is not a motion on fracking. This is a confidence motion in the government.
“We cannot, under any circumstances, let the Labour Party take control of the order paper and put through their own legislation and whatever other bits of legislation they desire.
“We are voting NO and I reiterate, this is a hard three line whip and all slips withdrawn.”
A three line whip means MPs have to vote with the government, otherwise they could have the whip withdrawn. This would mean they would stand as an independent MP in Parliament, instead of representing the Conservative Party.
It’s a clever move from Labour, as many Tory MPs represent areas which deeply opposed fracking and will not want to vote against this bill. If they do, it’s an easier attack line for Labour at the next general election.
MPs vote to bring in buffer zones outside abortion clinics
MPs have voted in favour of nationwide buffer zones outside abortion clinics in England and Wales in a “huge victory” for campaigners, my colleague Imogen Howse reports.
Under the proposed new law, harassing, obstructing, or confronting women and staff entering an abortion clinic or hospital would become a criminal offence. Protesters found guilty of breaching a zone, which will be in force for 150m around the clinic in question, could face up to six months in jail.
The amendment to the government’s Public Order Bill, which was put forward by Labour MP Stella Creasy to legislate for buffer zones, was yesterday (18 October) backed by MPs by 297 to 110. It still has to go through several other stages before becoming a law, including scrutiny in the House of Lords, but campaign groups are “delighted” that progress is being made.
Sister Supporter, a pro-choice, anti-harassment organisation that achieved the first local buffer zone outside a clinic in Ealing, London in 2018, has long been rallying for a “national solution” to this “national problem.” A spokesperson for the group told NationalWorld: “We could not be more elated at the news that MPs have voted for an amendment to the Public Order Bill that will end intimidation and harassment outside abortion clinics across England and Wales.
“This will end the postcode lottery, and ensure that women and pregnant people are able to access healthcare in dignity and privacy.”
Former Prime Minister Theresa May and Leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt were among those backing the buffer zones, while Home Secretary Suella Braverman and fellow cabinet ministers Jacob Rees-Mogg and Kemi Badenoch voted against it. MPs were given a free vote on the issue due to it being a matter of conscience.
Sir Keir Starmer asks if Liz Truss will be out by Christmas. The PM says she only been in office for two months, but cites her energy policy and crackdown on unions, which is yet to be passed, as successes.
Starmer rushing through his questions
The Labour leader says Truss ignored every question in last PMQs and criticised Labour's plan to put a six-month freeze on energy bills. He now says Truss has made it her policy. Starmer asks: "How can she be held to account when not in charge?"
Truss says: "I had to take the decision because of the economic situation to adjust our policies. I am somebody who is prepared to front up, I'm prepared to take the tough decisions, unlike the honourable gentleman [Starmer].”
Starmer: ‘What’s the point of a prime minister whose promises don’t even last a week?'
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked: “What’s the point of a prime minister whose promises don’t even last a week?”
He said: “Last week the Prime Minister stood there and promised absolutely no spending reductions, they all cheered. This week the Chancellor announced a new wave of cuts. What’s point of a prime minister whose promises don’t even last a week?”
Liz Truss replied: “Well I can assure (him) that spending will go up next year and it will go up the year after, but of course we need to get value for taxpayers’ money.
“The Labour Party has pledged hundreds of billions of spending pledges, none of which they’ve retracted, (he) needs to reflect the economy reality in his policies.”