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Liz Truss warned she has hours to save her job as British prime minister

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Liz Truss warned she has hours to save her job as British prime minister


London
CNN

Liz Truss was fighting to save her job as Britain’s prime minister Thursday after more of her own lawmakers called for her to quit, incensed by a shambolic parliamentary vote and the resignation of her home secretary.

Truss was meeting with the chair of the 1922 Committee of the backbench Conservatives, Graham Brady, Downing Street said on Thursday, according to PA Media. The group decides whether to call a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.

Truss’s government was earlier told it had “12 hours” to “turn the ship around” by Conservative lawmaker Simon Hoare, after a vote on whether to ban controversial fracking for shale gas descended into chaos.

Lawmakers reported that aides for Truss manhandled MPs into the voting lobby to force them to vote against the ban. The government initially presented the vote as a confidence motion in Truss’s government, but confusion remains about whether it was. A Downing Street spokesperson said on Thursday that Conservative lawmakers who did not participate in Wednesday evening’s vote will face disciplinary action, PA Media said.

The speaker of the UK’s House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle has launched an inquiry into allegations of bullying and harassment during the vote, PA reported.

The chaos came hours after Suella Braverman, Truss’ home secretary, dramatically resigned just seven weeks into her job with a blistering attack on the PM’s leadership.

“The business of government relies on people accepting responsibility for their mistakes. Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics,” Braverman wrote in a critique of Truss’s numerous U-turns on taxes and public spending.

“I have concerns about the direction of this government,” Braverman said. “Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have serious concerns about this Government’s commitment to honoring manifesto commitments.”

Truss, who fired her finance minister just last week after a disastrous and since-ditched financial plan caused turmoil on the markets, must now focus on getting to the weekend without her own MPs moving to oust her.

Backbencher Crispin Blunt told BBC Radio 4 on Thursday that Truss’ position is “wholly untenable,” adding that she has shown a “lack of self-knowledge” in this process.

“And if she doesn’t understand that then I would be amazed,” Blunt said. “But one of the qualities she has shown is a lack of self-knowledge to this whole process, because it ought to have been clear that she did not have the capacity to lead our party and I don’t think she should have put herself up for the leadership in the first place.”

At least two Conservative lawmakers have confirmed they have submitted letters of no confidence, although many more are believed to have done so in private. “I had high hopes for Liz Truss but after what happened last night her position has become untenable and I have submitted a letter to Sir Graham Brady,” Sheryll Murray wrote on Twitter on Thursday, following her colleague William Wragg in publicly declaring her letter.

“This is an absolute disgrace,” Charles Walker added to the BBC on Wednesday. “As a Tory MP of 17 years who’s never been a minister, who’s got on with it loyally most of the time I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I think it is utterly appalling.”

Truss will face a vote of confidence if the influential 1922 Committee of backbenchers changes its rules to enable one so soon after the leadership vote, but previous prime ministers have been pressured to resign before facing the humiliation of a successful ballot to oust them.

Earlier this year, Truss’s predecessor Boris Johnson narrowly survived a confidence vote in his leadership. But he resigned weeks later when dozens of ministers and members of the government resigned, citing a lack of confidence in his government.

Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labor Party which is enjoying a huge lead in opinion polls, repeated his calls for an early general election on Thursday. “Britain can’t afford the Tories’ chaos,” he wrote on Twitter. “My Labor government will provide the stability and leadership needed. For our economy. For growth. For working people. General Election, now.”

A vote does not need to be called until January 2025 at the latest, but the prospect of Britain seeing its third prime minister since the last poll in 2019 would heap pressure on Truss’ successor to ask the public for a new mandate.

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