UK’s Truss tells booing MPs she’s not a ‘pusher’

UK’s Truss tells booing MPs she’s not a ‘pusher’


British Prime Minister Liz Truss insisted she would not resign on Wednesday as she faced questions from booed MPs at her first Question Time since abandoning her disastrous economic policy with tax cuts.

Truss faced hostile scrutiny from opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer, who asked the House of Commons: “What good is a Prime Minister whose promises don’t live up to a week?”

Starmer taunted Truss by rousing his deputies into chants of “Gone, Gone!” as he read a list of their dropped policies. “Why is she still here?” he concluded.

Truss defiantly replied, “I’m a fighter, not a quitter,” insisting that “I’m someone who’s willing to go forward. I’m willing to make the tough decisions.”

She emphasized: “I acted in the national interest to ensure that we have economic stability.”

The meeting came less than 48 hours after the new Treasury Secretary Jeremy Hunt dismembered Truss’s flagship tax plans in a humiliating blow. He sat at her side in Parliament and nodded to her answers.

While slamming Truss for conducting “an economic experiment on the British public”, Starmer dismissively said: “How could she be held accountable if she’s not in charge?”

At least five Conservative MPs have publicly called for their replacement in the face of catastrophic popularity ratings.

Polls show Truss’ personal and party ratings have fallen, with YouGov saying on Tuesday that she has become – within six weeks of taking power – the most unpopular leader she has ever stalked.

A separate poll of party members found that less than two months after their Tory leader and prime minister was elected, a majority now think she should leave.

However, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly defended Truss on Sky News on Wednesday, saying he was “far, far from convinced” that “defeating another Prime Minister will either convince the British people that we are thinking of him or the markets will convince to remain calm “.

Meanwhile, the main Labor opposition has built huge poll leads over the ruling Conservatives amid the recent fallout and the deepening cost-of-living crisis, which has seen inflation soar to more than 10 percent on Wednesday on the back of soaring food prices.

More than three-quarters of people disapprove of the government — the highest in 11 years, YouGov said.

– ‘Difficult Choices’ –

The government’s mini-budget of September 23 – which cut a host of taxes without curbing spending – sent bond yields higher and sterling to a record dollar low amid fears the UK’s debt to shoot up.

Truss made two U-turns last week, scrapping proposed tax cuts for the wealthiest and corporate profits, and sacking her close ally Kwasi Kwarteng as finance minister.

After appointing Hunt as his successor, she agreed to further reverse course, scrapping almost all other cuts and partially scaling back energy price support for consumers.

A cost ceiling was set for two years, but now ends for many next April.

Hunt’s warnings of more “obvious cuts” led to reports that the government could stop indexing current pensions to inflation and instead use revenue as a benchmark, breaking a manifesto and dividing MPs.

Truss said in Parliament she would maintain the commitment.

During the summer leadership campaign, in which Truss defeated former Treasury Chancellor Rishi Sunak to succeed ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, she vowed not to cut public spending.

But after the economic turmoil of recent weeks caused government lending rates to soar, Truss and Hunt have warned of “difficult choices” and urged government agencies to find savings.

Opposition parties are calling for their resignation and new elections are being held, which are only two years away.

“Will she do the right thing and call general elections?” Labor MP Sarah Owen asked in Parliament.

Under current party rules, Truss cannot be challenged by a vote of no confidence in her first year, but speculation has been rife the rules could be changed to allow for a vote.

Conservative lawmakers have so far failed to rally around a candidate to replace her, with Johnson and Sunak both touted but both likely to draw significant opposition from factions within the party.

More to explorer