Tory party conference live: Liz Truss’s popularity ratings plunge to below record low for Boris Johnson – as Tory faithful queue for seats for her keynote speech as PM tries to reunite feuding party
Follow MailOnline’s live coverage of the final day of the Conservative Party conference today as Liz Truss prepares to address warring Tories.
Bad news for Liz Truss ahead of her landmark conference speech – a new YouGov poll says she is less popular than Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn ever were during their respective party leaderships.
The public did not respond well to Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget and she has struggled to win voters back in the last few weeks.
Can the PM make an impact with her speech today? Follow for more coverage and reaction as she takes to the stage at the Tory conference at 11am.
Tory party members are queueing to see Liz Truss’s speech in the main hall at the ICC in Birmingham.
The Prime Minister will address the conference at 11am as she tries to rebuild trust and re-establish her authority after a rocky few days.
Cabinet members and MPs are split over the government’s decision to U-turn over a tax cut on the 45p rate for top earners.
Many, including Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt, have publicly come out against a cut to benefits as the PM tries to balance the books.
In her speech today, Liz Truss will tell the conference the ‘disruption’ from her plans to revive the economy will be worth it as she battles to save her premiership.
The Prime Minister will insist there can be no more ‘drift and delay’ in the effort to boost economic growth in her first Conservative Party conference speech as leader.
She will defend her ‘new approach’ which will ‘unleash the full potential of our great country’.
But she will face a tough task restoring Tory morale after a conference which has seen a U-turn over a totemic tax policy, Cabinet dissent and the threat of another major split over the level of benefits.
Former Cabinet minister Grant Shapps has warned she has little more than a week to save her leadership, while another member of Boris Johnson’s top team, Nadine Dorries, said she is not calling for an immediate election because ‘we’d absolutely lose it’.
James Cleverly insisted Ms Truss will lead the Tory Party into the next election and said Mr Shapps’ comment that she has 10 days to turn things around is ‘ridiculous’.
Asked how the annual gathering is going, the Foreign Secretary said: ‘Brilliant, the atmosphere is fantastic.’
A longtime Tory party member has called for urgent reform as infighting continues at the conference in Birmingham.
John Stafford, of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy, told the Today programme he feared an electoral wipeout if the party did not change course.
He told the BBC’s Nick Robinson: ‘I came to the first Conservative conference in 1964 and I’ve been to every one since.
‘This is the worst conference I’ve ever been to. It’s not a conference at all, there’s no discussion, there’s no debate, there’s no motions at all.
Ex-minister Nadine Dorries warns Tories will ‘absolutely LOSE’ the next election under flip-flopping Truss ‘because they ousted Boris’
Ex-minister Nadine Dorries has warned the Conservative Party will ‘absolutely lose’ the next election ‘because they ousted Boris’ – as the Tory civil war rages on with MPs blaming Liz Truss for lagging behind Labour after her tax U-turns.
The former Culture Secretary, a Boris Johnson loyalist through to the end of his time in Downing Street, today said Ms Truss’ decisions to remove his policies ‘does not fit with what is expected of a democratic state’.
Her remarks come after Home Secretary Suella Braverman, a darling of the Right who fought Ms Truss for the leadership over the summer, launched a swipe at the PM by branding the U-turn on axing the 45p tax rate ‘disappointing’.
But Ms Braverman accused critics of the PM who forced the U-turn – including former minister Michael Gove – of having ‘staged a coup and undermined the authority of the PM in an unprofessional way’.
Meanwhile, Ms Dorries told LBC that she is not calling for a general election amid ongoing angst among Tory MPs over Ms Truss’ budget because the party would ‘absolutely lose it’ to Labour.
Read the full story on MailOnline here:
James Cleverly has likened the Government’s tax-cutting plans to ‘bitter-tasting medicine’ that will eventually make people feel better, and dismissed Labour’s 33-point poll lead as a ‘blip’.
The Foreign Secretary told Times Radio: ‘The simple truth is, a number of people aren’t used to hearing about the stimulating effects of tax cuts, about the growth effects of reducing regulation.
‘And quite understandably they are reacting to that. People don’t necessarily like bitter-tasting medicine but it will make us all collectively economically feel better.
‘And when we do start feeling better I have no doubt at all that will be reflected in the polls.
‘This is a blip. It’s a necessary blip, but I’m absolutely confident when people see that growth, when they see their wages increase, when they see productivity increases, when they see the new rail, roads, when they feel those tax cuts, those voters will start coming back to us.’
Can Liz Truss unite the warring Tories?
Liz Truss faces a make-or-break moment just a month into her premiership today as she tries to unite warring Tories with her keynote conference speech.
After a gathering in Birmingham blighted by splits over tax rates and benefits, the PM will plead for her troops to get behind her vision of ‘a new Britain for a new era’.
She will insist they should ignore the noise of those who do not agree with her policies, saying that ‘whenever there is change, there is disruption’.
‘Not everyone will be in favour,’ she will say. ‘But everyone will benefit from the result – a growing economy and a better future.’
However, the message comes against the backdrop of one of the most chaotic Tory conferences in memory, where Cabinet collective responsibility has almost completely crumbled. The mood has been darkened by a series of polls showing Labour on track for a landslide win at an election.
Read the full story on the PM’s speech on MailOnline here:
Home Secretary Suella Braverman downplayed a row with Michael Gove this morning.
She said she was ‘disappointed’ by the U-turn on the top rate of tax, and accused Tory rebels like former minister Mr Gove of staging a ‘coup’.
Speaking to the Today programme Ms Braverman was asked if she had ‘kissed and made up’ with Mr Gove.
She said: ‘Well I have never broken up with Mr Gove… he’s a friend of mine.’
Put to her that she accused Mr Gove of leading a coup, Ms Braverman said: ‘I just think that we’ve all got to get behind the Prime Minister. She’s early on in her tenure, we’ve had a really exhausting and exhaustive leadership contest.
‘A lot of these issues were aired. We all had our argy-bargy then. Now she’s got a mandate. The opposition, the enemy is Labour, it’s not within. ‘
Asked if people such as Mr Gove were entitled to voice concerns about the direction of the party, Ms Braverman said: ‘Yeah of course, but I think when it has the effect of undermining a decision, a key flank of Government policy, then I think the way in which that’s expressed and discussed, has to be, as any organisation professionally would do, behind closed doors.’
James Cleverly has declined to say whether benefits should rise in line with inflation and said colleagues should not ‘pre-announce’ the decision at the Tory conference.
The Foreign Secretary told Times Radio: ‘What we have got to do is look at the inflation figures that have come out recently.
‘Obviously, the Chancellor and his Treasury team, in conjunction with the Prime Minister and ultimately through the Cabinet, will look at what the package of support is needed and then what we will do is we will announce that in the early part of next year, as we always do.
‘What I’m not going to do, and what I don’t think colleagues should do, is try and pre-announce what the Chancellor is going to do here at party conference’.
Asked about Government colleagues including Penny Mordaunt expressing their view on the matter, he said: ‘Ultimately, we are all going to be bound by collective decision making and collective agreement.
‘So once that decision is made, that’s what we are going to deploy and my view is it’s better and easier, more appropriate, to feed your views and ideas in in the normal way, which is through Cabinet through Cabinet committees.’
Liz Truss’s cabinet members openly feuded about the government’s direction, with Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt openly saying she would not support a real-terms cut to benefits.
Other Tories also criticised the policy – although it has not been officially announced – including Priti Patel and former party leader Iain Duncan Smith.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman criticised the government’s U-turn on the 45p rate of tax earlier this week.
She also accused opponents of the tax cut including Michael Gove of staging a ‘coup’ to block the policy. Ms Braverman’s comments attracted criticism from International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch.
There was also some confusion over when Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng would unveil the government’s spending plans – originally due to be published on November 23 – but it has now been confirmed they will be brought forward following the backlash to his mini-budget last month.
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