Politics

Truss insists UK must have ‘courage of its convictions’ a day after tax U-turn – as govt hopes for calmer conference day

Liz Truss has said the UK must have “the courage of its convictions to put our nation on the path to success”, a day after a major U-turn on a key economic policy.

Writing in the Telegraph, the prime minister said the struggling economy was a global problem caused by Putin and COVID, that there was “no time to waste” when she became PM, and she needed to act “urgently”.

“People forget the counterfactual of what would have happened had we not acted,” she wrote.

And while she dismissed the U-turn as a “tiny part of the plan”, reports in The Sun said that Sir Graham Brady went to see her at 7pm on Sunday evening.

The PM was then said to meet chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng for crisis talks, hours before she ditched the tax promise on Monday morning.

The third day of the Tory Party conference is set to be less eventful than the previous day – at least that is what the Conservatives will be hoping.

Monday was a tumultuous day for the party as the chancellor was forced to U-turn on scrapping the 45p rate of income tax for the highest earners in the morning.

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His keynote conference speech had to be altered to acknowledge the U-turn despite Liz Truss and Mr Kwarteng both insisting on Sunday night they would “stay the course”.

Hours after his speech, it was revealed Mr Kwarteng will bring forward his medium-term financial statement from 23 November to this month, despite this morning saying he would not.

Markets bounced back on Monday morning but market commentators cautioned that it was likely some respite only.

‘Redoubled efforts on illegal migration’

The Conservatives will be hoping for a quiet day on Tuesday ahead of Liz Truss’ speech on Wednesday.

In his first speech as foreign secretary, James Cleverly is expected to focus on the UK helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia.

He will also talk about finding a “mutually beneficial solution” to Brexit issues in Northern Ireland.

“We aren’t commentators. We are players on the pitch. Making a difference. Promoting our values. Competing on the world stage for what we believe is right,” he is expected to tell the conference.

“We believe in freedom. We believe in the rule of law. We believe that an aggressor cannot invade its neighbour with impunity.”

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Is there any way back for Kwarteng?

New Home Secretary Suella Braverman will also speak on Tuesday, setting out her plans to “redouble efforts to crack down on illegal migration”.

She will pledge to use “every tool at our disposal” to stop illegal migrants crossing the Channel in small boats, including working to increase the level of interceptions carried out by the French.

Ms Braverman will also commit to looking at new legislative powers so the government can deport people who come to the UK illegally.

Read more:
First part of Truss’ reign is over – is there any way back from 45p tax rate U-turn?

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What do young Tories think of Truss?

“It’s right that we extend the hand of friendship to those in genuine need. This country has always done so. It did so for my father in the 1960s as a young man from Kenya,” she will say.

“At the same time we should use our newfound control to deliver the kind of immigration that grows our economy, for example that helps projects that have stalled or builds relationships with our friends and allies.”

Also speaking tomorrow are Education Secretary Kit Malthouse, Health Secretary and Deputy PM Therese Coffey, Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis.

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