Liz Truss to address Tory conference with speech warning that change brings disruption – live

1 month ago

Liz Truss to address Tory conference

Liz Truss is about to deliver her first speech as leader, and prime minister, to the Conservative party conference. There are some in the party who also think it could be last; some of her critics have been speculating that she could be forced out by Christmas, because her first month in power has gone so badly, although it is hard to imagine a party ditching a leader so quickly.

Normally a leader’s speech at conference last for around 50 minutes. We have been told this one will be about half that long, coming in at around 20 to 30 minutes.

According to an extract released in advance, she is going to double down on her commitment to change an reform, telling members that this will bring “disruption” too. (See 9am.)

Key events

We are now waiting to Liz Truss to start – unless there is a surprise speaker coming on to introduce her.

Zahawi lists a string of other cabinet ministers, saying they are all delivering too.

And when they do deliver, “we will blow Labour out of the water”, he claims.

Zahawi says Liz Truss is the third female prime minister, and the third female Conservative PM. He goes on:

Labour – all talk, but all we see is trousers.

He goes on to talk about how Truss works in the cabinet room, at the cabinet table, surrounded by papers.

Our new prime minister has total clarity of what she wants. Se has the laser-like focus that is a prerequisite of a great CEO. And, crucially, she knows her own mind.

Zahawi says Truss has told him what she wants to deliver. And he says he is overseeing that “effectively as the chief operating officer of this administration”.

(Others in the cabinet might not be so happy about the promotion Zahawi seems to have awarded himself.)

Nadhim Zahawi.
Nadhim Zahawi. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Nadhim Zahawi, the Cabinet Office minister, is speaking now. He started by recalling being called a “race traitor” at university when he refused to join a leftwing group. He responded by joining the Conservatives, he said, and he said he was hooked on politics from that moment.

Liz Truss to address Tory conference

Liz Truss is about to deliver her first speech as leader, and prime minister, to the Conservative party conference. There are some in the party who also think it could be last; some of her critics have been speculating that she could be forced out by Christmas, because her first month in power has gone so badly, although it is hard to imagine a party ditching a leader so quickly.

Normally a leader’s speech at conference last for around 50 minutes. We have been told this one will be about half that long, coming in at around 20 to 30 minutes.

According to an extract released in advance, she is going to double down on her commitment to change an reform, telling members that this will bring “disruption” too. (See 9am.)

In Birmingham the concerence proceedings have started, and Jake Berry, the party chair, is speaking.

He starts by paying tribute to Liz Truss as a leader who delivers, and does what she promises.

He says that Truss promised to tackle energy prices and she promised to reverse the national insurance increase. Did she deliver? Yes.

He goes on:

There you have it. Conference will fondly remember another great female prime minister who like to say to the EU, “No, no, no.” Watch out Sir Humphrey. You’ve just got the “Yes, yes, yes” prime minister.

(If Berry had remembered the scene from When Harry Met Sally, or Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, he might have phrased that differently.)

Brown warns that financial crisis triggered by rising interest rates may not yet be over

In his Today interview Gordon Brown also warned that he did not think the financial crisis was over. Rising interest rates could clobber institutions in the “shadow banking” sector, he suggested. He told the programme:

You’ve got problems with inflation, potentially problems with liquidity and solvency amongst companies. And you’ve got the potential for markets to be dysfunctional.

And I would be worried about the shadow banking - that’s the non-bank financial sector in this country.

And I would be very careful if I was the Bank of England and make sure that the supervision of that part of the economy is tightened up, because I do fear that, as inflation hits and interest rates rise, there will be a number of companies and a number of organisations that will be in grave difficulty.

So I don’t think this crisis is over because the pension funds have been rescued last week.

Brown was prime minister at the time of the global financial crisis of 2008 and he was widely praised for his bank bailout response, which was followed by other governments around the world.

Failing to uprate benefits in line with inflation would provoke 'national uprising', claims Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown, the former Labour prime minister, said this morning that Liz Truss would provoke a “national uprising” if she refused to uprate benefits in line with inflation. Boris Johnson’s government said benefits would be uprated for 2023-24 in line with the September level of inflation (which may be close to 10%), which is the normal practice. But Truss has hinted benefits could rise in line with earnings, saving around £4bn, which would help fill the hole in government accounts left by her unfunded tax cuts.

Brown told the Today programme:

It’s divisive because we’re not in this together any more. It’s anti-work because 40% of those who would suffer are people on low pay in work. It’s anti-family because five million children would be in poverty.

And I think most of all, it’s immoral. It’s asking the poor to bear the burden for the crisis that we face in this country and for mistakes that other people have made, and it’s a scar on the soul of our country, it’s a stain on our conscience …

There will be a national uprising if this goes ahead because it is nothing to do with making the growth policies of the government work, it is simply making the poor pay the price.

Failure to increase benefits in line with inflation is "a scar on the soul of our country"

Former Labour PM Gordon Brown tells @MarthaKearney "there will be a national uprising if this goes ahead...it's simply making the poor pay the price"#R4Today https://t.co/ostsYkggxZ

— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) October 5, 2022
Gordon Brown.
Gordon Brown. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

These are from James Johnson, a pollster who used to work in Downing Street for Theresa May and how now runs his own research company, JL Parners.

For context, this is what views of Liz Truss were in the Red Wall *before the mini-budget*. Looks like it was the major turning point in views of the PM. pic.twitter.com/N27H0N1QVp

— James Johnson (@jamesjohnson252) October 4, 2022
Tories queuing at the party conference to get into the hall where Liz Truss is speaking later.
Tories queuing at the party conference to get into the hall where Liz Truss is speaking later. Photograph: Jacob King/PA

In a short interview recorded at the conference yesterday, but played on the Today programme this morning, Suella Braverman, the home secretary, played down the significance of her remark yesterday accusing Michael Gove of mounting a “coup” against Liz Truss. Asked if the two had made up, Braverman said:

Well I have never broken up with Mr Gove... he’s a friend of mine.

Braverman also stressed that she was just appealing for unity. She 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.

She also said people like Gove should express their concerns about government policy “behind closed doors”.

Suella Braverman at the conference yesterday.
Suella Braverman at the conference yesterday. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Cleverly claims 45% tax U-turn was necessary because of obsessive media focus on story

And here are some more lines from James Cleverly’s morning interview round.

Cleverly, the foreign secretary, said it was the obsessive media focus on the ab abolition of the 45% top rate of tax in the mini-budget that led to the government abandoning it, in a huge U-turn. He told Sky News:

What you’re describing as a U-turn is the smallest element of a really big and significant support package to families, tax cut to families, stimulus package for the British economy.

You guys were constantly talking about the 45p tax rate, which is why we had to take it away, so that us guys could talk about the 95% of that package which was about cutting tax for working families, support for people trying to pay their energy bills, giving growth zones around the country, infrastructure investment for transport which unlocks the growth in the economy - that’s what we wanted to talk about and that’s what we will talk about.

Cleverly is ignoring the fact that the media were focusing on the 45% tax rate decision because Tory MPs, and the country at large, were outraged about it.

He predicted that the Tories would recover their standing in the polls. He told Times Radio:

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.

He refused to endorse what Suella Braverman, the home secretary, said yesterday about Tory MPs opposed to the 45% top rate of tax decision being engaged in a coup. He said Braverman “chose the words that she chose”, and he did not endorse them himself.

He said people should not be surprised by what Truss was doing because she set out her agenda very clearly during the Tory leadership contest. He said:

The prime minister made it really clear what her philosophy was when she was running for the leadership. If people weren’t listening properly, I mean that’s more their problem than hers. She said that she was going to go for growth. She said she wanted to increase investment.

James Cleverly doing a TV interview at the Tory conference this morning.
James Cleverly doing a TV interview at the Tory conference this morning. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
Attendees at the Tory conference queuing this morning to get into the hall where Liz Truss will deliver her speech.
Attendees at the Tory conference queuing this morning to get into the hall where Liz Truss will deliver her speech. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Truss to tells Tories there can be no more 'drift and delay' as government focuses on growth

And here are two more extracts from Liz Truss’s speech briefed to the media in advance. The PM will explain why she is focusing on growth (using an argument she has used many times before) and she will say there cannot be any more “drift and delay”.

For too long, our economy has not grown as strongly as it should have done. For too long, the political debate has been dominated by how we distribute a limited economic pie. Instead, we need to grow the pie so that everyone gets a bigger slice. That is why I am determined to take a new approach and break us out of this high-tax, low-growth cycle. That is what our plan is about: getting our economy growing and rebuilding Britain through reform …

This is a great country. But I know that we can do better and we must do better. We have huge talent across the country. We’re not making enough of it. To deliver this, we need to get Britain moving. We cannot have any more drift and delay at this vital time.

This is from my colleague Pippa Crerar on the “whenever there is change, there is disruption” line in Liz Truss’s speech.

10 days ago Kwasi Kwarteng said there was “more to come” on fiscal changes and pound tanked.

Liz Truss will go one step further on Wednesday, telling Tory conference: “Whenever there is change, there is disruption.”

Some Tory MPs questioning the wisdom of her framing.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) October 5, 2022

And this is from the Economist’s Anne McElvoy making a similar point.

One (among a few) oddities in the govt's communicaton is using "disruption" as a positive. Schumpeterian yes, but to most voters "disruption" suggests trains not running or services failing, The register is totally off kilter https://t.co/NT97cMzkE6

— anne mcelvoy (@annemcelvoy) October 5, 2022

Liz Truss to warn change brings disruption in Tory conference speech as Cleverly admits mini-budget was ‘bitter medicine’

Good morning. Later this morning Liz Truss will deliver her keynote speech winding up what has been one of the most chaotic and dysfunctional party conferences organised by any major political party for years. The only one I can remember that was remotely similar was the Tory one in Blackpool in 2003, which saw the beleagured Iain Duncan Smith receive 19 standing ovations during his “the quiet man is turning up the volume” speech. A few weeks later, Conservative MPs decided to turn down the volume on Duncan Smith for good when they voted him out. Duncan Smith was the first Conservative leader elected by a ballot of party members. MPs concluded the members had just got the decision wrong, and many may be feeling the same way about Truss, the fourth Tory leader chosen by a leadership ballot.

In extracts from her speech released overnight, Truss will restate her determination to change Britain, while admitting that change will bring “disruption”. She will say:

The scale of the challenge is immense. War in Europe for the first time in a generation. A more uncertain world in the aftermath of Covid. And a global economic crisis. That is why in Britain we need to do things differently. Whenever there is change, there is disruption. Not everyone will be in favour. But everyone will benefit from the result - a growing economy and a better future. That is what we have a clear plan to deliver.

The problem with this argument is that, by and large, people aren’t that fond of disruption. Britain in many respects is inherently conservative (one reason why it has often voted Conservative). The mini-budget was disruptive, but that contributed to mortgage products being withdrawn, and interest rates going up – triggering a fierce backlash against the Tories in the polls.

James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, has been on the interview round this morning, and he acknowledged this when he told Times Radio the mini-budget had included “bitter-tasting medicine”. He said:

Now 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 they do start feeling better, I have no doubt at all, that will be reflected in the polls.

Truss is due to deliver her speech in Birmingham at around 11am. Before she takes the stage, Jake Berry, the party chair, and Nadhim Zahawi, the Cabinet Office minister, are due to speak.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at [email protected]

Read Full Article at Source