Conservative MPs have started to publicly call for Liz Truss to go as they do not believe she can survive the current political and economic crisis.
Crispin Blunt, former chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, was the first Tory MP to put his head above the parapet since Kwasi Kwarteng was sacked as chancellor on Friday.
He said “the game is up” for Ms Truss after just six weeks as prime minister as he does not believe she can survive the current crisis, which has seen weeks of economic turmoil after the mini-budget.
“I think the game is up and it’s now a question as to how the succession is managed,” he told Channel 4’s Andrew Neil Show.
Asked how the party will get rid of her, the MP, who is standing down at the next election, said: “If there is such a weight of opinion in the parliamentary party that we have to have a change, then it will be effected.
“Exactly how it is done and exactly under what mechanism… but it will happen.”
Under current Conservative Party rules, a confidence vote in a leader cannot take place until they have been in power for at least a year, so she is theoretically safe until next September.
However, there has been talk among MPs of the powerful 1922 backbench committee of Tory MPs of changing the rules to reduce that buffer period.
If enough MPs submit no confidence letters in the PM, then the 1922 executive may have little choice but to change them.
Truss ‘unlikely to be in No 10 at Christmas’
Andrew Mitchell, who ran new chancellor Jeremy Hunt‘s leadership campaign, told the BBC if Ms Truss “cannot do the job, I’m afraid that she will go”.
Former Chancellor George Osborne said Ms Truss is unlikely to still be in Downing Street by Christmas.
He called her a “PINO – prime minister in name only” and said Ms Truss is “hiding in Number 10” as pressure mounts.
Asked if she can survive, he told the Andrew Neil Show: “Probably not.”
And Mark Garnier, Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, today questioned Ms Truss’s position but stayed clear of outright calling for her to go.
He said those who agree with her appointing Mr Hunt as chancellor are split into two camps – those who believe MPs should give Ms Truss time, and those who want to “rip the plaster off”.
“I think power is a very fickle thing, and I think Liz Truss is in office but is not in power,” he told BBC Politics Midlands.
“The question is, do we give her a chance or do we rip the plaster off?
“The really important question is do we feel confident that we should be going into the next general election with Liz Truss? If we don’t, I think we need to rip the plaster off.”
Party needs a fundamental reset
Alicia Kearns, the new chairwoman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said the party needed a “fundamental reset” but said it was difficult to know if Ms Truss should go.
“Ultimately it is a very difficult one because I think you know we’ve had the questions around our moral competency,” she told Times Radio.
“We’ve now got questions around our fiscal competency.
“I don’t want further questions around even our ability to continue to govern as a party and our ability to stay united. It’s an incredibly difficult one, and ultimately I need to listen to colleagues and speak to colleagues over coming days.
“But do we need a fundamental reset? Without question.”
Tory grandee and pollster Lord Hayward told Sky News it is going to be “very difficult” for Ms Truss to remain as PM after the past few weeks and a new chancellor after just 38 days.
On Sunday morning, both Mr Hunt and Andrew Griffith, financial secretary to the Treasury, said they think Ms Truss will remain as they showed their loyalty to the PM.
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