Politics

Not Even Liz Truss’s Assault On Labor From Final Week Stands Up Now

Liz Truss’s only defense against the Opposition’s criticism last Wednesday has just been dismantled by her own chancellor.

The prime minister, facing backlash from all sides, fired Kwasi Kwarteng and appointed Jeremy Hunt in his place last Friday. In his first 72 hours, the new chancellor ripped Truss’s Growth Plan completely apart – including her energy bill promises.

While Truss and Kwarteng had planned to prevent the typical household paying more than £2,500 every year for energy, Hunt has cut this back to just six months, meaning the help will end in April.

But this two-year promise was the main card the prime minister had left to play during her short press conference last Friday, in the face of economic turmoil.

Amid fierce criticism from the opposition, Truss tried to redirect PMQs last week (only her second from her entire premiership) by pointing out: “We have taken decisive action to make sure that people are not facing energy bills of £6,000 for two years.

“We remember that the opposition are only talking about six months.

“The fact is that all the opposition have said is that people should be supported for six months. Does he [Keir Starmer] think that, in March, pensioners should be facing very high energy bills? That is what will happen if he does not support our energy price guarantee.”

Then, Hunt clarified during his emergency statement on Monday: “Beyond [April]the prime minister and I have agreed it would not be responsible to continue exposing public finances to unlimited volatility in international gas prices.”

This effectively makes the government’s current policy the same as the one put forward by Labour.

And Hunt’s decision to row back on one of Truss’s only remaining policies did not go unnoticed on Twitter, with ITV’s Robert Peston calling it “one of the many jaw-dropping events” from today.

One of the MANY jaw dropping events today is that Jeremy Hunt has shot Liz Truss’s ONLY fox. At #PMQs last week her sole attack line on Starmer was that he was only pledging 6 months of energy price subsidies compared with her 2 years. Gone

— Robert Peston (@Peston) October 17, 2022

Alex Nunns, the speechwriter for previous Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, also called it “politically brutal”.

Hunt’s announcement is so politically brutal. Truss’ only comeback to Starmer in PMQs has been to say Labor’s plan to help with energy bills would last just 6 months, not 2 years like the government scheme. Hunt has shortened that to… 6 months. Given her nothing to save face.

— Alex Nunns (@alexnunns) October 17, 2022

And now some people are wondering what will happen with this week’s PMQs, especially amid speculation that Hunt now wields more authority than Truss.

If she’s still prime minister on Wednesday, PMQs will be very messy for Liz Truss. Her entire agenda is no more, the last vestiges of it have been blown away this morning by Hunt.

— Nick Tyrone (@NicholasTyrone) October 17, 2022

How can she still be PM? How is there no sense of cringe, shame or total mortality? Is she even sentient? I always hark back to Estelle Morris who was actually really good & never tanked the pound. How can Truss keep tweeting away forever? And where is she? Will Hunt do PMQs?

— Ayesha Hazarika (@ayeshahazarika) October 17, 2022

Actually starting to wonder if Truss will resign before PMQs

— Sonia Sodha (@soniasodha) October 17, 2022

I don’t think I want to see Liz Truss do PMQs. Enough is enough.

— Sarah Vine (@WestminsterWAG) October 17, 2022

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