A video grab taken from footage shows Liz Truss speaking in the House of Commons in London on Wednesday. AFP
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss was hanging on to power by a thread on Thursday, after a senior minister quit her government with a barrage of criticism and a vote in the House of Commons descended into chaos and acrimony.
A botched economic plan unveiled by the government last month triggered financial turmoil and a political crisis that has seen the replacement of Truss’ Treasury chief, multiple policy U-turns and a breakdown of discipline in the governing Conservative Party.
Many Conservatives say Truss must resign — but she has remained defiant, saying she is "a fighter and not a quitter.”
Meanwhile, British Conservative lawmaker Sheryll Murray said on Thursday she had submitted a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Liz Truss.
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss attends a meeting.
"I had high hopes for Liz Truss but after what happened last night her position has become untenable and I have submitted a letter to Sir Graham Brady," Murray said on Twitter.
Brady chairs the 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers that sets the rules for selecting and changing the party's leader.
Conservative lawmaker Simon Hoare said the government was in disarray.
"Nobody has a route plan. It’s all sort of hand-to-hand fighting on a day-to-day basis,” he told the BBC on Thursday. He said Truss had "about 12 hours” to turn the situation around.
Newspapers that usually support the Conservatives were vitriolic. An editorial in the Daily Mail was headlined: "The wheels have come off the Tory clown car.”
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, sent onto the airwaves Thursday morning to defend the government, insisted the administration was providing "stability.” But she was unable to guarantee Truss would lead the party into the next election.
"At the moment, I think that’s the case," she said.
With opinion polls giving the Labour Party a large and growing lead, many Conservatives now believe their only hope of avoiding electoral oblivion is to replace Truss. But they are divided about how to get rid of her and as yet there is no front-runner to succeed her.
Truss is due to make a statement in the House of Commons and is expected to impose a cap on bills that are skyrocketing because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the economic aftershocks of COVID-19 and Brexit.
The British ministry said it had information the Russian government was considering former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevhen Murayev as a potential candidate to head a pro-Russian leadership.
She said: “I was told that at the reshuffle meeting in Downing Street that ‘Muslimness’ was raised as an ‘issue’, that there were concerns ‘that I wasn’t loyal to the party as I didn’t do enough to defend the party against Islamophobia allegations’.”
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