Liz Truss declared she is “a fighter not a quitter” as she battled for her own survival at PMQs. With questions surrounding the Prime Minister’s own future mounting over the past 48 hours, the Conservative leader sought to retake control of her Government.
She appeared to contradict her new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, to confirm that the state pension triple lock would remain in place.
She repeated to MPs that she was “sorry” for the economic turmoil caused after last month’s mini-budget but insisted that she was now focused on getting “on with the job and deliver for the British people”.
On Monday, Mr Hunt ripped up the Prime Minister’s economic growth plan announcing “almost all tax measures” unveiled by his predecessor would be ditched.
He warned that he would have to make “decisions of eye-watering difficulty” and refused to commit to retaining the triple lock.
Overruling Mr Hunt today, Ms Truss committed to stick with the pledge made in the Conservatives’ 2019 general election manifesto.
To huge cheers for Tory MPs, she said: “We have been clear in our manifesto that we will maintain the triple lock and I am completely committed to it. So is the Chancellor.”
The triple lock guarantees pensions will rise by the largest out of inflation, average wages or 2.5 percent.
Just yesterday the Prime Minister’s official spokesman had said Ms Truss and Mr Hunt were undecided on whether to go ahead with the triple lock mechanism.
“The Prime Minister and the Chancellor are not making any commitments on individual policy areas at this point,” he said.
“We are very aware of how many vulnerable pensioners thee are and indeed our priority ahead of this fiscal plan is we continue to protect the most vulnerable in society.”
Furious Tory MPs last night were warning Ms Truss it would be catastrophic not to keep the triple lock in place.
Sir John Hayes said the party had no choice but “to honour the triple lock”, while Laurence Robertson said the mechanism would “protect people on limited incomes”.
Seeking to clam the nerves of her backbenchers Ms Truss told MPs today that she was taking anew approach to the economy after admitting to errors in her first six weeks.
She said: “I have been very clear that I am sorry and that I have made mistakes.
“But the right thing to do in those circumstances is to make changes, which I have made, and to get on with the job and deliver for the British people.”
Shouts of “resign” could be heard from Labour MPs as Ms Truss made the remarks.
Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer criticised the Prime Minister’s apology saying it was not enough.
He told the Commons: “Those spending cuts are on the table for one reason and one reason only, because they crashed the economy. Working people are going to have £500 more a month on their mortgages and what’s the Prime Minister’s response? To say she’s sorry.
“What does she think people will think and say that’s alright, I don’t mind financial ruin at least she apologised.”
Ms Truss replied: “I do think there has to be some reflection of economic reality from the party opposite. The fact is that interest rates are rising across the world and the economic conditions have worsened.
“And we are being honest, we’re levelling with the public unlike the right honourable gentleman who simply won’t do it and what is the right honourable gentleman doing about the fact that workers, train workers are again going on strike.
“The fact is he refuses to condemn the workers, we are bringing forward policies that are going to make sure our railways are protected, people going to work are protected. He backs the strikers, we back the strivers.”