The Prime Minister may have declared she would lead her party into the next general election, but many believe she is already no longer in charge. Little remains of Ms Truss’s economic agenda now that Jeremy Hunt has entered Number 11 after a week of policy reversals in a bid to restore market confidence. On Wednesday, her premiership suffered a further blow from the resignation of Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who did not shy away from publicising her misgivings about the change in Government direction orchestrated by Mr Hunt. But, what do you think? Is Jeremy Hunt now calling the shots within the Conservative Party? Vote in our poll.
Against the past month’s backdrop of almost unprecedented political turmoil, Wednesday was a particularly chaotic day in Westminster.
In just her third PMQs in office, the Prime Minister sought to fend off calls for her resignation by assuring Parliament she was a “fighter, not a quitter.” While defending her record, Ms Truss also conceded she had “made mistakes”.
Later in the day, accusations circulated that Conservative MPs had been physically manhandled into the Commons by key Government members in order to participate in a vote on fracking. This was followed by muddled reports that the Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip had resigned in protest – reports revealed to be false hours later.
Suella Braverman also stepped down from her Cabinet post after just 43 days – making her the shortest-serving Home Secretary in history. Although the reason given was that she had sent an official document from her personal email, Ms Braverman’s resignation letter also bore a sharp critique of the PM.
It reads: “It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time. I have concerns about the direction of this government.” The Daily Mail reports Ms Braverman quit following a “90-minute shouting match” with the PM and new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
READ MORE: Suella Braverman resignation: How the Home Secretary was ousted
The former Home Secretary’s breach of the ministerial code may have triggered her departure, but disagreements over the drastic changes in Government policy ushered in by Mr Hunt played a considerable role.
Reports suggest Mr Hunt pressured Ms Braverman to liberalise the country’s immigration policy so that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) could announce the UK would hit its growth targets.
The request undoubtedly appalled Ms Braverman, who had just two weeks earlier declared her commitment to the Tory Party’s 2019 manifesto pledge to clamp down on migration during the Conservative conference in Birmingham.
Circumstances surrounding her departure have fuelled further speculation that Mr Hunt has taken charge of Government, having already scrapped the majority of the PM’s economic strategy after less than a week as Chancellor.
“There is real power in Downing Street – but it’s not in Number 10, it’s in Number 11,” North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale said on Monday. “Jeremy Hunt is de facto prime minister at the moment.”
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Ms Braverman has been replaced by Grant Shapps, Boris Johnson’s Transport Secretary and a strong backer of Rishi Sunak during the Conservative leadership contest this summer. Like that of Mr Hunt, Mr Shapps’ appointment has been noted as a bid to shore up dwindling support for Government from Tory Party members.
In a recent YouGov survey of Conservative Party members – the group who elected Ms Truss as leader – conducted between October 17 and 18, 55 percent called for her resignation.
However, Mr Hunt was only the sixth most popular choice to replace her. Head of the pack was Mr Johnson, receiving the vote of 32 percent of those surveyed, followed by Mr Sunak on 23 percent and Ben Wallace on 10 percent.
So what do YOU think? Is Jeremy Hunt in charge? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.