‘Mistakes happen,’ but replacing Liz Truss won’t calm markets, foreign sec says | Politics News
The foreign secretary said ‘mistakes have happened’ after the government made a number of U-turns this week – but insisted replacing Liz Truss as prime minister will not calm the government markets.
James Cleverly said government “is not about making mistakes” but “in life, in politics, in business, mistakes do happen”.
He told Kay Burley on Sky News’ Breakfast programme: “What you have to do is recognize when they’ve had the humility to make changes.
“The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have learned lessons from what has happened before.”
Truss in a perilous position as she prepares the first PMQs since the mini-budget tear – follow the politics live
Mr Cleverly also insisted that replacing Ms Truss would do nothing for the country or the markets after they crashed almost a month ago following the announcement of the Kwasi Kwarteng mini budget .
On Friday, Mr Kwarteng was replaced as Chancellor by Jeremy Hunt who on Monday overturned almost all of the commitments made by his predecessor.
A YouGov poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday found that a majority of Tory members think Ms Truss should go for buyer’s remorse as more think Rishi Sunak, who lost to Ms Truss, would be a better prime minister.
But Mr Cleverly said: ‘What I am far from convinced of is that running another leadership campaign, defenestrating another Prime Minister, will convince either the British people that we are thinking of him rather than ourselves or convince the markets to stay calm and make sure things like those bond yields and gilt yields start to come back down.
“I completely understand. But it’s an emotional response, it’s not a plan. And the Prime Minister has a plan. The Chancellor, he has a plan.”
On Wednesday morning, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the inflation rate hit 10.1% in September after food prices soared, from an annual rate of 9.9% in August.
Mr Cleverly said he would not anticipate the announcement of the Chancellor’s ‘medium-term budget plan’ on October 31, but promised Treasury decisions ‘will be very much informed by these figures’.
He said the 10.1% figure is “significantly lower than what we see in many other parts of the developed world” and promised the Chancellor and her team would reveal “a comprehensive set of measures”.
The Foreign Secretary backed the Prime Minister’s commitment to growing the economy, but said the UK and the world were ‘facing an unprecedented set of circumstances’ with the rising costs of the energy and the effects of the war in Ukraine.
Concerns have been raised that the Chancellor will backtrack on government manifesto commitments in 2019 – including increasing benefits and pensions in line with inflation – following massive reversals on Ms’ promises. Truss earlier this week.
“We take the manifesto commitments seriously,” Mr. Cleverly said.
Ms Truss will face her third Prime Minister’s Questions today, with a brand new economic plan from last week and a different Chancellor.
MPs will be watching closely to see how she fares in the dispatch box against Sir Keir Starmer as Tory members and MPs debate whether she should stay.