Following a poll showing the Conservatives having slumped to their lowest level of public support for half a century – and providing Labour with a record 33-point lead – Liz Truss insisted she had the “right plan” for Britain and would not change course. The Daily Telegraph reported some backbenchers thought the scrapping of the 45p tax rate was “toxic” and would aim to block it.
It was reported that ministers were drawing up plans for real-terms benefits cuts, saving £5 billion by increasing them in line with earnings, rather than inflation. The “spectre” of a “return to austerity” was said to have “raised alarm” in Whitehall. Kwasi Kwarteng reassured elderly voters that he was still committed to the Triple Lock.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister and Kwarteng had an emergency meeting with the head of the Office for Budget Responsibility on the Friday. They would be presented with a first draft of its full forecast a week later. One government adviser described the move as “like trying to read the manual after you’ve broken the thing”.
On the Saturday, it emerged that King Charles III had abandoned plans to attend the COP27 climate change summit in Egypt the following month after Truss had “told him to stay away”. The Prime Minister – “also unlikely to attend the Sharm el-Sheikh gathering” – objected to the King’s plans during a personal audience the previous month.
With acknowledgments to Harry Cole and James Heale‘s Out of the Blue: the Inside Story of the Unexpected Rise and Rapid Fall of Liz Truss