At PMQs, Liz Truss announced “I’m a fighter, not a quitter”. Earlier that morning, Jason Stein, a special advisor, had been suspended after Sajid Javid had threatened to name his as the source of a briefing that had described him as “shit”. The decision to suspend Stein had been pushed by Ruth Porter, Truss’s Deputy Chief of Staff and long-standing ally.
Later that afternoon, Suella Braverman was fired as Home Secretary. She was accused of having broken the ministerial code for using her personal email to contact a fellow MP. Paul Goodman reported that her resignation was the product of the “mother of all rows about migration” after Number 10 had asked her to liberalise policy in the pursuit of growth. Grant Shapps – a Sunak ally – replaced her.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party had used an opposition day debate to propose a motion banning fracking. The 2019 Conservative manifesto had promised an end to shale gas extraction, but Truss has supported it in her leadership campaign. Nonetheless, the Whips informed Tory MPs that this was “a confidence motion in the government”.
Led by Chris Skidmore, an increasing number of Conservative MPs said they would not support the Government. The decision was made to drop the three-line whip. Graham Stuart, the climate minister, was asked to tell the House that it was not a confidence motion. Although the Government won by 326 to 230, MPs were left utterly confused.
With rumours spreading that Wendy Morton and Craig Whittaker – the Chief and Deputy Chief Whips – had resigned, with the latter saying “I am f***ing furious and I don’t give a f*** any more”, many were unsure if Truss still had a Whips office. Sir Charles Walker called it “a shambles and a disagrace”, and asked if “those people that put Liz Truss in Number 10” thought “it was worth it”.
That night in the Number 10 flat, over a pork pie and a bottle of sauvignon blanc, Truss and her husband began to discuss her resignation.
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