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The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister Liz Truss in the House of Commons today PA
AS IT HAPPENED

As it happened: Liz Truss says she is 'sorry' for mistakes after gruelling day in British politics

Jeremy Hunt earlier rolled back almost all of the tax measures within the UK Government’s mini-budget.

LAST UPDATE | Oct 17th 2022, 10:10 PM

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER Liz Truss has said she is “sorry” for her government’s economic mistakes.

New Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has rolled back almost all of the tax measures within the UK Government’s mini-budget three weeks ago.

In an emergency address earlier today, he said that he would be reversing “almost all the tax measures announced in the growth plan” and that the proposed basic income tax cut from 20% to 19% would not go ahead indefinitely.

Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt this afternoon responded to Labour’s Commons urgent question on Truss’ behalf. Hunt addressed the Commons afterwards for two hours.

Meanwhile, the tally of Tory MPs who have publicly called for Truss to resign has risen to five.

And this evening, Cabinet ministers gathered in Downing Street for a drinks event – though not for long.

Good afternoon, Hayley Halpin here. 

It’s another tumultuous today for UK politics. 

This morning, new UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced plans to roll back almost all of the tax measures within the UK Government’s mini-budget three weeks ago.

Labour has been granted a House of Commons urgent question on the economic situation after Liz Truss refused to come to the House after the sacking on Friday of Kwasi Kwarteng.

It is expected to take place at 3.30pm. Hunt is then expected to address the Commons and will take questions from MPs.

Stick with us for the next few hours as I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments, and bringing you up to speed on what’s happened so far today, throughout the afternoon. 

pa-video-grab-image-of-chancellor-jeremy-hunt-speaking-to-the-nation-from-the-treasury-in-london-during-an-emergency-statement-as-he-confirmed-he-is-ditching-many-of-the-measures-in-the-mini-budget British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt addressing the British nation earlier today Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Right, so what exactly did Hunt announce earlier today? 

In his emergency statement earlier today, Hunt said that he would be reversing “almost all the tax measures announced in the growth plan” and that the proposed basic income tax cut from 20% to 19% would not go ahead indefinitely.

“We will reverse almost all the tax measures announced in the growth plan three weeks ago that have not started parliamentary legislation,” said Hunt.

“So whilst we will continue with the abolition of the health and social care levy and stamp duty changes, we will no longer be proceeding with the cuts to dividend tax rates, the reversal of off-payroll working reforms introduced in 2017 and 2021, the new VAT-free shopping scheme for non-UK visitors or the freeze on alcohol duty rates.”

On the income tax reversal, Hunt said:

“At a time when markets are rightly demanding commitment to sustainable public finances. It is not right to borrow to fund this tax cut.

“So I decided that the basic rate of income tax will remain at 20% and it will do so indefinitely until economic circumstances allow for it to be cut,” Hunt added.

Hunt said that these measures are expected to raise £32 billion (€37 billion) a year.

Hunt also confirmed that the UK’s energy price guarantee would only remain in its current form until April due to its massive cost.

The new chancellor said that after April, the scheme will be reviewed to find a cheaper alternative that will be more targeted to support “those in need”.

Hunt also confirmed that there would be cuts in spending, saying that there would need to be “difficult decisions”.

“There will be more difficult decisions, I’m afraid, on both tax and spending as we deliver our commitment to get debt falling as a share of the economy over the medium term.

“All departments will need to redouble their efforts to find savings and some areas of spending will need to be cut.”

Labour has been granted a House of Commons urgent question on the economic situation after Liz Truss refused to come to the House after the sacking on Friday of Kwasi Kwarteng.

It is expected to take place at 3.30pm. Hunt is then expected to address the Commons and will take questions from MPs.

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Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt will respond to Labour’s Commons urgent question on Truss’s behalf at 3.30pm, Downing Street has confirmed.

The British Prime Minister’s decision to send Mordaunt, her former Tory leadership rival, is likely to raise further questions about her authority. 

In a tweet after Hunt’s statement, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss backed her Chancellor, saying that the Government was “addressing the serious challenges we face in worsening economic conditions”.

“We have taken action to chart a new course for growth that supports and delivers for people across the United Kingdom.”

prime-minister-liz-truss-during-a-press-conference-in-the-briefing-room-at-downing-street-london-picture-date-friday-october-14-2022 British Prime Minister Liz Truss Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Truss remains under immense pressure today, with some Tory MPs calling for her ousting after a disastrous start to her premiership.

She sacked her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and effectively ditched her economic agenda in a bid to restore credibility to her administration after revealing a mini-budget that sent markets into meltdown.

The U-turns have seemingly done little to quash growing disquiet within the party, with MPs Crispin Blunt, Andrew Bridgen and Jamie Wallis calling for her resignation yesterday. 

Downing Street earlier today sidestepped questions on whether Truss will be resigning and said the Prime Minister remains “focused on delivery”.

Asked about the possibility, her official spokesperson told reporters:

“You heard from the Prime Minister on Friday. She’s working very closely with the Chancellor and they discussed the package which the Chancellor is setting out today.

“As she said on Friday, she is focused on delivery.”

Pressed on what is left for Truss to deliver on given the ripping up of her leadership campaign promises, the official said she and her new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt “agree that it’s vitally important” that she delivers on her mission for “going for growth”, including investment zones and boosting the UK’s energy supply.

“There is a raft of work that the Government is delivering on and the Prime Minister is leading on.”

embedded269327032 Rishi Sunak (appointed 13/02/2020), Nadhim Zahawi (appointed 05/07/22), Kwasi Kwarteng (appointed 06/09/22) and Jeremy Hunt (appointed 14/10/22) UK Parliament / PA Images UK Parliament / PA Images / PA Images

Jeremy Hunt is the fourth person to hold office as UK Chancellor in the space of just four months.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has told Tory MPs that Liz Truss “backed him to the hilt” in tearing up her mini-budget measures and that there are more “difficult decisions” to come.

A read-out from the meeting said:

“The Chancellor held a briefing for parliamentary colleagues in the Commons at 12.30.

“The Chancellor emphasised the need for stability and said that the PM should be commended for changing tack in the face of the deteriorating global economic situation.

“He said that the PM had backed him to the hilt in making the difficult decisions of which there are more to come.

“The Chancellor said that voters look forward not back and as Conservatives we will have by far the best long-term plan for the economy.”

Economists have already begun reining in their expectations for interest rates after Hunt took the axe to nearly all of his predecessor’s mini-budget plans.

The independent forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) are still the glaring omission in the UK Government’s latest announcements and markets will have to wait until the full medium-term statement on 31 October for those.

But the overall thinking is that the immediate economic calamity may have been narrowly avoided.

economy-rates PA Graphics PA Graphics

It is thought the Bank of England may not now need to react with such large and rapid rate hikes, which in turn will help see mortgage rates beat a retreat.

Philip Shaw, at Investec, said: “Our initial thought is that the growth outlook may be weaker but this could be tempered by the Bank rate potentially not needing to rise as far as our current forecast of 5% early next year.”

All eyes will now be on the Bank’s next rates decision on 3 November when it also provides its latest set of economic forecasts.

Labour has been granted a House of Commons urgent question on the economic situation. Party leader Keir Starmer is up now.

Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt is responding to Labour’s Commons urgent question on Truss’s behalf.

Screenshot 2022-10-17 153625 Penny Mordaunt addressing the House of Commons Screengrab / Sky News Screengrab / Sky News / Sky News

Mordaunt tells the House of Commons that Truss is detained on urgent business. 

She tells the Commons: “The Prime Minister has taken the decision to appoint (Jeremy Hunt), one of the longest-serving and most experienced parliamentarians, as her Chancellor.

“Their overriding priority is to restore financial stability in the face of volatile global conditions.

“We will take whatever tough decisions are necessary and have made changes to the growth plan, which the Chancellor is waiting to update the House on as soon as this urgent question finishes.”

Shouts of “where is she?” and “weak” could be heard in the Commons after Penny Mordaunt began deputising for Truss. 

Screenshot 2022-10-17 153505 Labour leader Keir Starmer addressing the House of Commons Screengrab / Sky News Screengrab / Sky News / Sky News

Responding to Mordaunt, Starmer says “I guess under the Tory government, everybody gets to be Prime Minister for 15 minutes”. 

Starmer says the “country is in an economic crisis made in Downing Street because they’ve lost all credibility”. 

“Once you’ve crashed the car 100 miles an hour, you’ve damaged it for good and you’re going to be paying much more on your insurance for years to come,” he says.

“And it’s working people who will pay.” 

Starmer tells the Commons: “It’s time for leaders to lead. But where is the Prime Minister? Hiding away, dodging questions, scared of her own shadow.

“The lady is not for turning … up.”

Starmer accuses the UK Government of inflicting “long-term damage that can’t be undone”.

Starmer says Truss has no mandate, saying instead of leadership there is a “vacuum”.

He told the Commons: “Now is a time for consistent messaging. But what do we get? A Prime Minister saying absolutely no spending reductions, a Chancellor saying there will be cuts. A Prime Minister saying she’s in charge, a Chancellor who thinks he’s the CEO and she’s just the chair.

“How can Britain get the stability it needs when all the Government offers is grotesque chaos? How can Britain get the stability it needs, when instead of leadership we have this utter vacuum?

“How can Britain get the stability it needs when the Prime Minister has no mandate from her party and no mandate from the country?”

Responding to Labour in the Commons, Mordaunt says: “I’m quietly confident that the leader of the opposition will not have his 15 minutes of fame.”

Here’s a clip of Mordaunt addressing the Commons this afternoon:

Screenshot 2022-10-17 160048 Penny Mordaunt taking questions in the Commons parliamentlive.tv parliamentlive.tv

Mordaunt defends the British Prime Minister’s decision to change Chancellor, saying it was the “right thing to do” and “it took courage”.

She says: “With regard to questions raised on economic policy, I will defer to the Chancellor. Honourable members will want time to question him fully.”

She adds: “The decision taken by our Prime Minister would have been a very tough one, politically and personally. Yet, she has taken it. And she has done so because it is manifestly in the national interest that she did.

“She did not hesitate to do so because her focus is on the wellbeing of every one of our citizens. It was the right thing to do. And whether you agree with it or not, it took courage to do it.

“In contrast, what the right honourable gentleman has done today, at this most serious moment, took no courage or judgment or regard to the national interest.”

British Prime Minister Liz Truss has left Downing Street.

Truss was seen leaving at the back of No 10 in a silver Range Rover shortly before 3.50pm.

Mordaunt continues to take questions on her behalf in the Commons. 

Conservative Peter Bone says Kwasi Kwarteng had “produced a part-Budget not the whole thing”.

He says: “If I was a financial director of a plc and I went to a board and suggested that we cut our revenues greatly and we wouldn’t put up a tax increase next year, the director of the board would look at me and say ‘well that’s good, so Peter what are the spending implications and how’s it going to be funded?’

“Unfortunately for the previous chancellor he didn’t provide those answers.

“We had a statement lasting two and half hours instead of a Budget which should have been debated for 23 or 24 hours.

“So would the leader of House admit that that’s the reason the Chancellor had to (go), he produced a part-Budget not the whole thing?”

Penny Mordaunt replies: “I hope that we will soon be able to hear from the Chancellor on these important matters, concerns from members of this House and also their constituents.”

Mordaunt says a general election would cause “weeks of disruption and delay”.

She criticises Starmer, saying he blocked an election three years ago when Parliament was “paralysed by Brexit” and a general election “would have been in the national interest”, and for supporting Jeremy Corbyn when he was Labour leader.

She says: “Today, when the country needs some stability and urgent legislation to put through cost of living measures, and while we are in the middle of an economic war levelled at every school and hospital in this country, he now calls for one and weeks of disruption and delay.

“We will take no lectures from the honourable gentleman on working in the national interest.”

She also says he had “abandoned every single one of his pledges during the Labour leadership contest”.

Labour MP Stella Creasy says it is the job of the Prime Minister to take big decisions on many issues.

She tells the Commons: “All we know right now is, unless she tells us otherwise, the Prime Minister is cowering under her desk and asking for it all to go away.

“Isn’t it about time she did and let somebody else who can make decisions in the British national interest get in charge instead?”

Mordaunt replies, saying:

“The Prime Minister is not under a desk, as the honourable lady says”.

The minister could barely be heard at this point due to laughter and heckling from opposition MPs.

Mordaunt adds: “I can assure the House that, with regret, she is not here for a very good reason.”

Mordaunt has apologised in the Commons that the events leading to the changes today have “added to the concerns” about the “major volatility” in the economy.

She says this after Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey asks her: “The previous prime minister shattered the public’s trust in the Government.

“The current Prime Minister has trashed the British economy.

“Meanwhile, Conservative MPs have sat there and let it happen. So for the damage and pain they have caused across our country, will the Leader of the House on behalf of the whole party, address the people and businesses of our great country and apologise?”

Mordaunt replies: “We have made this change for a reason. And I understand that people want certainty and reassurance about their bills, their businesses, and their benefits.

“And I am sorry that the events leading to the changes today have added to the concerns about the major volatility that was already there existing in the economy. That’s why we are putting it right today.”

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald accuses Liz Truss of “hiding in Downing Street”.

“Today Scotland’s First Minister set out an optimistic, ambitious and credible economic plan for Scotland’s future. A leader who spent over an hour setting out and answering questions on the positive case for our country’s independence,” she says.

“It’s a very stark constant to a Prime Minister hiding in Downing Street. A Prime Minister terrified to answer for the mess she has made. The mess which will cause so much harm to all of our constituents….

“Can the leader of the House tell us exactly where on earth is the Prime Minister and if she doesn’t even have the backbone to show up here today, is there really any point in her showing up here again. Surely time’s up, she needs to go and let the people decide.”

Penny Mordaunt replies: “I’d be interested to know if the First Minister’s statement included the tax dividend to every Scottish household and being a member of the UK.”

British Prime Minister Liz Truss has entered the House of Commons. 

Mordaunt has been repeatedly been asked about the Prime Minister’s whereabouts after Truss sent her to respond to a Labour urgent question in Parliament.

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is now addressing the House of Commons. 

Screenshot 2022-10-17 163532 UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt addressing the House of Commons parliamentlive.tv parliamentlive.tv

Hunt tells the Commons that the UK government has to do what is necessary for economic stability.

A Downing Street source has said Liz Truss had been in “wall-to-wall meetings” with Cabinet colleagues and officials.

Earlier, Penny Mordaunt told MPs the Prime Minister had a genuine reason to be absent from Parliament but “I can’t disclose the reasons”.

Hunt tells the Commons: “We are a country that funds our promises and pays our debts.

“And when that is questioned, as it has been, this Government will take the difficult decisions necessary to ensure there is trust and confidence in our national finances.”

Hunt warns of “decisions of eye-watering difficulty”.

“But I give the House and the public this assurance, every single one of those decisions, whether reductions in spending or increases in tax, will be shaped through core compassionate Conservative values that …  prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable,” he says. 

Hunt tells MPs that “Russia’s unforgiveable invasion of Ukraine has caused energy and food prices to spike”.

“We cannot control what is happening in the rest of the world, but when the interests of economic stability means the Government needs to change course, we will do so and that is what I have come to the House to announce today,” he says.

Speaking about his meetings on taking the position, he says: “The conclusion I have drawn from those conversations, is that we need to do more, more quickly to give certainty to the markets about our fiscal plans and show through action and not just words that the UK can and always will pay our way in the world.”

Hunt says the UK has faced “short-term difficulties” caused by the lack of an Office for Budget Responsibility forecast alongside the so-called mini-budget.

“I want to be completely frank about the scale of the economic challenge we face. We have had short-term difficulties caused by the lack of an OBR forecast alongside the mini-budget,” he says. 

“But there are also inflationary and interest pressures around the world.”

screen-grab-of-chancellor-of-the-exchequer-jeremy-hunt-speaking-in-the-house-of-commons-london-picture-date-monday-october-17-2022 Jeremy Hunt speaking in the House of Commons Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

The Chancellor has announced the formation of a new economic advisory council to provide “more independent expert advice” to the UK Government.

Jeremy Hunt told the Commons he “fully” supports the “vital, independent” roles of the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility.

However, he added: “But I also want more independent expert advice as I start my journey as Chancellor. So, I’m announcing today the formation of a new economic advisory council to do just that.

“This council will advise the Government on economic policy with four names announced today. Rupert Harrison, former chief of staff to the chancellor of the Exchequer, Gertjan Vlieghe from Element Capital, Sushil Wadhwani of Wadhwani Asset Management and Karen Ward of JP Morgan.”

Hunt tells MPs: “We’ve therefore decided to make further changes to the mini-Budget immediately rather than waiting until the medium-term fiscal plan in two weeks’ time in order to reduce unhelpful speculation about those plans.”

He adds: “We’ve decided on the following changes to support confidence and stability. Firstly the Prime Minister and I agreed yesterday to reverse almost all the tax measures announced in the growth plan three weeks’ ago that have not been legislated for in Parliament.

“So we will continue with the abolition of the Health and Social Care Levy, changes to stamp duty, the increase in the annual investment allowance to a million pounds and the wider reforms to investment taxes, but we will no longer be proceeding with the cuts to dividend tax rates saving around a billion pounds a year.

“The reversal of the off-payroll working reforms introduced in 2017 and 2021, saving around two billion pounds a year. The new VAT free shopping scheme for non-UK visitors, saving a further two billion pounds a year or the freeze on alcohol duty rates saving around £600 million a year.”

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Hunt says he and Truss have “reluctantly” agreed it would not be responsible to keep the energy price guarantee beyond April 2023.

The UK Chancellor tells the Commons: “The third step I’m taking today, is to review the energy price guarantee. It is the biggest single expense in the growth plan and one of the most generous schemes in the world, it’s a landmark policy for which I pay tribute to my predecessor, my right honourable friend from Spelthorne and it will support millions of people through a difficult winter reducing inflation by up to 5%.

“So I confirm today that the support we are providing between now and April next year will not change.

“But beyond next April, the Prime Minister and I have reluctantly agreed it would not be responsible to continue exposing the public finances to unlimited volatility in international gas prices.

“So I’m announcing today a Treasury led review into how we support energy bills beyond April next year, the review’s objective is to design a new approach that will cost the taxpayer significantly less than planned whilst ensuring enough support for those in need.”

Hunt tells the Commons that the UK Government “is currently committed to cutting the basic rate of Income Tax to 19% in April of 2023″.

“It is deeply held Conservative value, a value that I share that people should keep more of the money they earn,” he says. 

“Which is why we have continued with the abolition of the Health and Social Care Levy, but at a time when markets are asking serious questions about our commitment to sound public finances, we cannot afford a permanent discretionary increase in borrowing worth £6 billion a year.

“So I’ve decided that the basic rate of Income Tax will remain at 20% and it will do so indefinitely until economic circumstances allow for it to be cut. Taken together with the decision not to cut corporation tax and restoring the top the rate of Income Tax, the measures I’ve announced today will raise around £32 billion every year.”

Truss has left the House of Commons chamber. Hunt is still taking questions from MPs. 

Earlier Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt responded to Labour’s Commons urgent question on Truss’s behalf.

Afterwards, the British Prime Minister arrived at in the chamber moments before Hunt began his speech. 

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves warns the “damage has been done” despite the “humiliating U-turns”.

She says of new UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt: “The fourth in four months of chaos and fiasco as this Conservative Government spirals down the political plughole. But the damage has been done.

“This is a Tory crisis made in Downing Street butt ordinary working people are paying the price.

“All that is left after these humiliating U-turns are higher mortgages for working people and higher bonuses for bankers. And their climb-down on energy support begs the question yet again – why won’t they extend a windfall tax on energy producers to help foot the bill?”

Reeves says Truss has “no authority, no credibility, no plan for growth”, adding: “It is clear for all to see: the people who caused the chaos cannot be the people to fix the chaos. They are out of ideas, out of touch and out of time.”

Polls

Labour has opened up a 36-point poll lead, the largest for any party since October 1997, according to a survey by Redfield and Wilton Strategies.

Among those who said they will vote and excluding “don’t knows”, 56% said they would back Labour (up three points since 13 October), while the Tories were down four points on 20%, the Liberal Democrats were on 11%, the Green Party on 5%, SNP 4% and Reform 2%.

Including the 19% who did not know which way they would vote, the Labour lead was 31 points, with Keir Starmer’s party on 47% and the Tories on 16%.

The pollster surveyed 2,000 eligible voters in Great Britain yesterday.

SNP Treasury spokesperson Alison Thewliss says a “cliff edge” is now looming in April when the energy price guarantee ends.

She tells the Commons that “economic chaos” was an “understatement” for the situation, and adds: “I’m not sure words have yet been invented to describe the scale of unmitigated disaster which the Prime Minister and her chancellors have created in the past 24 days.

“We are back where we started, significantly worse off, due to Tory incompetence.”

She says: “He has not been clear at all. Will he confirm the status of the bankers’ bonus cap. Has it been scrapped or has it not been scrapped?”

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Jeremy Hunt, replying to Rachel Reeves, tells the Commons: “Behind the rhetoric, and I was listening very carefully, I don’t think she disagreed with a single one of the decisions that I announced to Parliament and that is important for the country and markets to know.

“And I think there is also agreement on the process of policy making. I support the independence of the Bank of England, introduced by Gordon Brown, and I know she supports the independence of the OBR to set up by George Osborne. The whole Government supports the independence of those two important institutions.

“I fully accept, and I don’t think that I could have been more clear that we have had to change some decisions made in the last few weeks, but what I reject wholeheartedly is her broader narrative about Conservative economic management.”

Conservative MP Simon Hoare urges the Chancellor to “slay the dragon of fracking” as it was not in the Conservative Party manifesto.

He tells the Commons: “My right honourable friend is newly empowered, and he’s able to slay many dragons, could he slay the dragon of fracking which was not in our manifesto?”

Hunt replies: “The Government position is very clear, we will not proceed unless there is local support.”

Hunt fails to guarantee benefits will increase in line with inflation as he told the Commons he is not making “firm commitments” on any individual elements of tax and spending.

His comments come after Labour former shadow chancellor John McDonnell asked him: “The backdrop to today’s statement isn’t just the chaos of the last fortnight, it is also a report of three weeks ago that demonstrated as a result of austerity, there has been over 300,000 excess deaths.

“Can I ask him in his preparations for 31 October that he recognises that unless he increases benefits by at least the rate of inflation, there will be more excess deaths and suffering.”

The Chancellor replies: “He will know because I’ve said it many times today that I’m not making firm commitments on any individual elements of tax and spending, but I hope he is reassured that I have been very clear about the values through which we will take those decisions.”

Concerns over mortgages are at the “top” of Hunt’s mind, he has told the House of Commons.

Conservative former minister Steve Brine asked Hunt whether he believes that a rise in interest rates by the Bank of England is inevitable.

Hunt replied that it is “not for the Government to say what the Bank of England does when the Monetary Policy Committee makes its decision on interest rates”.

“But of course I have had conversations with the governor to ask him what it is the Bank needs to hear for them to feel the inflationary pressures will be lower and they will not have to make as high an increase as perhaps some people are predicting, and thinking about the concerns of our constituents’ mortgages is top of my mind.”

Here’s an interesting tidbit outside of the House of Commons – the announcement of the Booker Prize 2022 won’t be broadcast on BBC News today because of the “UK news agenda”, according to organisers.

The tally of Tory MPs publicly calling for Liz Truss to resign has risen to five.

Speaking on Sky News, Charles Walker said: “I think her position is untenable.”

“She has put colleagues, the country, through a huge amount of unnecessary pain and upset and worry. We don’t need a disruptor in No 10. We need a uniter.”

Walker said the situation “can only be remedied” with “a new prime minister”.

He gave Truss another “week or two” before she steps down or is forced to resign, adding that he is “so cross” about how “catastrophically incompetent” the government has been.

Hunt says one of the first lessons he has learned as Chancellor is not to “speculate” about why markets behave the way they do.

Meanwhile, Truss has arrived at a meeting of the One Nation group of Tory MPs in Westminster.

After two hours, Hunt has now finished taking questions.

Senior Conservative MP Mel Stride has indicated that Tory MPs will be discussing Liz Truss’ position at a dinner this evening organised to discuss economic policy.

He told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “Will we be discussing other matters? I’m afraid that everybody’s discussing other matters.”

Liz Truss has acknowledged “mistakes have been made” at a meeting of the One Nation group of Tory MPs, according to Conservative Party chairman Jake Berry.

Leaving the meeting, he told journalists there had been a focus on “unity”.

“The Prime Minister started by saying that mistakes have been made, she acknowledged them, she is bringing the party together,” he said.

“Colleagues who were there (were) very heavily focused on unity. Matt Hancock made a really good intervention, saying that now is the time for unity, we’ve got to get behind the PM.”

He said Truss had been “exceptional”, and he had not heard any irritation towards her in the meeting, however he noted it was still going on.

Truss today met with Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs.

No 10 sources confirmed the meeting, saying it was “private” and “pre-planned”.

As calls grow for the Prime Minister to go, it is likely that her lack of support among her own MPs came up.

Afterwards, Truss appeared unreactive and stared straight ahead as she sat next to her new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in the Commons chamber.

Welsh secretary Robert Buckland has arrived at No 10 ahead of a Cabinet drinks event this evening.

A short time earlier the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury Edward Argar also arrived at Downing Street, to calls of “does she know what she’s doing?” from journalists.

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Hunt has said he believes Liz Truss will still be Prime Minister at Christmas, despite growing calls for her to go.

Sky News reported that the new Chancellor urged Tory MPs to “give her a chance” and said the country does not need more instability in an interview with the broadcaster.

He also denied ambitions to become prime minister himself, saying: “I rule it out, Mrs Hunt rules it out, three Hunt children rule it out.”

Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt and chief whip Wendy Morton arrived together at Downing Street this evening.

Ed Miliband has accused the UK Government of being “truly in office, but not in power”.

The shadow climate change secretary told the House of Commons: “What a shambles this Government is. We are debating what they describe as their landmark Bill for a two-year price guarantee, which was only published last Wednesday, and it’s already been shredded by the Chancellor this morning.

“And last Wednesday, members were in the House at Prime Minister’s Questions and the Prime Minister went on and on about her decisive action of a two-year guarantee.

“She even derided the Opposition’s approach of a six-month freeze, seeking to spread fear about what would happen in March. And now the Government have adopted our proposal.

“Never mind a vision, never mind a plan for the years ahead. This Government cannot even give us a plan for the coming week. Truly in office, but not in power.”

secretary-of-state-for-business-energy-and-industrial-strategy-jacob-rees-mogg-arrives-at-10-downing-street-in-london-picture-date-monday-october-17-2022 Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives at 10 Downing Street in London Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg told journalists that Liz Truss should “absolutely not” resign and that she is “a very good Prime Minister” as he arrived at Downing Street this evening.

The British Prime Minister’s press secretary said Liz Truss told Tory MPs in the One Nation group she was “sorry” for mistakes made.

MPs in the meeting gave slightly different accounts, with Simon Hoare suggesting she did apologise but not in so many words.

He told journalists: “I think she, in a very sincere way – and I was struck by her sincerity  … she was candid that mistakes had been made. I think some of those mistakes she admitted were avoidable mistakes. But I thought that the tone, the language that she adopted, indicated a clear apology, without … flagellating herself in the middle of the room.”

Asked if that meant she apologised without saying the words, he said: “That’s a good way of describing it, yes.”

Alec Shelbrooke said she did not say sorry while he was in the meeting, but he only got there part-way through.

Pressed on whether she said the words “I am sorry”, Truss’s press secretary said: “Yeah.”

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has arrived at Downing Street.

There was no point today at which Liz Truss thought her time was up, according to her press secretary.

Following the conclusion of a meeting of the One Nation group of Tory MPs, journalists were also told there are no plans for a further reshuffle of the Cabinet.

Asked if Truss thought her time was up at any point today, her press secretary said: “No.”

He said her general mood had been “determined” to do “what’s best for the country and deliver the Growth Plan”.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has conceded he had little to say which could soothe the nerves of worried voters.

When told by Channel 4 News that he had nothing reassuring to say, he replied: “I don’t think I do. I think that’s a fair comment but I think the thing that is most terrifying of all when you face very grave challenges.

“And let’s be clear I’ve been very honest that there were some mistakes in the mini budget, but it isn’t just the mini budget, that actually is a small part of much broader instabilities caused by the war in Ukraine, the backlog from Covid, and so on.

“These are very serious times for all countries around the world and the worst thing any government can do is not be completely honest and transparent about the scale of the challenges.

“And I think, actually, I don’t want to say it’s reassuring, but I hope people understand that we are being straight about the scale of the challenges and I hope there are some reassurance in that honesty at least.”

prime-minister-liz-truss-during-a-press-conference-in-the-briefing-room-at-downing-street-london-picture-date-friday-october-14-2022 British Prime Minister Liz Truss Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Liz Truss admitted to a meeting of the One Nation group of Tory MPs that “we tried to do too much too quickly”, her press secretary said.

“The Prime Minister said she was sorry for some of the mistakes that have been made over the last few weeks,” he said.

She stressed the need to push through the energy package and change to National Insurance contributions “quickly”, he added.

Truss also condemned briefings against some parliamentary colleagues in the newspapers over the last couple of weekends, her press secretary said.

Meanwhile, she “confirmed her presence” at Cop27, and “made clear that she does not decide where the King goes”.

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman was one of the last Cabinet members to arrive at Downing Street ahead for the evening’s reception.

Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke said the British Prime Minister answered questions from the One Nation group “calmly”, and appeared to recognise flaws in communication.

He told journalists: “The PM answered (the questions) calmly, she answered the questions people were asking.

“She said it is important about how we communicate, and I think she recognises that we haven’t got communication right in many, many ways, and we need to improve on that.”

He said some questions were “tough” and “direct”, and Truss “took them on board”.

Shelbrooke said concerns were raised about fracking, to which the Prime Minister stressed it remains the policy that local consent will be vital.

The Cabinet drinks didn’t last too long – most ministers who arrived at Downing Street for the event left around an hour after the reception began.

Cabinet ministers Rehman Chishti, Suella Braverman and Michelle Donelan came out together from No 10, as did several others including Kemi Badenoch and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Sky News Political Editor Beth Rigby has declared that it “looks to be over” for Truss.

“Jeremy Hunt’s decision to not just junk most of Liz Truss’s tax-cutting plan but go further and ditch much of her flagship energy policy signalled the end of not only ‘Trussonomics’, but potentially the prime minister herself,” Rigby writes.

“When the end comes is unclear: Ms Truss may have been bought some time by the fact the markets settled after the new chancellor threw her plans on the bonfire,” she says in her analysis.

“But with her policies demolished and her first choice of chancellor sacked, there’s no firewall left now between the PM and her fuming parliamentary party.”

NEW: Truss has said she is “sorry” for economic “mistakes” but that she is “committed” to her job.

In her interview with the BBC, Truss says she wanted to help people with bills and taxes but that her policies went “too far”, “too fast”.

She said she appointed new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to “restore economic stability”.

Asked whether she will lead the Conservatives into the next general election, Truss said that she will.

“Definitely?”

“Well, look, I’m not focused on internal debates within the Conservative Party.”

Liz Truss has apologised for her “mistakes” and pledged to lead the Tories into the next general election. You can find more details from her interview here.

After a long day for politics across the water, we’ll leave it there for tonight. Thanks for following along.

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