Former Brexit minister Lord Frost has joined calls for Liz Truss to resign, saying “something has to give” following a chaotic day in Westminster.
He said the prime minister cannot stay in office because she “campaigned against the policies she is now implementing”.
Writing in the Telegraph, Lord Frost dealt another blow to Ms Truss on a difficult day for the government, which saw home secretary Suella Braverman resign and hit out at the prime minister’s “tumultuous” time in office.
He said: “As Suella Braverman made so clear this afternoon, the government is implementing neither the programme Liz Truss originally advocated nor the 2019 manifesto. It is going in a completely different direction.
“There is no shred of a mandate for this. It’s only happening because the Truss government messed things up more badly than anyone could have imagined, and enabled a hostile takeover by its opponents.
“Something has to give. Truss just can’t stay in office for one very obvious reason: she campaigned against the policies she is now implementing.
“However masterfully she now implements them – and it doesn’t seem that it will be very masterfully – it just won’t do. She said she wouldn’t U-turn, and then she did.”
However, senior Tory backbencher Sir Roger Gale on Wednesday night predicted that Ms Truss could emerge stronger after Ms Braverman’s resignation.
The North Thanet MP said: “On balance, at the end of today I would say, in a peculiar way – and it is peculiar – Truss might come out of it stronger. I may be completely wrong and out of touch”.
He said the chaos over the fracking vote had been a “storm in a teacup”, and that while the resignation of Ms Braverman was more significant, it could end up helping Ms Truss’s position due to the subsequent appointment of Grant Shapps as home secretary.
“The Braverman issue is rather more fundamental, but I think on balance it’s possible the prime minister might come out of it actually stronger rather than weaker,” Sir Roger said.
“We need people in the government who are grown-up and experienced and understand real politics.”
Asked whether there was momentum building to remove the prime minister, he said: “No, quite the reverse actually. People aren’t overjoyed. We’re not very happy, but that’s different from wanting to unseat the prime minister.
“It seems to me that, given the economic situation, the fact that we’ve got Jeremy Hunt as the chief executive effectively in control at No 11 now doing things well, and Liz Truss as an, OK, damaged chairman of the board, for the moment we’re better off sticking with Liz Truss and letting Jeremy get on and do his job.”
Ms Braverman resigned earlier on Wednesday after sending an official document from her personal email which is against protocol. In her resignation letter, she mainly voiced concern over the government’s conduct, writing that “pretending we haven’t made mistakes” and having “broken key pledges” is “not serious politics”.
During a chaotic fracking vote in the Commons, chief whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker reportedly threatened to quit over a last-minute U-turn on whether the division would be treated as a vote of confidence.
Later, Downing Street said Ms Morton and Mr Whittaker “remain in post”
Conservative MP Sir Charles Walker was visibly angry as he gave an interview in the House of Commons after the vote, which allegedly saw some Tory MPs “manhandled” into voting lobbies.
“I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I’m livid. I hope all those people who put Liz Truss in Number 10, I hope it was worth it,” Sir Charles said.
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