PMQs: Liz Truss tells hostile Commons ‘I’m a fighter not a quitter’

PMQs: Liz Truss tells hostile Commons ‘I’m a fighter not a quitter’
House of Commons
Rebecca Hutson

By Rebecca Hutson

Published: 19/10/2022

- 12:54

Updated: 19/10/2022

- 14:44

Ms Truss opened Prime Minister’s Questions by saying she was “sorry” and accepted she had “made mistakes”

Liz Truss insisted she is “a fighter not a quitter” after Sir Keir Starmer urged her to go for having “crashed” the economy.

The Prime Minister attempted to strike a defiant tone in the face of relentless heckling from the Opposition benches, claiming the Labour leader has “no idea” and “no plan”.

But Sir Keir, to cheers from his MPs, insisted Labour is a “government in waiting” and said of the Conservatives: “They’re an Opposition in waiting.”

Ms Truss opened Prime Minister’s Questions by saying she was “sorry” and accepted she had “made mistakes” on the economy following a series of U-turns.

She added: “But the right thing to do in those circumstances is to make changes, which I have made, and to get on with the job and deliver for the British people.”

Shouts of “Resign” could be heard as she spoke.

Sir Keir, ending his exchange with Ms Truss, said: “The only mandate she’s ever had is from Members opposite – it was a mandate built on fantasy economics and it ended in disaster.

“The country’s got nothing to show for it except the destruction of the economy and the implosion of the Tory Party.”

Sir Keir read out a list of dropped economic policies, with Labour MPs shouting “Gone” after each one.

He said: “I’ve got the list here: 45p tax cut – gone; corporation tax cut – gone; 20p tax cut – gone; two-year energy freeze – gone; tax-free shopping – gone; economic credibility – gone; and her supposed best friend, the former chancellor (Kwasi Kwarteng) – he’s gone as well.

“They’re all gone. So why is she still here?”

Ms Truss replied: “I am a fighter and not a quitter. I have acted in the national interest to make sure that we have economic stability.”

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle had to intervene to calm opposition heckling.

Ms Truss added: “I am a fighter and not a quitter. We have delivered on the energy price guarantee, we’ve delivered on national insurance, we’re going to deliver to stop the militant trade unions disrupting our railways.

“(Sir Keir) has no idea, he has no plan and he has no alternative.”

Earlier, Sir Keir joked: “A book is being written about the Prime Minister’s time in office.

“Apparently it’s going to be out by Christmas. Is that the release date or the title?”

Ms Truss replied: “I have been in office for just under two months and I have delivered the energy price guarantee making sure that people aren’t paying £6,000 bills this winter.

“I’ve reversed the national insurance increase and I’ve also taken steps, and we will be taking steps, to crack down on the militant unions.

“That is more of a record of action than the honourable gentleman in his two-and-a-half years in the job.”

Sir Keir questioned the “point of a Prime Minister whose promises don’t even last a week” and asked Ms Truss how she can be held to account when “she is not in charge”.

Ms Truss said the Government will “protect the most vulnerable for two years” on energy bills, adding: “I had to take the decision because of the economic situation to adjust our policies.

“I am somebody who’s prepared to front up. I am prepared to take the tough decisions, unlike the honourable gentleman who hasn’t done anything on businesses, who has done nothing to say or protect people after one year. He has got no plan.”

Sir Keir accused the Government of having “crashed the economy” and warned that millions of people are facing “horrendous mortgage repayments”, adding: “And she’s admitted it’s her fault. She shouldn’t have conducted an economic experiment on the British public.”

Addressing Tory MPs, the Labour leader said: “But it’s not just her – they put her there, they’re keeping her there. Why on earth would anyone trust the Tories on the economy ever again?”

Ms Truss claimed Sir Keir was not objecting to economic policies put forward by new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, adding that the Government is “on the side of working people” when it comes to industrial action.

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