‘Very clear threat!’ Liam Halligan sends warning to Tories as rebel group emerges

‘Very clear threat!’ Liam Halligan sends warning to Tories as rebel group emerges

Liam Halligan and Ranil Jayawardena discuss the Conservative Growth Group

GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 03/10/2023

- 15:17

Liam Halligan warned that the group 'could threaten to stop the budget bill'

GB News' Business and Economics Editor Liam Halligan highlighted a "clear threat" to the Conservative Party, as rebel group the Conservative Growth Party continues to climb in members.

Speaking to GB News presenters Andrew Pierce and Bev Turner, Liam was joined by leader of the group Ranil Jayawardena, who denied any threat to leader Rishi Sunak.

During the discussion on Britain's Newsroom, live from the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Halligan recalled a conversation with Jayawardena at the Great British Growth rally, where former Prime Minister Liz Truss gave a speech.

Liam said: "I said there are upwards of 50 members. That's quite a lot of the parliamentary party. And Ranil, in an aside, said to me actually Liam I think you'll find we're nearer 60.

Liam Halligan appears on GB News

Liam Halligan warned the Conservatives of the 'threat' facing them from rebels

GB News

"I said 'isn't this interesting?' Because of that Conservative Growth Group, a big chunk of them have said they will not vote for any government legislation that puts taxes up, including Priti Patel, including Liz Truss.

"So if there is a budget statement, an autumn statement or a budget next year, and the OBR says this puts up the total amount of GDP that's taken by tax, a huge chunk of the parliamentary party, the government's own MPs won't vote for it. Right. And the number of them is about the same size, 60, as the government's current working majority. If the government can't get its budget bill through, that's a no confidence."

Andrew then asked Jayawardena about the identity of the members of the rebel group: "Can you tell us who the new names are who've come forward? In the interest of openness and transparency, any names that we would know?”

Jayawardena replied: "No, we we don't reveal our names. We're not like one of the research groups and so on. It's for members themselves to set out whether they support our agenda."

Jayawardena then defended the rise in the group, stating: "The point is this just shows that the economic growth agenda hasn't gone away. In fact, it's absolutely crucial for this country. And you know, we've been living in this sort of in the whole of the Western world and this sort of Social Democratic model for the last 25 years.

"No one's wanted to break out of it and whilst they stopped Liz trying to do that, and whilst Liz has admitted herself she could have done things in a different way, I think the ideas at the heart of it need to be explored."

Bev Turner then pressed Liam on the possible impact of such a group, asking: “What you're saying, Liam, is this group, it has such momentum that they could genuinely scupper budgetary ambitions?”

Liam replied: “Every time there's an Autumn statement or a budget, there's a piece of legislation called a Finance Bill, that then has to go through Parliament to enact everything. That will bring the government down.”

Rishi Sunak attends the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester

Rishi Sunak is facing growing rebellion from the Conservative Growth Group


Bev asked Jayawardena directly: “Do you want to do that?”

Jayawardena quickly replied: “That's certainly not our intention. We actually focus on trying to work with the government to push them to do the right thing. So they scrapped the lifetime allowance for example, to help doctors stay in public service. So we got that win.

“They're listening on inheritance tax, which is a terrible death tax that we need to get rid of in this country and costs a fraction of the Treasury's revenue.”

Liam then reacted to the tone of Jayawardena's response, adding: “And that Ranil is, if I may say so for the benefit of our viewers and listeners, that is a very well-spoken but a very clear threat. That is what is happening.

"If there are, and I'm not saying that there aren't, if there are upwards of 60 members of this Conservative Growth Group and the government's working majority is 60, which it is once you take out Sinn Fein and the parliamentary tellers and the Speaker and all the rest of it, then these guys could threaten to stop the budget bill.”

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