Andrew Marr: 'Lets try civil war', chaotic Tories decide, after Shapps replaces Braverman as Home Secretary

19 October 2022, 18:33

Andrew Marr said the Tories could be on the brink of civil war
Andrew Marr said the Tories could be on the brink of civil war. Picture: LBC

By Kit Heren

Conservative MPs could be on the brink of "civil war", Andrew Marr has said, after Suella Braverman left her post as Home Secretary on Wednesday, to be replaced by Grant Shapps - a "former plotter" against Prime Minister Liz Truss.

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Speaking on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, Andrew said that replacing Ms Braverman, from the right of the party, with Mr Shapps, a moderate, "has only added to the jangly and angry mood around Tory MPs".

He said: "Right now I don’t know. Liz Truss doesn’t know. Nobody knows. But it’s all falling apart yet again.

Liz Truss
Liz Truss. Picture: Getty

"The Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been fired just weeks into the job, apparently for having secret documents on her phone.

"Suella, in her resignation letter, attacks the government for breaking its promises. Suella is angry. Join the club, Suella.

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Andrew Marr: 'It's all falling apart yet again.'

"Liz Truss has appointed as her replacement, we hear, Grant Shapps, the moderate Tory MP and former minister who was a leading plotter against… Liz Truss."

Andrew went on: "Search me. If things carry on like this for much longer, we’re all going to start feeling sorry for the Prime Minister. Her day had been unravelling fast, with a confidence vote due in about an hour’s time, something I can’t believe the Conservatives could actually lose. The Prime Minister had nevertheless hurriedly cancelled her afternoon engagements. She’s hanging by a thread.

Suella Braverman has left the government after just five weeks as Home Secretary
Suella Braverman has left the government after just five weeks as Home Secretary. Picture: Alamy

"A former senior Cabinet minister told me: ‘she could be gone at any time.’ All day. Liz Truss has been in repetitively apologetic form.

"Keir Starmer must be hoping that is the least popular Prime Minister pollsters can ever remember. she stays in Number 10 for as long as possible. That’s in his interests. But he has to play the game. And play the game he did."

Ms Truss told the House of Commons at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday that she is a "fighter not a quitter".

Read more: 'Hoping things will magically come right is not serious politics': Home Sec quits over security breach with swipe at PM

Andrew added: "A fighter and not a quitter. Now that’s a famous phrase in politics. Liz Truss nicked it from Peter Mandelson who first said it back in 2001, when he won his Hartlepool seat in the general election.

"He was much mocked for it at the time but it still has much resonance as a defiant ‘I’m not done yet’ battle cry. Mandelson had lost his government job after a scandal. Back then he roared to the crowd ‘it was said ‘I was facing political oblivion, my career in tatters, never to be part of the political living again, which sounds familiar.

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Peter Mandelson also said 'I'm a fighter not a quitter'
Peter Mandelson also said 'I'm a fighter not a quitter'. Picture: Getty

"But to come back he did, for a succession of big jobs under Blair and Brown. In politics, Truss seems to be saying, there can be life after death. Well maybe there can, but death first."

Andrew continued: "On a day which also saw the Prime Minister - well the person who has that title at the moment - suspend one of her key advisors for leaking poisonously against the former chancellor Sajid Javid, and contrary to previous briefing, saying she would keep the triple lock protection for pensions, the fall of Suella Braverman, foe of tofu eaters, immigrants and liberals, brought matters to a frenzied head.

Read more: Embattled Liz Truss pulls out of factory visit ahead of showdown with Tory rebels over fracking

"In her resignation letter, she told the Prime Minister ‘I have concerns about the direction of this government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have serious concerns about this government’s commitment to manifesto commitments, such as reducing inflation.

Grant Shapps has been appointed Home Secretary
Grant Shapps has been appointed Home Secretary. Picture: Getty

"Now that is quite a blast at Truss from the right of the Tory party, and they won’t be any happier with the appointment of Grant Shapps, the former transport minister and key anti-Truss plotter. Now, Shapps is a good performer, and an affable cove, but this has only added to the jangly and angry mood around Tory MPs.

"Now, as I said at the start, I am not sure about anything. Who could be? But it’s beginning to look as if the Tory party, having tried slaughtering one leader, and then a policy revolution which crashed and burned, and then all of those u-turns, is now saying to itself ‘what haven’t we tried? Oh I know - let’s try civil war’."