Govt's 'amateurish and bungling' way of doing things 'could discredit their whole agenda' Lord Frost tells LBC

4 October 2022, 09:43 | Updated: 4 October 2022, 09:54

Lord Frost hit out at the Government's approach
Lord Frost hit out at the Government's approach. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Will Taylor

The "amateurish" approach by the Government to its agenda has been littered with "political errors" and "avoidable mistakes", the former Brexit negotiator Lord Frost has said.

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The Tory peer criticised the way Liz Truss's Government has tried to implement a big set of tax cuts that threw the pound into turmoil and triggered a £65bn Bank of England intervention to ensure pension funds did not face collapse.

The Prime Minister has now been forced into a U-turn over her abolition of the 45p top rate of income tax.

Lord Frost, who also worked as Boris Johnson's Europe adviser, told LBC's Nick Ferrari at the Tory conference in Birmingham: "The Government are doing the right thing in trying to set a new direction, heading for growth, but they're going about it in quite an amateurish, bungling way.

"They've made political errors, avoidable mistakes and they haven't explained enough.

"And as a result they risk getting a coalition of people who want the status quo to maintain against them and they've got to break out from this."

Despite insisting they would plough on with reforms even as the markets got thrown into chaos after Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's mini-budget, the Government had to humiliatingly U-turn on abolishing the top rate of income tax early on Monday.

Read more: Ready for Tories' next rebellion: Truss refuses to commit to raising benefits in line with inflation

Lord Frost: Government is bungling their plans

Lord Frost said: "I think it would have been better if this had not been part of the package.

"No, it's not the beginning of the end but it does show that they need to find ways of avoiding making these unnecessary political errors, explaining what they're doing, bringing people with us."

He added: "I worry this rather weak start is going to discredit the whole agenda, that every time we try and do anything there’s going to be a coalition against it and I think the only way to deal with that is to pause, explain, set out what needs to be done in a more thoughtful way."

Liz Truss has said part of the problem with her economic policy is that she has not communicated it well enough.

Read more: 'I'm sorry I wasn't specific': Truss apologises to LBC for failing to be clear about £2,500 energy bill cap

Lord Frost: I'm worried a weak start will derail government agenda

She was also forced to apologise to LBC in an interview with Nick Ferrari, broadcast on Tuesday, in which she admitted she had not been clear about the £2,500 energy price guarantee for gas and electric bills.

After critics said households could pay more as the cap is just a limit on a unit of energy, Ms Truss said: "I was talking about the typical bill. What we're actually doing is capping it per unit of energy and the number I gave was for the typical household."

Pushed again, she said: "Well I'm sorry I wasn't more specific, I should have been more specific."

She also said she was "determined" to carry on with her plans but failed to rule out further U-turns.