Labour urges Rishi Sunak to strip former PM Liz Truss of Conservative whip after claim of 'deep state sabotage'

24 February 2024, 08:50 | Updated: 24 February 2024, 10:13

Rishi Sunak has been urged to strip Liz Truss of the Conservative whip
Rishi Sunak has been urged to strip Liz Truss of the Conservative whip. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Labour has urged Rishi Sunak to strip Liz Truss, his predecessor as Prime Minister, of the Conservative whip after she said she was "sabotaged" by "the deep state".

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

John Healey, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary, said that Mr Sunak "has got to set some standards for his MPs."

Labour shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth earlier wrote to the Prime Minister to say that the "egregious" remarks made by Ms Truss, "cannot go unchecked or unchallenged".

Mr Healey told LBC's Matthew Wright that what Ms Truss said "can't go unchecked and unchallenged and so that's why Labour's written to Sunak" to suggest taking the whip away.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said he would not have used the same language as his fellow Conservative MP but did not say she should lose the whip.

Read more: ‘They got me’: Liz Truss lashes out at ‘economic establishment’ as she speaks at right wing conference in the US

Read more: David Cameron accuses Putin and his regime of ‘behaving like Nazis’ as war in Ukraine hits two years

Watch Again: Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey joins Matthew Wright | 24/02/24

Ms Truss had used a talk at the Conservative Political Action Conference (Cpac) in the US to claim her efforts to cut taxes were "sabotaged" by the "administrative state and the deep state".

The former prime minister, whose disastrous mini-budget in 2022 unleashed economic chaos, later took part in an interview with Steve Bannon and remained silent as he hailed far-right figure Tommy Robinson a "hero."

She was criticised for not challenging the comment by senior Tory MP Sir Sajid Javid, who wrote in a post on X: "I'd hope every MP would confront such a statement head on. Liz should really know better."

Ms Truss had claimed in her speech that Conservatives are "now operating in what is a hostile environment" and that "left-wing elites" will be "aided and abetted by our enemies in China, Iran and Russia".

Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss
Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss. Picture: Alamy

Interviewed by Mr Bannon after her speech, she also said she was willing to work with Nigel Farage to change the Conservative Party.

And she suggested the former Donald Trump adviser, who is facing fraud charges in New York, could "come over to Britain and sort out Britain".

In his letter to Mr Sunak, Mr Ashworth wrote: "For a senior politician to engage in spreading such blatant conspiracy theories is incredibly damaging to our democracy, our institutions and social cohesion."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Picture: Alamy

He added: "For a former prime minister to make such remarks, while on an international visit to a country with whom the UK shares a special relationship which upholds liberal values is an unforgivable lowering of the office of prime minister which lessens the United Kingdom's standing in the world and needs to be acted upon.

Ms Truss resigned in October 2022 after the fallout from her botched financial statement, becoming the country's shortest-serving prime minister after just 49 days in office.

"I think Margaret Thatcher would be turning in her grave at what Liz Truss has been saying in America" says James O'Brien to caller Rob

Her speech at Cpac saw her sharing a stage with Mr Trump, whose presidential bid she all but directly endorsed, and Reform UK founder and former Ukip leader Mr Farage.

She said: "Conservatives are now operating in what is now a hostile environment and we essentially need a bigger bazooka."

She claimed that the “catastrophic reaction” to the budget that cost her her job had come from the “usual suspects” in both the media and the corporate world, as well as government, the Office of Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England.

She accused “the left” of undermining the Conservative-led British government because they “did not accept that they lost at the ballot box”.

“They’ve been weaponising our court system to stop us contorting illegal immigrants, they’ve been using the administrative state to make sure that conservative policies are faulted and they’ve been pushing their woke agenda through our schools, through our campuses, and even in our corporations,” she said.

Ms Truss also took aim at "Chinos" - conservatives in name only - saying: "It's people who think 'I want to be popular, I don't want to upset people, I don't want to look like a mean person, I want to attend nice dinner parties in London or Washington DC, I want my friends to like me, I don't want to cause trouble'.

"What those people are doing is they are compromising, and they are triangulating, and they are losing the argument."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the Middle East is 'on the brink'

'The Middle East is on the brink,' UN chief warns, as Israel approves plan of attack after huge Iranian onslaught

Elections 2024 Media Debates

News organisations urge Joe Biden and Donald Trump to agree to debates

Survivors of the attack are set to sue MI5

Hundreds of survivors of Manchester Arena bombing to sue MI5

The UK is set to experience some warm, dry weather

Two-week period when Brits to bask in warm, dry weather revealed, after cold period ahead

Lennix died after being hit by a car on Saturday

Parents pay tribute to 'happy go lucky' son, 8, killed in crash while riding scooter on quiet Wiltshire road

Damien Guerot stepped in in Sydney

Builder who wielded bollard to defend children from rampaging Sydney knifeman says attacker's 'eyes were empty'

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

Israel approves plan of attack after foiling massive Iran onslaught, as world leaders call for 'stabilisation'

The G7 have condemned the Iran attack on Israel

G7 leaders condemn Iran's 'unprecedented' attack on Israel and say they 'stand ready to take further measures'

Russia Ukraine War

More civilians die in Ukraine amid warning US aid delays will hamper Kyiv forces

The minibus lying on its side

Seventeen rushed to hospital after bus carrying football fans overturns on motorway in multiple car smash

Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy and Paloma Faith join celebrities demanding Government act over Sudan

Dawn Singleton was among six victims of the stabbings

Police officer fiancé of Sydney stabbing victim 'discovered she had been killed after being scrambled to the scene'

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

Israel says Iran conflict 'not over' and vows to 'collect a price when timing is right', as US urges restraint

Poland Abortion

Polish opponents of abortion march against recent steps to liberalise strict law

A boy, 8, was killed in the incident.

Boy, 8, dies after crash on quiet Wiltshire cul-de-sac