'Gone, gone, gone, when are you going?': Tetchy Truss insists she is a 'fighter not a quitter' in make-or-break PMQs

19 October 2022, 12:24 | Updated: 19 October 2022, 12:48

Liz Truss had a fiesty PMQs with Sir Keir Starmer
Liz Truss had a fiesty PMQs with Sir Keir Starmer. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Liz Truss tried desperately to cling on to her premiership as she told disbelieving opposition members "she is a fighter, not a quitter" when asked why she hadn't resigned.

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She was taken to task by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer as he rattled through all her U-turns and sacking of Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor.

But the Prime Minister, despite horrendous approval ratings and the economic turmoil brought by the aftermath of the disastrous mini-Budget, tried to appear defiant and repeatedly bring up planned union strikes as her record was savaged.

Sir Keir 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.

"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.

Liz Truss: 'I am a fighter, not a quitter!'

"And her supposed best friend the former Chancellor, he's gone as well. They're all gone, so why is she still here?"

Ms Truss slammed her notes on the dispatch box and said she is a "fighter and not a quitter" to Tory cheers and bemused opposition MPs' jeering, saying she would work in the national interest and had "delivered" on energy bills, the reversal of the National Insurance hike and on tackling trade unions.

She is hoping to cling on to the keys in No10 amid reports that Tories are plotting a route to oust her and several have come out in public to call for her to quit.

Read more: Inflation pushed back up to double figures as Govt warned abandoning pension pledge would be 'devastating'

A damning YouGov poll on Tuesday found that 55% of members of want her to walk despite 57% fo them voting in favour of her over Rishi Sunak.

She retains support from just 38% of the party membership – similar polling to when Boris Johnson finally left, when 59% wanted him gone and 36% thought he should stay on.

Mr Johnson was the most popular candidate to replace Ms Truss if the job became vacant, with 32% of members wanting him, and Mr Sunak on 23%.

Having only taken up the role on September 5, Ms Truss has had to tear up her economic policies of hefty tax breaks after markets were spooked by whether the Government could afford them.

She then sacked Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor just days into his job.

Ms Truss replaced him with Jeremy Hunt who killed off most of the rest of the economic plan on Monday.

That left questions over whether Mr Hunt was actually in charge.

Ms Truss admitted on Monday evening she had gone "too far and too fast".