Tories could leave Liz Truss as PM to take the fall for 'really tough winter', says Lib Dem leader Davey

17 October 2022, 19:05 | Updated: 17 October 2022, 19:10

Liz Truss could be left to take the fall for a tough winter, says Sir Ed Daveyt
Liz Truss could be left to take the fall for a tough winter, says Sir Ed Daveyt. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Kit Heren

Conservative MPs could leave Liz Truss as Prime Minister until next year to let her take the fall for the "really tough winter" ahead, the Liberal Democrat leader has said.

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Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said he had heard a Westminster rumour that the ruling party could choose to let Ms Truss "take all the blame" for the cost of living as it spirals this winter.

Jeremy Hunt on Monday
Jeremy Hunt on Monday. Picture: Getty

Sir Ed said: "Well it’s going to be a really tough winter - mortgage rates up, hitting millions of families, energy bills up hitting millions of pensioners and others, disabled people."

He added: "They’re just thinking a new Tory Prime Minister would take the blame for that.

Read more: Andrew Marr: 'Liz Truss is no longer Prime Minister - Jeremy Hunt has taken over and locked her in the attic'

"They’re thinking why don’t we let her stay on a little bit longer, let her take all the blame, then maybe after the May elections, bring someone new in."

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Sir Ed said he thought Ms Truss would leave her position soon, adding the caveat that "it’s a bit of a mug’s game betting on anything to do with the Conservative party at the moment.

"They’re so divided that how do they choose how to succeed her? And that I think that is their problem and when they’ve sorted that out, they might get rid of her."

Liz Truss
Liz Truss. Picture: Getty

It comes after new chancellor Jeremy Hunt effectively undid almost all of the measures Ms Truss announced three weeks ago, a humiliating climbdown in an embarrassing tenure at Number 10.

The flagship energy price help that Ms Truss has tried to promote as a key win during her time as Prime Minister will end in April and be replaced with more targeted help, Mr Hunt said in a statement on Monday morning.

Read more: Liz Truss leaves the Commons an hour after arriving late because of 'meeting with Sir Graham Brady'

Plans to cut the basic rate of income tax to 19% from 20% have also been shelved, saving just over £5bn, and an idea to scrap VAT for international tourists at certain stores will also not go ahead.

However, stamp duty will still be cut as planned and the 1.25% rise in National Insurance contributions will be cancelled.

Mr Hunt also said "we will no longer be proceeding with the cuts to dividend tax rates, the reversal of off-payroll working reforms introduced in 2017 and 2021... or the freeze on alcohol duty rates".

The Prime Minister was heavily criticised later this afternoon after leaving the chamber just half an hour after arriving.She first appeared towards the end of Penny Mordant answering questions from MPs on her behalf.

The Leader of the House of Commons was forced to deny that the PM was ‘hiding under the desk’, insisting that she had a very genuine reason for not showing up at the start.