Tory backlash on the horizon says Nick Timothy, as government U-turn marks the 'beginning of an unravelling'

3 October 2022, 19:15 | Updated: 3 October 2022, 20:16

The government's U-turn marks “beginning of an unravelling”
The government's U-turn marks “beginning of an unravelling”. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Danielle DeWolfe

Former joint Downing Street Chief of Staff, Nick Timothy, has told Tonight with Andrew Marr the government “may be the beginning of an unravelling” following the party’s 45p tax U-turn.

Holding the position under Theresa May’s premiership, Timothy described Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s initial proposals as an “ideological budget”.

“We shouldn’t beat about the bush: the Libertarian part of the party has taken control,” said the former Number 10 Chief of Staff.

“It is quite clear that sizeable numbers of Conservative MPs aren't in the mood to just go along with what they're told by the PM and the Chancellor.”

Asked whether Tory MPs would consider removing Liz Truss as party leader, Timothy said it’s a topic party members are “openly talking about”, as the current Conservative Party Conference continues in Birmingham.

Read more: Andrew Marr: 'What's the point of this new government at all?'

Nick Timothy on Tonight with Andrew Marr
Nick Timothy on Tonight with Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC

“That is something that some people are discussing at the moment. I mean, a lot of members of parliament actually aren't here. They've decided to stay at home and some of those people are having that conversation,” said Timothy.

Noting he did not agree with Kwarteng’s ideological stance, Timothy said the budget represented the “wrong values” - in line with comments made by the Tory MP Michael Gove.

“To me, the Conservative Party is actually about Conservatism. It's not about Liberalism, or Libertarianism,” Timothy told Tonight with Andrew Marr.

Describing how the mini-budget “blew up so spectacularly”, he added the initial financial measures proposed by the Chancellor posed a “huge problem” to the economy.

“If you create a structural deficit in the way that the Chancellor did in that Budget, then markets are going to lose confidence in the position of the British government quite quickly,” he said.

“We almost had pension funds going bust last week before the emergency measures by the Bank of England.”

Andrew Marr spoke with Timothy, Former Chief of Staff to Theresa May
Andrew Marr spoke with Timothy, Former Chief of Staff to Theresa May. Picture: LBC

Adding the Tories now find themselves in a difficult position the 45p tax rate U-turn, Timothy says the party will no longer be able to act in the radical way they would have wanted.

“Their room for manoeuvre is limited by the market, but also by their fellow MPs, and the voters, who have already expressed their displeasure, as you can see through the opinion polls,” says TImothy.

“The risk is that we're in some kind of spiral where the loss of authority makes it then harder to act in future.”