Endgame for Truss? 1922 chief Graham Brady enters No10 as Tories call for embattled PM to quit

20 October 2022, 08:41 | Updated: 20 October 2022, 13:01

Liz Truss is meeting with Sir Graham
Liz Truss is meeting with Sir Graham. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Liz Truss is meeting with the influential head of Tory backbench MPs Sir Graham Brady as calls for her to quit grow.

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It is believed the Prime Minister requested the meeting with the head of the 1922 Committee.

Sir Graham is the MP to whom Tory colleagues would submit letters of no confidence in their party’' leader – but to call a vote against Ms Truss so soon after her election would require an extraordinary intervention from him and a change of the rules.

A Downing Street source the PM invited Sir Graham as part of a "taking the temperature" exercise to assess the mood of Tory MPs, several of whom have handed in letters of no confidence in her.

Therese Coffey, the deputy prime minister, is also understood to be at No10, as has Tory party chairman Jake Berry.

It is possible that, as the political crisis in Government grows and Conservatives increasingly call for her resignation, the 1922 Committee could adapt the rules to kick her out.

However, Ms Truss's spokesman said she would still be in the job after the October 31 fiscal statement, as her Government looks to row back Kwasi Kwarteng's disastrous mini-Budget.

"No plans for any change. The Prime Minister will continue beyond the 31st," he said.

Earlier, transport secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan insisted Liz Truss will still be Prime Minister on Monday.

Read more: Chaos in the Commons: Tories hit by bullying row during crunch vote after Home Secretary Braverman quits

Ms Trevelyan defended the leader after chaos in Westminster continued to unfold on Wednesday evening, with claims there was bullying going on within the Tory party during a vote on fracking.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Ms Trevelyan said: "I wasn't there to see these alleged scenes but I know that Mr Speaker will be looking very closely at that.

"It is never acceptable to try and direct a colleague like that if that indeed is what went on.

"We are respected as one of the great parliaments of the world because we have genuine freedom to vote as our conscience determines."

Labour MP Chris Bryant said after the incident that some MPs were "physically manhandled into another lobby and being bullied" into casting his vote against the fracking motion.

He added that "utterly desperate" Tory MPs were "crying on my shoulder".

Chris Bryant shared an image of a crowded lobby
Chris Bryant shared an image of a crowded lobby. Picture: Social media

Despite the turmoil, when asked whether Ms Truss will still be PM on Monday, Ms Trevelyan insisted the answer was "yes", also suggesting she could still be in the position for the 2024 elections.

"We want to get 2024 - we have a big agenda to deliver and we want to make sure we provide the energy price guarantee," she said.

The Transport Secretary also insisted people should have confidence in the Conservatives because they are delivering an "important package of work" to provide "stability".

She added: "Jeremy Hunt is the new Chancellor, bringing in... a full package at the end of the month, so we want to give him the space to do that."

Read more: 'Hoping things will magically come right is not serious politics': Home Sec quits over security breach with swipe at PM

Anne-Marie Trevelyan said people should have confidence in the Conservatives
Anne-Marie Trevelyan said people should have confidence in the Conservatives. Picture: LBC

Other sitting Cabinet ministers are understood to have less hope for the leader, with one telling the Times last night: "It's terminal, the rancour in the parliamentary party is too much. She can't recover from this."

Graham Brady is set to meet the other officers of the 1922 Committee today amid rumours he is considering changing the rules to allow the party to remove MsTruss from power.

There is speculation that he has already received more than 54 letters calling for a confidence vote in the Prime Minister - the threshold for triggering one if Ms Truss was not in the 12 months' grace period for new leaders.

Truss during PMQs on Wednesday.
Truss during PMQs on Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

Tory MPs have said Ms Truss has 12 hours to save her job after Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, also quit over divided views on immigration earlier on Wednesday, replaced by Ms Trevelyan's predecessor Grant Shapps.

The exodus appeared to continue with speculation that Chief Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy, Craig Whittaker, walked out after a last-minute U-turn on a threat to strip the whip from Conservative MPs if they backed a Labour challenge over fracking.

Mr Whittaker is alleged to have shouted as he left the voting lobby: "I am f***ing furious and I don’t give a f*** anymore."