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'Very difficult and very humiliating': former Tory chancellor Lord Lamont slams Liz Truss 'mess'
18 October 2022, 19:09
Prime Minister Liz Truss is in a 'very difficult and very humiliating' situation, a former Conservative chancellor has said.
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Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, Lord Norman Lamont said that the "whole spectacle" of British politics over the last month has been "a bad advertisement for Britain".
Lord Lamont, who was Tory chancellor from 1990-1993, said: "I don’t think the original mini-Budget was well thought through. I don’t think it was just a matter of presentation.
"I think it was inherently a gamble and it’s true that there were international factors at work, but the fact that there are unsettled markets was all the more reason not to try a sort of rash experiment, and it came crashing down- and to be honest I wasn’t surprised."
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Norman Lamont
Lord Lamont's comments come as a new poll shows that more than half of Tory members want Liz Truss replaced as Prime Minister, despite voting her in just six weeks ago.
Ms Truss is trying to battle on after a disastrous start to life at Downing Street, having been elected only on September 5.
She had to tear up her economic policies of hefty tax breaks after markets were spooked by whether the Government could afford them, then sacked Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor just days into his job.
'I'm not going to comment on the PM's position'
Ms Truss replaced him with Jeremy Hunt who then killed off most of the rest of the economic plan on Monday, leaving questions over whether he was more in charge than she was, with Tories reportedly plotting to oust her.
Lord Lamont said on Tuesday evening that he was impressed by Mr Hunt.- adding that he thinks the chancellor has won over many Conservative backbenchers, who had supported Ms Truss' catastrophic mini-Budget.
He said: "A lot of Conservative MPs have got rather a naive idea… in their minds that tax cuts, tax cuts, pay for themselves - produce growth, 'abracadabra'. Well it just isn’t like that."
Asked by Andrew if he had ever seen the Tories in "as big a mess", the lifelong Conservative member said: "No I haven’t I think it is terrible. But I think the only hope for the Conservative Party..., whether we can win or just modify the defeat... the important thing is to be seen to be acting in the national interest.
"Don’t think so much about winning the election. Get on and do what is right."
Lord Lamont said that while he did not excuse Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng for the mini-Budget, there were international factors at play.
Lord Lamont said that mortgage rates would have had to come up at some point, but that the UK is now facing this on an accelerated timetable.
"The unwinding of [quantitative easing], of printing money, is something that we’ve been expecting we’d have to face up to at some point. That some point has now arrived, and at a rather difficult and horrible moment.
He added that Britain has faced a "series of crises" in recent years, and it is "not surprising that these should have slowed growth even over a twelve year period."