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

17 October 2022, 18:12 | Updated: 17 October 2022, 18:18

Andrew Marr
Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC

By Kit Heren

Liz Truss is effectively "no longer Prime Minister", because her new chancellor Jeremy Hunt "has locked her in the attic and simply taken over", Andrew Marr has said.

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Opening LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter said that Ms Truss no longer had "the policies, agenda, or authority that a prime minister requires", after Mr Hunt went back on much of her previous economic plans on Monday.

Andrew said: "It was once said that the job of a newspaper editor was to separate the wheat from the chaff - and then print the chaff. Well I want to start today by getting rid of the chaff. 'How long is Liz Truss going to be Prime Minister? Ooh, and how are they going to get rid of her? And, who’s going to get the job next?'

"Look, on an ordinary day, all very interesting. But today, let us be clear. Liz Truss isn't Prime Minister. Her bottom may rest on the chair that the prime minister's bottom normally adorns.

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"She may be signing letters prime ministers generally sign. She may sleep in the prime minister's bed, and later in the week - may - stand in the spot of carpet where prime ministers take questions in the House of Commons.

"But after Jeremy Hunt, the new Chancellor, made his statements today, she doesn't have the policies, agenda, or authority that a prime minister requires. They’ve gone. She’s not in power. Politely, calmly, ruthlessly, Hunt gutted his predecessor’s mini budget and left it on the floor in bleeding chunks."

Watch Tonight with Andrew Marr exclusively on Global Player every Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 7pm

Andrew Marr claims Jeremy Hunt has 'taken over' from Liz Truss

He added: "Liz Truss, the tax-cutter is now the tax-raiser. Last week, she was mocking Labour for only extending the energy price guarantee for six months. Now she's doing just the same. She brought him in as a human shield, using his authority to save her Premiership. Instead, he has - very politely, quite calmly - locked her in the attic and simply taken over.

Read more: New mini budget 2022 explained: Tax cuts and updates revealed

"He sounded far more like a prime minister than, I’m afraid, she ever did. As the pound bounced up, the markets clearly thought so too.

"So that's done. Trouble over? Absolutely not. There are the spending cuts to come, as Jeremy Hunt warned the Commons."

You can also listen to the podcast Tonight with Andrew Marr only on Global Player.

Jeremy Hunt addressing the Commons with Liz Truss
Jeremy Hunt addressing the Commons with Liz Truss on Monday. Picture: Live Parliament Feed
Liz Truss walking in the street
Liz Truss. Picture: Alamy

Andrew continued: "There are really tough times coming, what Hunt himself called decisions of eye-watering difficulty, as Liz Truss sat beside him silent and blinking, looking a bit like a prisoner in the dock listening to the charges against her."

"Question is, can they now get all this through the House of Commons? Tory MPs have to balance supporting measures which will make them even more unpopular, against the risk of an early election - which will do to the Conservative party what the chancellor has just done to its economic policy.

"That's up to the Tory Party exhibiting the kind of discipline it hasn't shown for years. And that's also when the question of a new leader, a new emergency cabinet that reaches out to all parts of the Conservative family, may come back into play."

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt. Picture: Getty

He said: "Liz Truss spent much of the day invisible in Downing Street, only appearing for half an hour to listen to Jeremy Hunt and not appearing in the Commons for the urgent question from the Labour leader. Where was she?

"Stella Creasy was among the Labour MPs wanting to know." Penny Mordaunt said Ms Truss was not "hiding under a desk".

Andrew continued: "That dry assurance from the leader of the house and defeated leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt may, or may not have been intended to be helpful to the Prime Minister. Other possible replacements, including Rishi Sunak, have been seen in the Commons, perhaps waiting for their moment.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Getty
Penny Mordaunt
Penny Mordaunt. Picture: Getty

"Can the Tories really switch leader yet again? In one way, it barely matters. Ordinary families are going to be left with much higher mortgage bills, struggling with inflation and without a government with any clear sense of direction.

"A revolutionary economic project which began with Brexit, has just smashed bloodily into the wall. 

"Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, has a 30 point lead in an opinion poll this evening - among 2019 Conservative voters. Something very different is on its way."