'Unite or it's over': Iain Duncan-Smith says Tories are 'staring into the grave' and must now support Truss

5 September 2022, 18:47

Duncan Smith: 'This party now knows it either unites...or it's over'

By Daisy Stephens

The Conservative Party must now "unite" behind Liz Truss or face losing the next election, Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith has told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr.

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When Sir Iain was asked whether it mattered that Ms Truss had beaten Rishi Sunak by a relatively small margin, the former party leader said: "No, I don't think so, for two good reasons."

He pointed out that Ms Truss had won the backing of more Tory MPs than Mr Sunak, but then went on: "The honest truth is, this party now knows that it either unites, gives her support, or it's over.

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"And it's the kind of unity of the grave.

"In other words, you're staring into the grave.

"Either you stay together or you're gonna be in it, and I think that's one of the most galvanising features of the fact you have 18 months and we don't have time for rows... a lot of MPs who were on Rishi Sunak's side... are all saying 'it's over, we've got to now focus on getting these problems right and getting ready for the next election'."

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MP Iain Duncan Smith on mammoth task Liz Truss has

Sir Iain said Ms Truss was facing "almost the biggest set of troubles that any government has faced" at the beginning.

"It reminds me a bit of Mrs Thatcher but Mrs Thatcher had five years," he said.

"What will define [Ms Truss] will be dealing with the cost of living crisis, she's going to face big trade union militancy which is going to be another big thing coming down the road, she's got the whole alliance externally over Ukraine which I think is beginning to look creaky... so there's a lot of challenges coming down the road, not least of which is trying to keep the economy going throughout all of this."

Read more: Andrew Marr: Liz Truss faces an 'ugly, gruesome intray of inter-connected nightmares'

Read more: Liz Truss pledges a 'bold plan' to cut taxes and tackle Britain's energy crisis in first speech after being crowned PM

When Andrew asked if tackling all of the problems in the coming months is a "super-human task", Sir Iain said: "Yes, it is.

"The timescale of 18 months - basically it means there's never been a time when somebody has faced this many challenges with such a short time to put it right."