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UK's Truss faces grilling from MPs amid tax-cut turnaround

October 19, 2022

Truss answered questions both from the opposition and her own Conservative Party, after she reversed course on her controversial tax-cut plans.

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss takes questions in parliament on September 7, 2022
Truss has refused to step down despite criticism over tax policyImage: Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament via REUTERS

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss took questions in Parliament Wednesday from both the opposition and her own Conservative Party, as she fights to save her political career.

Truss' participation in the weekly Prime Minister's Questions came after her new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, reversed course on her tax proposal announced a month ago.

Prime minister in the hot seat

The unfunded tax cuts, known as the "mini budget," sparked alarm in the British financial markets and forced the Bank of England to step in with extraordinary measures to save pension schemes. The value of the pound also plummeted following the decision.

"I have been very clear that I am sorry, and I have made mistakes," Truss told lawmakers Wednesday amid shouts of "Resign!" as she spoke. "But the right thing to do in those circumstances it to make changes, which I've made, and to get on with the job and deliver for the British people." 

"Why is she still here?" opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said during the session. "What's the point of a prime minister whose promises don't even last a week?" 

"I am a fighter and not a quitter," Truss shot back. "I have acted in the national interest to make sure that we have economic stability." 

Truss facing calls to step down from allies

The self-inflicted tax policy blow by Truss has also resulted in calls for her ouster from within her own party. Recent polls show Labour is leading the Conservatives by a large margin, with the Truss government also facing high disapproval among the British public. 

Foreign Minister James Cleverly has called on the Conservatives to give her another chance, while adding "mistakes happen." 

The general frustration with the British government comes as UK inflation hit a 40-year high.

Truss faces calls to quit during Prime Minister's Questions

Fracking vote to test Truss' government

Later on Wednesday, parliament held a vote on a Labour motion to prohibit fracking for shale gas. Truss has adopted a pro-fracking stance, and the vote was seen as a "a confidence motion in the government," by Conservative whips.

Despite the turmoil earlier in the day, including the resignation of her interior minister Suella Braverman, the measure was voted down, meaning Conservative MPs are likely sticking by the prime minister for now.  

wd/rs (AP, Reuters)