Most MPs clearly understand that Prime Minster Truss’s authority is now fatally damaged. She has to go now as she cannot win nor sustain the confidence of her colleagues, far less the public and a relentless media. The principal emotional reactions to her public presentation is now a mixture of anger, contempt and pity. It’s a blinding glimpse of the obvious that this cannot and should not continue. Her leadership campaign was clear and her policy proposition brave and bold. We have all seen how they have collided with today’s tough economic reality and not survived the impact.
The warnings of her main opponent were prescient. Had he, in the eyes of many in the Party’s membership, not been carrying the responsibility for the scores of Boris Johnson’s ministers who brought him down, he would have won comfortably on merit through presentation, argument and talent.
Our Party collectively has to respond to this moment of supreme crisis for us. Jeremy Hunt’s appointment as Chancellor is a necessary but insufficient part of the change at the top. A leadership team based around Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Jeremy Hunt, supported by a substantial majority of the Parliamentary party, would bring huge relief to the country as its authority and competence would be self-evident in addressing the serious economic and security challenges we face.
Whatever mechanisms required to bring this about need to be delivered, I am confident a relieved Party membership would endorse it too. David Davis’s example in 2003 when he stood down in favour of Michael Howard is more than relevant now.
The next two years can give Conservatives the opportunity to restore our reputation for sound economic management, and most importantly in the national interest, for Labour’s alternative proposition to be examined by the media, markets and electorate. They start as odds on favourite today. It will do the country no favours if we collapse in a heap and gift them an election victory when their proposition looks fiscally concerningly similar to the one that’s not survived the last six weeks. They need time to get to grips with the detail of their plans, whilst we restore our reputation for sound administration.
The UK is facing strong headwinds like the rest of the world. We need confidence in our leadership to enable real delivery of the supply side changes, for which Brexit provides much of the opportunity.
This path will be the best way of delivering the objectives we all share with Liz and her team.