Disruption is the price of success, insists Liz Truss

Liz Truss - Stefan Rousseau
Liz Truss - Stefan Rousseau

Liz Truss will on Wednesday warn that there will be further disruption as she fights to deliver economic growth.

After a turbulent week, the Prime Minister will acknowledge that not everyone will be in favour of her reforms - but will insist that an end to “drift and delay” is necessary to protect jobs and public services.

After facing days of opposition to her tax-cutting agenda, she will launch an attack on what she will call the “anti-growth coalition” - arguing that her “new approach” will “unleash the full potential of our great country”.

In her first Tory Conference speech as party leader she will say: “We need to do things differently. Whenever there is change, there is disruption. Not everyone will be in favour. But everyone will benefit from the result - a growing economy and a better future. That is what we have a clear plan to deliver.”

After talking about her experiences growing up in Leeds and Paisley, Ms Truss will add: “This is a great country. But I know that we can do better and we must do better. We have huge talent across the country. We’re not making enough of it. To deliver this, we need to get Britain moving. We cannot have any more drift and delay at this vital time."

Ms Truss’s much-anticipated address will conclude a chaotic conference, during which she has been forced to execute a high-profile U-turn on scrapping the 45p tax rate.

She has also faced open rebellion from two of her Cabinet colleagues, who came out publicly against the suggestion that benefits could be linked to the rise in earnings rather than inflation.

Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the Commons, used an interview to say it “makes sense” for Universal Credit to continue to be linked to inflation.

And on Tuesday night Grant Shapps, who has become one of the main rebels, raised the prospect of Tory MPs removing Ms Truss if her prospects do not improve.

The former transport secretary told Times Radio that Conservatives will not “sit on their hands” should “the polls continue as they are”.

“I want Liz to succeed, so I'm hoping that she can turn us around,” he said. “I think there is a window of opportunity for her to do it.

“I'm cheering her on, if you like, to succeed. In the end I don't think Members of Parliament, Conservatives, if they see the polls continue as they are, are going to sit on their hands. A way would be found to make that change.”

In an earlier interview he suggested she had ten days to reverse some of her problems.

The Telegraph understands senior Tories are planning to enforce “brutal” party discipline when MPs return to Parliament next week to shore up Ms Truss’s position.

Some Cabinet ministers have become exasperated by the open rebellion seen at the Tory conference in Birmingham, with one dubbing Michael Gove a “snake in the grass” over his public attacks.

Figures involved in party discipline are determined to remove the whip from any Tory MP who votes against Ms Truss's finance measures, meaning they will not sit as Conservatives.

The hardline tactic is a deliberate echo of Boris Johnson’s decision to strip the whip of MPs who voted against Brexit deals, stabilising his leadership after taking over in the summer of 2019.

Michael Gove was dubbed a 'snake in the grass' by one Cabinet minister during the Party Conference - TOLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
Michael Gove was dubbed a 'snake in the grass' by one Cabinet minister during the Party Conference - TOLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock

Tory MPs speculating about a potential change in leader are being told by Cabinet ministers that they would risk triggering an immediate election if they moved against Ms Truss.

One rebel bemoaning the poll drop under Ms Truss and the prospect of another leadership switch told The Telegraph: “We are stuck between being politically dead and becoming a laughing stock.”

Mr Gove, the former levelling-up secretary, followed up his opposition to the 45p tax cut on Tuesday by demanding that all Universal Credit claimants receive free school meals.

But he was rebuked by Kemi Badenoch, the International Trade Secretary, who said she had been “shouting at” him since Sunday morning as he used the conference to criticise the Government.

Mrs Badenoch was supported in the race for the Tory leadership by Mr Gove.

Crunch votes on the mini-Budget will now not take place until spring, The Telegraph understands, potentially giving Ms Truss time to win over rebels.

There are fears that Ms Truss’s speech will be sparsely attended because of Wednesday's nationwide rail strike, which led to hundreds of delegates leaving early on Tuesday night.

Ms Truss will use her address to pledge a “new Britain for the new era” - as she made it clear her Government would be unashamedly pro-growth, pro-aspiration and pro-enterprise.

She will say: “For too long, our economy has not grown as strongly as it should have done. For too long, the political debate has been dominated by how we distribute a limited economic pie.

“Instead, we need to grow the pie so that everyone gets a bigger slice. That is why I am determined to take a new approach and break us out of this high-tax, low-growth cycle.

“That is what our plan is about: getting our economy growing and rebuilding Britain through reform.”

'Whenever there is change, there is disruption'

She will argue that only through economic growth can the Government build a Britain that allows people to thrive.

“The scale of the challenge is immense,” she will say. “War in Europe for the first time in a generation. A more uncertain world in the aftermath of Covid. And a global economic crisis.

“That is why in Britain we need to do things differently. Whenever there is change, there is disruption. Not everyone will be in favour. But everyone will benefit from the result - a growing economy and a better future. That is what we have a clear plan to deliver.”

The Prime Minister will pledge to keep an iron grip on the UK’s finances, and set out her belief in fiscal responsibility, value for money for the taxpayer, and the lean state.

She will say: “We are the only party with the determination to deliver. Together, we can unleash the full potential of our great country. That is how we will build a new Britain for the new era.”

Ms Truss will attempt to stabilise her position on Thursday by flying off to a gathering of Emmanuel Macron’s new European political community.

Downing Street is even hoping to host one of the grouping’s future meetings in the UK, in a sign of re-engagement with the continent six years after the Brexit vote.

The Prime Minister is pushing for joint working on Nato and migration, in an acceptance that bringing down small boat numbers crossing the Channel needs help from Europe.