London politics LIVE: Liz Truss appoints more ministers after new PM clashes with Keir Starmer in Commons

·28-min read
London politics LIVE: Liz Truss appoints more ministers after new PM clashes with Keir Starmer in Commons

Liz Truss is appointing mid-level roles within her government after holding her first Cabinet meeting with senior ministers and facing Sir Keir Starmer in Prime Minister’s Questions.

Sir Tim Barrow has been appointed as the new Prime Minister’s national security adviser, and Robert Jenrick, a supporter of Rishi Sunak, has been made a minister in the Department of Health and Social Care.

A string of other ministers were being announced on Wednesday afternoon.

It comes after Ms Truss confirmed she will set out her package to help people struggling with soaring energy bills on Thursday. She has ruled out imposing a windfall tax to pay for any energy bill freeze.

During PMQs she said: “I am against a windfall tax. I believe it is the wrong thing to be putting companies off investing in the United Kingdom just when we need to be growing the economy.”

Ms Truss had made a brutal cull of Rishi Sunak supporters appointing Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor and Therese Coffey as Deputy Prime Minister and Health Secretary, as she made James Cleverly the Foreign Secretary.

Former attorney general Suella Braverman was appointed Home Secretary, replacing Priti Patel after she pre-emptively resigned. The appointments mean that for the first time in history none of the great offices of state are held by white men.

Mr Kwarteng has summoned the bosses of major banks to discuss the new economic strategy, with fresh support possibly being announced as soon as Thursday.

Steve Baker appointment to Northern Ireland department sparks criticism

19:17 , Josh Salisbury

Liz Truss has been accused of sending a "destructive message" to the EU by handing arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker a ministerial role in the Northern Ireland Office.

The decision was branded "obnoxious" and a "red flag" by SDLP MP Claire Hanna, as she claimed Ms Truss appeared to be "continuing down the diplomatically ignorant route of her predecessor".

Ms Hanna suggested Ms Truss had foregone an opportunity to "build bridges" in her first days as Prime Minister.

However, former Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith congratulated Mr Baker on his new role.

He urged the new minister to work with Chris Heaton-Harris - who now heads up the department - to "push urgently for a compromise deal" with the EU to deliver a revised protocol and restore powersharing in Northern Ireland.

Nus Ghani appointed as junior BEIS minister

18:51 , Josh Salisbury

Nusrat Ghani, the former Vice Chair of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, has been made a minister in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Kevin Foster has also been given a role in the Department for Transport, in the latest junior ministerial appointments.

New Foreign Secretary re-affirms country’s support for Ukraine in first call

18:26 , Josh Salisbury

James Cleverly has reaffirmed the UK’s “steadfast support” for Ukraine in his first call as Foreign Secretary.

The Foreign Office said he spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday.

In a statement, shared on social media, he said: “I just spoke to Dmytro Kuleba in my first call as Foreign Secretary. I reaffirmed the UK’s steadfast support for Ukraine as they resist (Vladimir) Putin’s barbaric invasion.

“What happens in Ukraine matters to us all and I will do everything possible to assist their fight for freedom.”

Arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker appointed to Northern Ireland office

17:42 , Josh Salisbury

Steve Baker, the prominent Brexiteer, has been appointed a junior minister in the Nothern Ireland office, the Government has confirmed.

In the latest round of junior ministerial appointments, Will Quince will become a minister in the Health and Social Care Department while Alec Shelbrooke MP will become a minister at the Ministry of Defence;

James Duddridge will join the Department for International Trade, while Kelly Tolhurst will become a minister in the Department for Education.

Meanwhile, in the Lords, Baroness Williams of Trafford has been appointed Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms, the name given to the Government’s Chief Whip in the House of Lords.

‘Greater role for backbenchers’ under Liz Truss, says MP

17:02 , Josh Salisbury

Conservative former minister Mark Francois said Liz Truss assured backbench Tories they would have a greater role under her administration than under Boris Johnson.

Discussing the Prime Minister’s first speech to the 1922 committee, he told reporters: “Impressive performance. Confident. Assured. Answered the questions directly. It was good.

“As an overall impression, it was an impressive start and she was very good at understanding some of the real concerns of backbenchers, in terms of the way she was speaking, in terms of some of the changes at No 10, the way they’re going to inter-relate with colleagues.

“To have greater involvement from backbenchers and greater communication, both with the backbenchers and from the backbenchers towards No 10.”

London boroughs urge Truss to take ‘swift action’ to help struggling Londoners

16:57 , Josh Salisbury

A cross-party group of London councils has urged Liz Truss to take “swift action” to address the capital’s cost-of-living crisis.London Councils, which represents London’s boroughs, said it welcomed the Prime Minister’s recognition of London’s pivotal role in the levelling up agenda, but that urgent help was needed to support low-income Londoners.“As the Prime Minister acknowledged during the leadership contest, London makes a vital contribution but also faces deep pressures and inequalities,” said its chair, Cllr Georgia Gould.

“We hope the Prime Minister will work alongside us to make sure that London plays a key role in the levelling up agenda and all London’s communities benefit from growth in the capital.”

Tributes paid to Lords leader who stands down in Truss reshuffle

16:46 , Josh Salisbury

Tributes have been paid across the political divide to the longest-serving Lords leader in more than 70 years, following her departure in the Government shake-up by Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, who held the frontbench role for more than six years, has been replaced by Lord True.

Labour leader in the Lords, Baroness Smith of Basildon, said: “Even at times of disagreement I never doubted her commitment to helping to ensure this House fulfil its valuable constitutional role as a revising and scrutiny chamber."

Truss arrives to address backbenchers

16:28 , Josh Salisbury

Liz Truss has received the customary banging of tables by Tory MPs as she arrived to make her first address to the backbench 1922 Committee as Prime Minister.

More junior ministers appointed

16:11 , Josh Salisbury

Liz Truss has appointed a new batch of junior ministers as her Government reshuffle continues.

Among them are Jesse Norman as a Minister in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Leo Docherty has also been appointed as a minister in the Foreign Office, while Tom Pursglove has become a minister in the Home Office.

Jeremy Quin has also been appointed a minister in the Home Office, while Jackie Doyle-Price will head to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Conor Burns has been confirmed as a minister in the Department for International Trade, and Mark Spencer will take a post as a minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Truss reshuffles more junior roles

15:47 , Miriam Burrell

Robert Jenrick, a supporter of Rishi Sunak for the Tory leadership, has been made a minister in the Department of Health and Social Care.

Fellow Sunak supporter Victoria Prentis was made a minister in the Department for Work and Pensions.

Michael Tomlinson was made Solicitor General, Rachel Maclean was appointed to the Ministry of Justice and Julia Lopez in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

MP Matt Warman moves to backbenches

15:22 , Miriam Burrell

Minister of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media Matt Warman has said he is moving to the backbenches.

The change comes as Prime Minister Liz Truss’s appoints junior roles within her government.

In a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Warman wrote: “I’m sad to hear from @morton_wendy that I’ll not be a part of the @trussliz government - I look forward to supporting our new Prime Minister from the backbenches.”

Sir Tim Barrow appointed national security adviser to PM

15:10 , Miriam Burrell

Sir Tim Barrow has been appointed as the Prime Minister’s national security adviser, Downing Street has said.

Sir Tim, who is currently political director at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, succeeds Sir Stephen Lovegrove, who becomes the Prime Minister’s defence industrial adviser.

Announcing the appointment, Liz Truss said: “Sir Tim Barrow brings with him a huge wealth of experience safeguarding the interests and security of the British people around the world.

“This includes working on the UK’s response to Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine.”


Truss says it’s time to deliver

14:15 , Miriam Burrell

With her first Cabinet meeting and PMQs out of the way, Liz Truss has tweeted that’s it’s “time to deliver for the people of the United Kingdom”.

Truss weighing up whether to appoint new ethics adviser

13:58 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Liz Truss has yet to decide whether she will appoint a new ethics adviser, says Downing Street.

Lord Geidt, the previous adviser on ministers’ interests, quit in June and had not been replaced when Boris Johnson announced he was standing down.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told the PA news agency Ms Truss is still considering whether to appoint a direct successor.

“The Prime Minister wants to consider the best way to achieve the functions of that role, that level of oversight, and to ensure the Government is held to the highest standards as the public expect,” the spokesman said.

‘Fundamental reform’ needed to protect UK energy prices, says PM

13:40 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Liz Truss told her first Cabinet meeting that “fundamental reform” is required to prevent the UK being vulnerable to global energy price spikes.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Ms Truss “outlined her approach to tackle the root causes of the current energy supply issues facing this country”.

“She said the UK was too exposed to global energy price spikes and that fundamental reform is needed so we’re protected from this happening again, while immediate action will be taken to deal with energy bills and to secure future energy supply,” he added.

Fracking ban could be lifted

13:34 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Downing Street hinted that the fracking ban could be lifted when Liz Truss sets out a new package to help deal with the energy crisis.

In her campaign to become Prime Minister, Ms Truss said in an interview that “I support exploring fracking in parts of the United Kingdom where that can be done”.

Today, the Prime Minister’s press secretary said: “She made clear her position during the campaign but I’m not going to get into what’s in this energy package.”

He insisted the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto still stands in full, but added: “I’m not going to get into what’s in the energy statement tomorrow.”

‘There will be no new levies on energy giants’

13:34 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Downing Street has said the current windfall tax on the soaring profits of oil and gas giants will not be scrapped, but ruled out further such measures being introduced.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “No, that approach is not being altered.

“The Prime Minister is clear that we will not be introducing any further taxes in this space, given that we want to see broader investment in domestic oil and gas production as a transition fuel during this current global crisis we face.”

Proposed Bill of Rights ‘shelved’, sources told

13:05 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks

The proposed Bill of Rights, which was aimed at replacing the Human Rights Act, has been shelved by Liz Truss’ government.

The Bill of Rights Bill, which was due to enact the proposals, had been due to have its first Commons test on September 12.

But a government source told PA it is “unlikely to progress in its current form”, with the new administration “reviewing the most effective means to deliver the objectives of Bill as a whole”.

The “principles and objectives more generally (are) not shelved”, the source said.

The legislation had been championed by former justice secretary Dominic Raab, who was the most high-profile casualty when Ms Truss formed her Cabinet on Tuesday.

Downing Street has declined to guarantee that a new Bill of Rights will be introduced during the current Parliament.

10 people arrested over Westminster protest

13:03 , Miriam Burrell

Ten people have been arrested after animal rights protesters threw paint on the Palace of Westminster.

Metropolitan Police said: “At approximately 10.50am, protesters threw white liquid over the gates and walls of Palace of Westminster, Bridge Street.

“Six people carried out sit down protest on the carriageway. Officers promptly on scene. 10 individuals arrested for criminal damage.”


Truss vows to take ‘immediate action’ on energy

13:01 , Miriam Burrell

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the Commons that “energy producers will make £170bn in excess profits over the next two years”.

“Is she really telling us that she is going to leave this vast excess profits on the table and make working people foot the bill for decades to come?”

Liz Truss replied that she understood people were “struggling with the cost of living” and energy bills, adding: “That is why I as Prime Minister will take immediate action to help people with the cost of their energy bills and I will be making an announcement to this House on that tomorrow.”

The Prime Minister added she would reform the UK’s overall energy mix by building more nuclear power stations and exploring more fossil fuel supplies in the North Sea.

Pictured: Liz Truss at PMQs

12:56 , Miriam Burrell

 (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)
(PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

Truss and Starmer clash on taxes

12:52 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss and Sir Keir Starmer clashed on taxes during the Tory leader’s first PMQs.

Ms Truss said she is against using a windfall tax on profits made by oil and gas companies to pay for an energy bill freeze. She said this would deter companies from investing in the UK.

Mr Starmer accused her of therefore making the British public foot the bill.

To cheers, Ms Truss countered: “I’m afraid (Sir Keir) doesn’t understand aspiration, he doesn’t understand opportunity, he doesn’t understand that people want to keep more of their own money and that is what I will deliver as Prime Minister.

“I will take immediate action to help people with their energy bills but also secure a long-term energy supply. I will take immediate action to make sure we have lower taxes and we grow the economy, and that way I will ensure we have a positive future for our country and we get Britain moving.”

PMQs ends

12:38 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss has made it through her first Prime Minister’s Questions.

Regulation online

12:36 , Miriam Burrell

MP Sir Jeremy Wright asked if the online safty bill will be re-examined to tackle a unregulated space.

Liz Truss said she want to protects under 18 year olds from harm but also promote freedom of speech.

‘No child should go to bed in a damp house’

12:34 , Miriam Burrell

MP Sir Tony Lloyd asked if Liz Truss will pledge that there will be no child that goes to bed in a damp house because of soaring energy bills.

“I will make sure people are able to afford their energy bills”, Ms Truss said, and vowed to work on long-term solutions so the nation “nevers get into this position again”.

Ambulance wait times

12:31 , Miriam Burrell

MP Helen Morgan said waiting times for ambulances are appalling across Britain.

She asked Liz Truss to investigate solutions to servicing delays ahead of winter.

Ms Truss said people should not have to wait as long as they are.

She claimed the government is “immediately” tackling this issue.

Truss asked if she would call general election

12:29 , Miriam Burrell

MP Alex Davis-Jones said Liz Truss does not have the backing of the public.

She asked if Liz Truss would call a general election.

Ms Truss replied: “As a country, we are facing a very serious crisis in energy caused by Putin’s war in Ukraine.

“What the British people want, is for our government to sort it out.”

She said her priority is sorting the energy crisis out.

Energy bills for businesses

12:27 , Miriam Burrell

MP Martyn Day said without protection of an energy price cap, businesses are facing huge bills.

Liz Truss said there are strategic industries that use a lot of energy. She said they need to remain competitive in the global market place, and this is being considered in the government’s package announced on Thursday.

Johnson ‘corrupt'

12:25 , Miriam Burrell

SNP MP Hannah Bardell was asked by the Speaker to withdraw her description of Boris Johnson as “corrupt”.

She replied: “Sometimes the truth hurts”.

Theresa May asks about female PMs

12:21 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss was asked by Theresa May why she thinks all three female prime ministers in the UK have been from the Conservative Party.

Ms Truss said there doesn’t seem to be the ability in Labour to find a female leader, and a leader that doesn’t come from North London.

“I don’t know what the issue is!” Ms Truss said.

Truss on side of ‘energy consumer'

12:19 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss said she is on the side of the energy consumer, and she will say more about the government’s plan tomorrow.

When asked if she is on the side of DUP or the people of Northern Ireland, she vowed she would “fix the issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol”.

‘Truss tax’ for years to come

12:18 , Miriam Burrell

Ian Blackford said there will be a “Truss tax” that households and businesses wil pay for years to come.

No windfall tax, Truss says

12:16 , Miriam Burrell

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford asked if Ms Truss will freeze energy bills, and if it will be paid for in a windfall tax.

“No it won’t be paid for by a windfall tax,” Liz Truss said.

“I want to see us using more of our UK energy supply...and nuclear power in Scotland as well.”

Truss says Starmer ‘doesn’t understand aspiration'

12:14 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss said: “I’m afraid to say [Sir Keir Starmer] doesn’t understand aspiration...opportunity...that people want to keep more of their own money.

“I will take immediate action to help people with their energy bills and help with their long-term energy supply.”

‘How is this the right time to protect Shell profits?'

12:12 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss was asked by the Labour leader how she thinks “this is the right time to protect Shell profits”?

Ms Truss said she will reverse the National Insurance increase and keep corporation tax low for “new jobs and new opportunities”.

Truss on tax cuts

12:10 , Miriam Burrell

Sir Keir Starmer asked how much the government’s planned corporation tax would hand out to companies.

Liz Truss said he was looking at it “in the wrong way”. She said the last time the government cut tax, more companies wanted to invest in the UK.

She said raising tax would put off companies, and lead to fewer jobs.

Energy announcement due on Thursday

12:08 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss said she is against imposing a windfall tax on energy companies to deal with rising energy bills because it will put them off investing in the UK.

She told Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer: “I will take immediate action to help people with their energy bills.”

Ms Truss confirms an announcement will be made in the House of Commons on Thursday,

She said her government will build more nuclear stations to create long-term supply solutions.

Energy crisis

12:05 , Miriam Burrell

MP Theresa Villiers asked if Ms Truss will ensure a plan to tackle the energy crisis helps hospitality businesses?

Ms Truss said: “I will make sure...that we will help support well as making sure long-term supplies are available.”

‘Put in more graft'

12:04 , Miriam Burrell

MP Paulette Hamilton said a leaked video revealed that Ms Truss said British workers need to put in more graft, and are lacking in skill and application.

In response, Ms Truss said: “What I am determined to make sure we have an economy with high wages and high jobs.”

She said she will do this by reducing tax.

Liz Truss ‘honoured’ to be PM

12:02 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss said she is honoured to take on responsibilty at a vital time for the country.

“I will work constructively with all members of this house, to tackle challenges we face,” she said.

PMQs underway

11:59 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss’s first Prime Minister’s Questions is underway.

She was applauded and cheered as she arrived in the House of Commons.

Westminster protesters arrested

11:55 , Miriam Burrell

Multiple protesters have been arrested after throwing paint on the Palace of Westminster.

Animal Rebellion, an animal and climate justice movement gathered outside Parliament before Liz Truss’ first session of Prime Minister’s Questions.

A group of protesters have also glued themselves to the road outside, and are chanting about dairy distribution sites in the UK.

Pictured: Liz Truss leaves No10 for PMQs

11:46 , Miriam Burrell


What to expect from Liz Truss’s first PMQs

11:41 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss is minutes away from her first Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

The new Tory leader is expected to be grilled by Sir Keir Starmer about soaring energy bills.

The Labour leader has called for a freeze on energy bills, to be paid for by imposing a windfall tax on unexpected profits made by oil and gas companies.

Deputy prime minister Therese Coffey confirmed on Wednesday morning that a government plan to help households and businesses through the winter will be announced this week.

It is being reported by the Telegraph that Ms Truss will announce a freeze on annual energy bills for households at around £2,500.

Ms Truss could also be pressed by Mr Strarmer about funding for the NHS and tackling the cost of living crisis.

PMQs begins at 12pm.

Putin: Truss victory ‘far from democratic’

10:56 , Miriam Burrell

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Liz Truss being elected prime minister is “far from democratic principles”.

Speaking to participants of an economic forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday, he said: “In the UK, the procedure for electing the (leader) is far from (abiding by) democratic principles.

“It takes place within the framework of the party that won the previous parliamentary elections. The people of Great Britain don’t take part, in this instance, in the change of government. The ruling elites there have their arrangements.

“We know the Tories’ position on these questions, including on relations with Russia. It’s their business how to build relations with the Russian Federation. Our business is to defend our own interests and we will do that consistently, let no one be in any doubt about that.”

 (via REUTERS)

Appointment of Jacob Rees-Mogg to climate role criticised

10:35 , Miriam Burrell

Green campaigners have slammed the appointment of Jacob Rees-Mogg as Business Secretary, where he will be in charge of the energy and climate brief.

Mr Rees-Mogg has previously played down the earthquake risk of fracking and warned against “climate alarmism”.

Rebecca Newsom, head of politics for Greenpeace UK, said Mr Rees-Mogg was the “last person who should be in charge of the energy brief”.

Friends of the Earth’s head of political affairs, Dave Timms, said: “Putting someone who recently suggested ‘every last drop’ of oil should be extracted from the North Sea in charge of energy policy is deeply worrying.”


Women in Cabinet

10:12 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss has appointed more women in her first Cabinet than any other prime minister since 1997, according to PA data.

David Cameron appointed the least women, making up just 14 per cent of his first Cabinet in 2010.

Theresa May was not far behind Ms Truss, with 30 per cent of her first Cabinet being women.

 (PA Images)
(PA Images)

Pictured: First Cabinet meeting under Liz Truss

09:56 , Miriam Burrell

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Cabinet meeting ‘very positive'

09:44 , Miriam Burrell

Prime Minister Liz Truss’s first Cabinet meeting has been described as “very positive” by the new Environment Secretary Ranil Jayawardena.

The first meeting has now finished, with Scotland Secretary Alister Jack and Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan among the first ministers seen leaving No10.


Truss’s first Cabinet meeting underway

09:22 , Miriam Burrell

New Cabinet ministers were full of smiles and pleasantries as they entered No10 Downing St on Wednesday morning ahead of their first meeting under Liz Truss.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Armed Forces Minister James Heappey arrived together.

Questioned by reporters on how the extra defence spending would be paid for, Mr Wallace replied: “Ask the Chancellor!”

General view as Liz Truss holds her first Cabinet meeting (REUTERS)
General view as Liz Truss holds her first Cabinet meeting (REUTERS)

No GP charges, Health Secretary says

09:13 , Miriam Burrell

New Health Secretary Therese Coffey has made clear that patients will not be charged for GP appointments.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I will not be charging people to go and see their GP.”

Asked about Prime Minister Liz Truss’s plan to divert funds earmarked for the NHS to social care, Ms Coffey said: “People are clear that, within the system, there are people currently in hospital who don’t need to be in hospital, do need continuing care, but not necessarily in our acute hospitals.

“That’s why making sure that we help patients get to the right place where they need to be will open up the opportunity and capacity for more people to be treated in our acute hospitals.”

Asked about past comments linked to Ms Truss on using private companies to run hospitals, Ms Coffey said: “I think we need to use all the capacity that there is in the healthcare system in this country today.”


Kemi Badenoch ‘very excited’ to start new role

09:07 , Miriam Burrell

Kemi Badenoch said she is “very excited” to be starting as International Trade Secretary in Liz Truss’s new Cabinet.

She said she is “very happy” with the new role, despite not being appointed Education Secretary, she told reporters ahead of the first meeting with Cabinet ministers on Wednesday.

Ms Badenoch said the Prime Minister can “of course” unite the Conservative Party.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

‘Getting a bit of Dr. Dre’: Therese Coffey’s alarm goes off during interview

08:55 , Miriam Burrell

The new Deputy Prime Minister’s morning alarm, none other than Dr. Dre’s ‘Still D.R.E.’ hit, went off during an interview with LBC.

The American rapper’s hit song with Snoop Dogg rang out from Therese Coffey’s phone at 8am on Wednesday, while she was speaking with LBC’s Nick Ferrari.

“You’re getting a bit of Dr. Dre, it’s just an eight o’clock alarm, sorry,” Ms Coffey said, before chuckling.

Mr Ferrari replied: “Dr. Dre is it? That’s fantastic. Well Dr Coffey with Dr. Dre, as the Health Secretary, it just gets better and better doesn’t it.”

Pictured: Cabinet ministers enter No10

08:34 , Miriam Burrell

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (AFP via Getty Images)
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (AFP via Getty Images)
Home Secretary Suella Braverman (Getty Images)
Home Secretary Suella Braverman (Getty Images)
Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg (Getty Images)
Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg (Getty Images)
Deputy Prime Minister and Health Secretary Therese Coffey (REUTERS)
Deputy Prime Minister and Health Secretary Therese Coffey (REUTERS)

Liz Truss branded ‘an imbecile’ by sacked minister’s wife

08:27 , Miriam Burrell

The wife of sacked minister Johnny Mercer has called new Prime Minister Liz Truss an “imbecile”.

Felicity Cornelius-Mercer said the Cabinet system “stinks” and “treats people appallingly” after her husband was removed as veterans affairs minister.

Deputy Prime Minister Thérèse Coffey defended the PM’s decision on Wednesday morning.

“I’ve very conscious that Liz has appointed a really diverse cabinet,” she told the BBC.

“I’m delighted that James Heappey will be taking on that role and will be attending cabinet this morning.”

Johnny Mercer with wife Felicity Cornelius-Mercer (Felicity Cornelius-Mercer)
Johnny Mercer with wife Felicity Cornelius-Mercer (Felicity Cornelius-Mercer)

Biden talks Brexit row on first call with Truss

08:20 , Miriam Burrell

The White House has stressed that US President Joe Biden discussed in his first call with Liz Truss the importance of resolving the Brexit row with the EU over Northern Ireland’s trading relationship.

The White House read-out of the call states: “They also discussed their shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the importance of reaching a negotiated agreement with the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol.”

In contrast, No10’s statement was shorter, saying: “The Prime Minister and President discussed a range of domestic issues and agreed on the importance of protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.”

Read more on the call between the two world leaders here.


Cabinet ministers arrive at Downing St

08:10 , Miriam Burrell

Cabinet ministers are starting to arrive at Downing St ahead of their first meeting with Prime Minister Liz Truss at around 8.30am.

Education Secretary Kit Malthouse has arrived at No10.

Photographers and journalists called “Morning sir!” to him, which he replied: “Morning.”

Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office Edward Argar has also arrived.


Coffey: NHS to be funded through general taxation

08:02 , Miriam Burrell

Health Secretary Therese Coffey said investment in the NHS and social care will come from general taxation under Liz Truss’s government.

She told the BBC on Wednesday: “We want to grow the economy, and growing the economy will bring in more tax revenues to fund public revenues and taxpayers as well.

“Investment will stay the exactly the same.”

On social care, she said what had been set out under Boris Johnson’s administration “is principles of how we want to help with social care”.

“Cleary we  know we need to get on and put that into practise,” she said.

Ms Coffey said she is meeting with the NHS chief executive on Wednesday.

Therese Coffey not ‘seeking to undo abortion laws'

07:42 , Miriam Burrell

The new Deputy Prime Minister and Health Secretary said she is “not seeking to undo any aspects of abortion laws” when asked where she stands on the issue.

Therese Coffey told Sky News on Wednesday: “I’m conscious I have voted against abortion laws. I’m a  complete democrat, I’m not seeking to undo any aspects of abortion laws.”

Ms Coffey said as Health Secretary her focus is on ambulances, backlogs, care and dentists - what she calls ‘ABCD’.

“I haven’t considered any of those other issues. There’s nothing more to say, as it was, or to see here.”

Therese Coffey tight-lipped on energy plan

07:37 , Miriam Burrell

Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey has confirmd the details of the government’s energy plan will be announced this week, but refused to answer questions about how support for household energy bills will be funded.

The Health Secretary told Sky News: “Aspects of energy are going to be set out during this week and people will just have to wait for the detail of that.”

“I’m sure [the plan] will assure people when they hear what will be offered.”

When pressed about how government support for households will be funded, Ms Coffey said “ultimately we receive money through taxation” but would not comment further.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

In case you missed it

07:16 , Miriam Burrell

Here are some of the top players in Liz Truss’s Cabinet:

Chancellor - Kwasi Kwarteng

Deputy Prime Minister and Health Secretary - Therese Coffey

Foreign Secretary - James Cleverly

Home Secretary - Suella Braverman

The appointments mean that for the first time in history none of the great offices of state are held by white men.

Take a look at her confirmed Cabinet here.

What is happening today?

07:02 , Miriam Burrell

Good morning.

New prime minister Liz Truss will hold her first Cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning before she faces Sir Keir Starmer at her first session of Prime Minister’s Questions at midday.

Ms Truss is expected to be challenged by the Labour leader about the government’s plan to tackle the energy crisis, which reportedly will involve a cap on energy bills.

She is then expected to make further government appointments for ministers of state and junior ministers.

Her new deputy prime minister, Therese Coffey, will face questions from the media on Wednesday morning.