Tory MP: 'I'm not sorry for voting for Liz Truss to be PM'
With Tory MPs reported to be forming plans to oust Liz Truss as PM this week, one minister has refused to apologise for giving her his backing.
The prime minister is teetering on the brink following another chaotic day in Westminster, that saw home secretary Suella Braverman quit and MPs reportedly “manhandled” during last night’s fracking vote.
While many may have buyer’s remorse, Northern Ireland minister and prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker has defended his decision to support Truss in the Tory leadership campaign.
He told ITV’s Peston: “I’m not going to apologise for voting for Liz Truss.
“I was Suella’s campaign manager and we agreed together that we would back Liz, as indeed the Eurosceptics did.
“And the reason we did that is because we all agreed we needed somebody who would see through on the Northern Ireland protocol and change the direction of this country.”
Reacting to reports that Tory MPs are preparing a move to remove Truss from power, Baker added: “The prime minister cannot be removed; whether she goes or not is up to her.”
Baker’s comments come after Charles Walker, the Tory MP for Broxbourne, accused “talentless” MPs of backing Truss in order to become ministers and told them: “I hope it was worth it.”
Watch: Tory MP: 'This is an absolute disgrace... we want Truss to go'
There is speculation that the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, has already received more than 54 letters calling for a confidence vote in the prime minister, the threshold for triggering one if Truss was not in the 12 months’ grace period for new leaders.
Ministers are attempting to dismiss any attempt to remove Truss, with transport secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan telling Times Radio on Thursday morning that she believes “at the moment” it is “still the case” that Truss will fight the next election as PM.
However, senior backbencher Simon Hoare, chairman of the Commons Northern Ireland Committee, said Truss has “about 12 hours” to save her job.
Veteran Tory Sir Gary Streeter publicly called for Truss to go, along with South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray, who confirmed that she had submitted a no confidence letter.
Meanwhile, Tory MP Henry Smith added his named to the list, telling Times Radio: “I think we need new leadership…
“I think events will probably gain momentum in the coming hours and days."
In a sign of the growing pressure on Truss, Tory peer and former Brexit minister Lord Frost, who backed Truss in the leadership election, also joined calls for her to step down.
“The government is implementing neither the programme Liz Truss originally advocated nor the 2019 manifesto. It is going in a completely different direction,” Frost wrote in The Telegraph.
“There is no shred of a mandate for this. It’s only happening because the Truss government messed things up more badly than anyone could have imagined… Something has to give.”