Tory minister laughed at by audience when he claims Liz Truss isn’t peddling ‘fantasy economics’

A Conservative minister was repeatedly laughed at on the BBC's flagship politics show on Thursday night after he said that Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng were not pushing "fantasy economics".

Appearing on Question Time, housing minister Paul Scully was bombarded with questions from frustrated members of the public.

Topics of conversation included soaring mortgage repayments and rising inflation due to the government's economically explosive budget last Friday which sent the UK's economy into freefall.

Among its many consequences was the pound crashing against the dollar, interest rates projected to hit 6%, triggering banks removing 40% of their mortgage products within six days after the budget.

On Thursday evening, Scully was tasked with defending the government's actions to a live audience.

Read more: Martin Lewis explains in simple terms the current economic chaos

It began with a member of the audience, Karen Hunter, asking: "Is Liz Truss and her chancellor peddling fantasy economics as stated by Rishi Sunak during the leadership campaign?"

Former chancellor Sunak repeatedly accused Truss during the leadership contest that her policies for massive unfunded tax cuts would be dangerous for the economy and spur inflation and interest rates.

Presenter Fiona Bruce then invited Scully to respond - to which he said: "No, absolutely not."

As he attempted to continue, the audience broke into a round of laughter, cutting him off - which was a mark of things to come.

At one point, Scully conceded that the days since the budget had been "really difficult", met with a gasp of disbelief from fellow panellist Richard Bacon.

Watch: Richard Bacon says Liz Truss has done ‘more damage’ than Brexit and Covid

"When you say it's been 'really difficult' since last week, that does seem like a little bit of an understatement," the broadcaster and presenter told him, triggering a round of laughing and applause.

"I think Liz Truss has done more damage to the British economy than Brexit, the war in Ukraine, or the pandemic - and she's done it since Friday."

Bacon then received another round of laughs and applause, before asking the audience: "Who here is now more worried about their ability to pay their bills, and buy food, and afford their mortgage?"

Virtually all the audience raised their hands, with Bruce pointing out that the majority of the audience in the studio were Conservative voters at the last election.

Elsewhere, Scully struggled to answer brutal rounds of questions from the audience including: "Liz Truss went round the radio stations today, and said nobody will pay more than £2,500 for their gas. If she can't get that right, why are we going to trust her?"

Read more: The time Liz Truss insisted her economic plans were not doomed to fail

On Thursday, the prime minister wrongly stated during a morning broadcast round that £2,500 was the maximum households would be expected to pay - which is incorrect, with experts warning it could lead to people unknowingly using more energy increasing their bills.

Another asked simply: "Does the gentleman from the government actually believe his own rhetoric?"

Scully continued through the near hour-long programme batting away criticism and doubling down on the government's economic strategy claiming it will stimulate growth as the prime minister and chancellor have.

It comes despite a crashing value of pound against the dollar, a run on pension funds leading to the Bank of England buying government debt, and condemnation International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Watch: Mortgage crisis: First-time buyer claims lenders revised her rate 'from 4.5% to 10.5%'