Tory MP says his constituents are 'frightened' of Liz Truss's government

Prime Minister Liz Truss during a press conference in the briefing room at Downing Street, London. Picture date: Friday October 14, 2022.
Tory MP Robert Halfon said of Liz Truss: 'The biggest problem is not that my constituents are angry at the government but some of them are actually frightened.' (PA)

A Tory MP has said his constituents are “frightened” of Liz Truss’s government.

Robert Halfon, a senior backbencher, said the prime minister has “played into” the Conservative stereotype of being the party for the rich.

It comes amid the ongoing economic turmoil sparked by the prime minister and ex-chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous “growth plan” announced in the mini-budget only three weeks ago.

The mini-budget contained £43bn of unfunded tax cuts, including for people earning more than £150,000 and large corporations. It sparked market chaos, including with mortgages being withdrawn by lenders.

Watch: Timeline - Liz Truss’s turbulent time as prime minister

Truss U-turned on the income and corporation tax policies, and made Kwarteng the scapegoat by sacking him on Friday in an attempt to reset her government.

But Harlow MP Halfon, speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, made light of the reputational damage by suggesting his constituents are scared of what her administration might do next.

“The awful stereotypes of Conservatives in the past, that we were just the party for the well-off and the rich... the government over the past few weeks has played into that stereotype every day of the week.

“The biggest problem for me is not that my constituents are angry at the government but some of them are actually frightened because they fear for what has gone on, and this can’t continue.”

Robert Halfon MP speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Picture date: Tuesday October 5, 2021. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
Robert Halfon said Truss has played into 'awful stereotypes of Conservatives'. (PA)

Jeremy Hunt was appointed as chancellor on Friday after the sacking of Kwarteng, but is now widely seen as more powerful than the prime minister herself. In interviews on Saturday, he effectively trashed the policies that brought Truss to power last month.

Read more: Jeremy Hunt refuses to say Liz Truss is a 'confident leader' who 'has a grip on country'

Halfon added: “I welcome what Jeremy Hunt was saying yesterday in the media but the proof in the pudding will be in the eating. There have to be dramatic improvements and pretty quickly.”

After just 40 days as PM, Truss is battling to stay in power amid widespread reports of Tory plots to replace her.

Halfon later told Times Radio: “I don’t think that [Truss] grasps just how bad the public feel that the government has been over the past few weeks.” While not calling for Truss to go, he demanded an “apology and a fundamental reset”.