Liz Truss has promised to get the country through “stormy days”, as she vowed to take on the “anti-growth coalition”.
In her speech to the Tory conference, which has been marked by U-turns and internal division, the PM admitted her policies would cause “disruption”. But she said “the status quo is not an option” and “we must stay the course”.
The speech came against a backdrop of financial and political turmoil following the government’s mini-budget. Markets reacted badly to the plans for £45bn in tax cuts funded by borrowing, while the government’s U-turn on its plan to scrap the 45p tax band for the highest earners was fuelled by opposition from Tory MPs.
Liz Truss vowed to “get Britain through the tempest” and insisted “everyone will benefit” from the result of her economic policies in her keynote party conference speech during which she was heckled by climate activists.
Addressing Conservative members at the event in Birmingham, as she battles to save her premiership, the prime minister acknowledged that “these are stormy days”.
“In these tough times, we need to step up,” she continued. “I am determined to get Britain moving, to get us through the tempest and put us on a stronger footing as a nation.”
She continued: “Whenever there is change there is disruption. Not everyone will be in favour but everyone will benefit from the result.”
Ms Truss was interrupted by two Greenpeace protesters who shouted: “Who voted for this,” as they held up a banner. They were quickly removed by security in the conference hall. In a tweet after the incident, Greenpeace said activists were there to “denounce the prime minister ‘shredding’ her party’s 2019 manifesto promises”.
The group added: “The PM is U-turning on fracking, strong climate action, and world-leading environmental protections. Who voted for this?”
Continuing on, Ms Truss told the audience she and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng “will keep closely co-ordinating our monetary and fiscal policy” after the government’s tax-cutting mini-budget saw the pound slump to a record level.
The prime minister mentioned growth 29 times in her speech, recognising that her goal was “difficult but necessary”.
She argued cutting taxes was “the right thing to do morally and economically” as it allowed people to keep more of their own money so they are “inspired to do more of what they do best”.
The context of her speech makes it all the more interesting.
The turmoil and bumpy road, Ms Truss vows to take the country through were in part created by her and announcements from the new chancellor. It’s a microcosm of a wider phenomenon This new conservative government expects the British public to trust the very party that has presided over the economy for over a decade. We are supposed to trust the very party who created the problem to fix it; it’s a tall ask for the British public.
There is no denying that behind the scattered applause at the conservative party conference is a very torn party. The unity appears to the mainly cosmetic.
The only crutch that gives these senior figures reprieve from their gloom is a view that another leadership race would be ridiculous and, for a party languishing so far behind in the opinion polls, an imminent election would amount to a death wish.