Kwasi Kwarteng has said it is important to live in a "humane society" and be "compassionate" in his biggest hint to date that Universal Credit will rise with inflation, rather than the lower measure of wages, amid a Cabinet row.
The Chancellor said at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event he was "not going to get drawn into a debate about what we are going to do on benefits", but said ministers must look after the most vulnerable.
Several Cabinet ministers including Penny Mordaunt, the Leader of the Commons, and Robert Buckland, the Wales Secretary, have said Universal Credit payments must increase in line with CPI inflation.
"I’m not going to get drawn into a debate about what we’re going to do on benefits," Mr Kwarteng said. "Clearly, the DWP Secretary of State is reviewing what the policy is on that. We are having conversations.
Mr Kwarteng said it was important to live in a "humane society", adding: "Compassionate conservatism is a good phrase and it’s something we think about in terms of policy. We do have a duty to look after very vulnerable people."
That's all for tonight...
That concludes the penultimate day of the Conservative Party conference, with bold speeches by Suella Braverman and Therese Coffey somewhat overshadowed by the ongoing drumbeat on blue-on-blue infighting.
Penny Mordaunt may sit at the Cabinet table as leader of the Commons but was unflinching in her view that benefits should rise with inflation, amid speculation Liz Truss would prefer to use a lower metric such as average wage increases.
Kwasi Kwarteng tonight gave the strongest hint yet that the Government would not press ahead with reforms but did not offer clarity either way.
Now, Ms Truss has much to prove as she addresses an embattled party, and an anxious nation, in her first party conference speech as Prime Minister.
Join us tomorrow for full coverage.
Don't be pessimistic, Gove urges Tories
Michael Gove says it is easy to be "pessimistic" about the future, but adds it is "important to recognise conservatism has been the most durable political philosophy" because it is "adaptable over time".
"Why should someone join the Conservative Party? Conservatives are nice people, who do good things, they love where they live, they want to make a contribution, they recognise that nobody is perfect but they also believe there are basic virtues... We travel cheerfully."
We are a 'broad church', says Suella Braverman
Suella Braverman hails the Conservatives as a "broad church and strongest when we are focussed on our common enemy - and that is the Labour Party".
She describes Liz Truss as a "moderate Conservative leader" and the various wings of the party "represent various interests and different cohorts... What's crucial is to ensure that the realignment that happened so successfully in 2019 [stays in place]."
Ms Braverman takes aim at the "march" of the Left in institutions.
"As Conservatives, we've got to put ourselves forward to take part in these institutions. When you look at the people coming through for public appointments, whether it's the trustee of the National Trust, always from the Left... they're very well-mobilised and put their people forward. We don't put our people forward and we don't mobilise."
Tories must 'understand better' why people feel how they do
Conservatives have a duty to "understand better" why people feel the way they do, Michael Gove says, and "express humility" when things go wrong.
On the broader point about institutions, the former levelling up secretary adds it is "part of human nature that birds of a feather [flock together]".
"The challenge for all of us is that while without economic growth, we're sunk, the policies that will generate economic growth depend on a set of assumptions about society that provide the stability on which economic growth and capitalism and dynamism can succeed.
"The broader challenge is not going to war with these institutions, but making sure that more and more people understand what those principles are."
We need conservative book clubs, suggests Michael Gove
Michael Gove urged the Conservative Home website to set up a weekly "reading list" made up of a "book or a film or another cultural phenomenon" and an explanation of "why it is important" for Conservatives to understand it.
"We should set up book groups in our constituencies and communities who discuss over a glass of wine the ideas inherent in and behind that.
"And I think that conservatism as a network would be even more attractive if you thought that you could read John Hayes's analysis of It's A Wonderful Life, watch it with friends and discuss it afterwards then feed in via Conservative Home your thoughts about how that should influence the broad life of the nation."
'Polls move up and down'
Kwasi Kwarteng has suggested the Tories could still win the next general election despite Labour’s 33-point lead in the polls if his "Growth Plan" works, writes Tony Diver.
"Polls move up and down," he told a fringe event at Conservative Party Conference.
"What we need to do is focus on actually delivering good results. Two years is an eternity in politics and I think if our Growth Plan delivers, we will be in a better place. I never predict a victory, because that’s hubris."
Michael Gove addresses Conservative Home panel
He quips it is a "brave decision" to invite him to discuss the future of conservatism, and jokes: "As David Cameron once said, I was the future once."
"We need to remember why we won in 2019. The 2019 election victory, Boris's election victory, was a victory, yes, for a conservatism that believed in growth, enterprise, free markets and the Promethean spirit that is responsible for driving forward progress.
"But it also recognised two other things as well. Capitalism is brilliant - no better method of organising our economic life - but conservatives recognise there are no perfects goods, no utopias, that encompass all the goods we want to see. The thing about capitalism is it generates two problems, inequality and dirt. And Boris got that, perhaps more than any Conservative leader in the course of whatever."
'We have got to make Rwanda work'
Jacob Rees-Mogg has praised the Rwanda scheme as a "really good policy" and insisted "we have got to make [it] work", writes Nick Gutteridge.
"We will follow it through, the current obstacle is the European Court of Human Rights and the injunction that it put on. I’m not sure what validity these injunctions have.
"It’s been allowed by our own courts whilst they decided the matter. Let’s go through that process or if necessary legislate to do it. It's an excellent policy and we need to make sure that we have control of our immigration policy.
"Why should people coming through a legitimate route lose out to people coming through an illegitimate route? It's really unfair, it's a matter of fairness."
Kwasi Kwarteng: I am a compassionate Conservative
More from Tony Diver, our Whitehall Correspondent:
Speaking at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event, he said: "There was a phrase about 20 years ago: compassionate conservatism. I have always been drawn to that."
Mr Kwarteng said he had been inspired by his mother, who was a Methodist.
He added: "It’s the people’s money - we raise it through tax. And if we do that we have a moral obligation to look after it."
Damian Green: Tories need One Nation approach
Damian Green, the former deputy prime minister, warns at a Conservative panel: "Libertarianism cannot be the central purpose of a Conservative government. If it is, the Government is fooling itself and not being conservative.
"[One Nation] has to be seen as a Conservative value. Some of my most depressed years in politics were when Tony Blair started talking about One Nation Labour... Blair trying to capture One Nation for Labour, that was really, really damaging particularly because that's what he was doing, he was winning elections against us."
Sunak and Johnson's Treasury was 'unsustainable', says Kwarteng
Kwasi Kwarteng has said the Treasury he inherited from Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson was "unsustainable", Tony Diver reports.
"We were spending billions and billions and billions and raising the money in tax," he told a fringe event at Conservative Party Conference.
"How can that be sustainable, when we have a very, very high tax burden and very low growth?
"We had to come off that trajectory."
'That's a huge intervention'
Kwasi Kwarteng complained that his Energy Price Guarantee was receiving too little recognition from the public amid a furore about the abolition of the 45p rate of tax, writes Tony Diver.
"If you look at the energy intervention, I mean, nobody's talking about the energy intervention," he said.
"That was a huge use of the balance sheet to help people. People were facing bills of potentially £6000 next year, and we've intervened.
"There's gonna be a limit of £2,500. That's a huge intervention."
'I won't give up on the British people'
Suella Braverman says she will commit to bringing forward legislation that the only route to the United Kingdom is a "safe and legal route".
"That's so we can support those who need our help most. This will not be easy... The Guardian will have a meltdown. As for the lawyers, don't get me started on the lawyers, and I'm a recovering lawyer.
"But what I can pledge to you is my unfettered commitment to doing whatever it takes, and despite those obstacles I won't give up on you and I won't give up on the British people."
Ms Braverman receives a standing ovation, before concluding: "Now is the time for action. It's time to put the will of the hard-working, patriotic majority at the heart of all we do. It's time for the police to stop virtue-signalling and start catching robbers and burglars. It's time to tackle the small boats, no ifs, no buts. I stand ready to serve you, I stand ready to deliver. The time is ours. The time is now."
'Identity politics has led us astray'
"This is the best place on earth to come and live in, but I fear that we are losing sight of the core values and the culture that made it so," Ms Braverman says, referring to the recent unrest in Leicester as the result of a failure to "integrate".
"The unexamined drive towards multiculturalism as an end in itself combined with the corrosive aspects of identity politics has led us astray.
"Lastly, we've got to stop the boats crossing the Channel. This has gone on for far too long. But I have to be straight with you, there are no quick fixes and the problem is chronic. Organised criminal gangs are selling a lie to thousands of people. Many are drowning in the Channel."
Braverman: We must cut overall migrant numbers
Suella Braverman calls the grooming gangs scandal "a stain on our country" and the consequence of political correctness becoming "more important" than criminal justice - "more PC, less PCs".
"My other mission is to control our borders. Firstly, legal migration. Now I backed Brexit because I wanted Britain to have control over our migration and to cut overall numbers. Brexit was meant to give us a say on how we determine our own migration policy.
"We mustn't forget how to do things for ourselves. There is absolutely no reason why we can't train up enough of our own HGV drivers or butchers or fruitpickers. That way we build a high-skilled, high-wage economy... not relying wholly on low-skilled foreign workers."
She recalls her "intensely personal" link to the Commonwealth and pride in Britain as the daughter of immigrants, adding: "It's not racist for anyone, from a minority or otherwise, to want to control our borders."
Braverman: Police must 'stick to catching the bad guys'
The mob needs to be stopped, Suella Braverman tells delegates.
She says police must have "all the powers they need" in the face of violent protests and people who "glue themselves to the roads" and hope they will "get away with it".
Ms Braverman accuses the Left of "attacking our core elemental values, wanting to replace them with the poison of identity politics. And when this poison seeps into the public sphere, it stops public servants doing their real job."
"It is not just wrong for police to take the knee, it is wrong for them to join in with political demonstrations, it is wrong for biologically male police officers to strip search female suspects. And it's not just that pandering to identity politics is a waste of time - they need to stick to catching the bad guys."
'Everything starts from getting the basics right'
Suella Braverman pledges not to accept the "status quo" on dealing with rape.
She insists her policy of publishing league tables is right, adding: "You all have the right to know, and greater transparency will drive up standards."
"Everything starts from getting the basics right. We need common sense policing, unashamedly, unapologetically on the side of the law-abiding majority."
Suella's speech is underway
Suella Braverman hails the Rwanda scheme as a "new solution" to the challenge of illegal migration, saying she is grateful to Priti Patel and Boris Johnson for having laid the foundations of the policy.
The Home Secretary says Britain is "well on the way" to 20,000 police officers and violent crime has fallen but "some things still need fixing".
"Many on the Left, they want to defund the police. Well I say to the militants, I say to the anarchists and extremists, no, I will always back our policemen and women. That's what being on the side of the law-abiding majority means.
"But we also need to be frank when things go wrong. Some police officers have fallen devastatingly short of the standards expected. We need to get back to common-sense policing, empowering the police to tackle the issues facing the public - not policing pronouns on Twitter or non-crime hate speech incidents."
Labour has 38-point Red Wall lead, polling suggests
Labour has a lead of 38 points in the 'Red Wall' constituencies won by the Conservatives for the first time in at least a generation in 2019.
Sir Keir Starmer's party currently commands 61 per cent of support, according to Redfield and Wilton, while the Conservatives have 23 per cent.
The Liberal Democrats are on seven per cent, the Greens four per cent and Reform UK three per cent.
Badenoch: Braverman's language is 'too inflammatory'
Kemi Badenoch has said there has not been a "coup" against Liz Truss and that Cabinet ministers should be allowed their own opinions because they are not "zombies", writes Tony Diver.
"I think the Prime Minister is a woman who knows her own mind, and what we have seen is there has been a lot of pressure building whether from MPs, or constituents, members of the public, even the business sector about whether this was the right time [to announce a cut to the top rate of tax]" she said.
"I don’t think we should be talking about coups. I think that language is just too inflammatory."
Pressed on the divisions in the Cabinet, she added: "We are not zombies, we are not automatons. The Prime Minister will come to a decision and then we will have collective agreement...these aren't splits, these are opinions."
Government must not cut real terms benefits, warns ASI
Cutting real term benefits would be the "wrong decision", the conservative Adam Smith Institute has told Liz Truss.
Emily Fielder, head of communications at the ASI, told the Telegraph: "Lower-income households bear the brunt of rising prices and cannot be expected to take further financial penalties during a cost of living crisis.
"Forty per cent of those on Universal Credit are already working, whilst those who are not tend to be disabled or have caring responsibilities.
"Making work pay is vital to stimulate growth and employment, but the Government should not be looking to make blanket cuts for those who will be struggling the most this winter."
Badenoch has been 'shouting at' Gove
Kemi Badenoch has said she has been "shouting at" Michael Gove during Conservative Party Conference as he has criticised the Government, reports Tony Diver.
Ms Badenoch, the International Trade Secretary, praised Mr Gove for his work at various government departments and explained that she had endorsed him in the 2019 Tory leadership race.
Mr Gove has used this week's conference to criticise Liz Truss, the Prime Minister, for her decision to cut the top rate of income tax to 45p.
Ms Badenoch told a ConservativeHome fringe event: "I have been shouting at him a lot since Sunday morning. Somebody has to, but I have done it."
'They have so distilled the colour of our skin to some weird identity'
Kemi Badenoch has criticised Rupa Huq for her comments about Kwasi Kwarteng at last week’s Labour Party conference, Tony Diver writes.
"There are so many people whose understanding of being black is actually being an ethnic minority, and that includes lots of white liberals who are trying to be helpful," she said at a fringe event.
"They don’t understand that being black is something that is a continent of a billion people with 1000, if not more than 1000 groups and languages.
"And you see it when it goes wrong with the comments that Rupa Huq made at the Labour conference last week.
"They have so distilled the colour of our skin to some weird identity where you are probably speaking in some kind of patois and you are poor and people need to help you, that she would actually say that if you listen to Kwasi, you don’t know that he’s black - as if there is a way to sound black."
Kemi Badenoch: I said what I felt needed saying
Kemi Badenoch says she "really enjoyed" working with Rishi Sunak and claims about "snakes and traitors" were "absolutely appalling".
"I basically had a blank slate and I used the campaign as an opportunity to say a lot of things I felt needed to be said," she says of her own leadership run."
Ms Badenoch insists she tries not to focus on opinion and approval polling, and the party now has to "get behind" Liz Truss - who allowed her to say "difficult things" as an equalities minister.
Coffey: Strong NHS needs strong economy
"When I first went into the Department, I asked what the biggest risk was this winter and what we could do to help?
"I was told – help with energy bills, so older people would not worry about the cost of turning on the heating, and for health and care providers too. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor listened. They acted. They have delivered.
"And we need to act on growing the economy too. We need a strong economy to have a strong NHS. We need a resilient, sustainable economy, to have a resilient, sustainable NHS.
"And we need a compassionate and considered Conservative government, to deliver, deliver, deliver. And that, Conference, is what we will do."
Therese Coffey sets out her ABCD
"You may have heard ‘ABCD’ are my immediate priorities," the Health Secretary tells delegates. "No, I wasn’t broadcasting my A Level results to the nation. Nor was I reciting a new hip hop beat by Dr Dre."
"Those four letters represent my commitment to focus – resolutely – on the issues that affect patients most: Ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists."
Ms Coffey said average waiting times were too long and it was "perfectly reasonable" for people to expect to be able to see a GP within a fortnight.
"Of course, I would like to be more ambitious, and while I will not be prescriptive on how GPs interact with their patients, I am clear Patients must be able to see their doctors promptly."
Trevelyan urges ticket office reform
Anne-Marie Trevelyan urges industry to launch consultations on ticket office reform nationwide.
Noting the transformative impact of online shopping, Ms Trevelyan says the "same trend" is taking place on the railways. Only 12 per cent of transactions take place at ticket offices, she notes.
"We need to be looking at ways to move with the trend, and support our customers in the most effective way possible. There will be some stations where the ticket office will be important to the running of the station.
"In other areas, rail employees may be better in front of the glass, helping passengers in other ways. This is not about cutting jobs - this is about putting the passenger at the railway."
Anne-Marie Trevelyan addresses conference
The Transport Secretary says "we cannot ignore" that nine out of 10 train services were at a standstill on Saturday, with further strikes scheduled for tomorrow and this Saturday.
"The more quickly we can resolve our disputes, the sooner all our efforts can be spent of getting our economy motoring at full speed," she tells delegates.
"We must of course take necessary action to help our families and our businesses... We can only do this through growth."
The "very last thing" the country needs is more damaging walkouts, Ms Trevelyan adds, telling unions: "Please take your seats at the negotiating table, and let's find a landing zone that we can all work with. Punishing passengers and inflicting damage on our economy by striking is not the answer. There is a deal to be done between our unions and our train operators. It's a deal that will require compromise, so I want to see positive proposals to bridge those differences."
Grant Shapps suggests PM has 10 days to save premiership
Former Cabinet Minister @grantshapps won't rule out PM Liz Truss being ousted just weeks into the post.
"Anything is possible. But I think she has the opportunity in the next 10 days to reverse some of the problems of the last 10 days."
On @GlobalPlayer 📲@maitlis | @jonsopel pic.twitter.com/JCUUh8iqeP
— The News Agents (@TheNewsAgents) October 4, 2022
Watch in full: Chopper's Politics with Suella Braverman
Foreign Secretary: Putin has made 'so many strategic errors'
The use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia “would not go without a response,” James Cleverly has said.
The Foreign Secretary told a Tory conference fringe event: “It would inevitably be the case that the use of nuclear weapons by any country anywhere in the world would not go without a response.”
He declined to discuss “the nature or the threshold” but said: “What we have seen in Vladimir Putin’s decision-making is that he has made just so many strategic errors.
“Increasingly what we need to do is we need to make it very clear that his sequence of strategic errors has got to stop.”
He also vowed to “continue to support the Ukrainians in the defence of their homeland”.
Labour urges Chancellor to 'get a grip'
Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said the Government must “get a grip” and publish the Office for Budget Responsibility's economic forecasts after Kwasi Kwarteng said he is not moving the publication of his medium term fiscal plan forward (see the post below at 13.57).
Speaking on a visit to Peterborough, Labour’s Ms Reeves said: “The Government should have published the forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility when they did the mini-Budget.
“I wrote to the Chancellor at the weekend and said that they should now publish this coming Friday when the Office for Budget Responsibility gives the Government their forecast. The public should see it as well and financial markets need to see it."
Lord Barwell criticises Suella Braverman
Suella Braverman's comments about Michael Gove and rebellious Tory MPs have certainly sparked a debate here in Birmingham.
The Home Secretary said that if Tory MPs have concerns about Government policy then they should raise them privately.
But Lord Barwell, who was Theresa May's chief of staff in No 10, has now hit back, tweeting: "People who were backbench rebels have no credibility when they lecture others about loyalty when they become ministers."
Simon Clarke backs Suella Braverman over 45p comments
Suella speaks a lot of good sense, as usual. https://t.co/EHEPhhZ0sX
— Simon Clarke MP (@SimonClarkeMP) October 4, 2022
Nadine Dorries says PM needs 'fresh mandate'
Liz Truss suggested in an interview with TalkTV that her Government could start from scratch in many policy areas.
The PM said: "We have made certain commitments but we are going to have to look at things differently as we move forward."
That comment has prompted criticism from Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary, who suggested that if Ms Truss wants to move away from the 2019 Tory manifesto then she should hold a general election to secure a "fresh mandate":
We have no mandate from the people to do this.
Conservative Gov elected on basis of a manifesto, it’s how democracy works.
People voted in ‘19 on the policy promises we made (and for Boris).
If we don’t want to deliver on the deal, the promises, we need a fresh mandate. https://t.co/Q36iRAUzUH
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) October 4, 2022
Priti Patel intervenes on benefits row
Priti Patel has suggested that Liz Truss should increase benefits in line with inflation, writes Nick Gutteridge.
The former Home Secretary was asked at a Conservative Voice fringe event whether welfare payments should be uprated to match rising prices.
She said: "There is an opportunity to actually get some of these policies right and that means giving people the support they need in terms of getting to work, getting the jobs, but giving them the financial support as well where it’s needed."
Priti Patels criticises PM's tax and borrowing plans
Priti Patel has offered veiled criticism of the Prime Minister’s economic policies, warning they risk stoking inflation and ultimately leading to higher taxes, writes Nick Gutteridge.
The former home secretary said tax cuts should happen when “our spending and debt are sustainable” and the Tories “live or die” by their record on the public finances.
“We have to be honest, we’ve become addicted to borrowing huge amounts of money today to fix problems and generate popular headlines,” she told a Conservative Voice fringe event. "We must ensure that our spending and debt are sustainable in order to bring taxes down.
"Otherwise I think you know the story - interest rates rise, inflation and instability means growth simply doesn’t happen, debt balloons further and taxes go up. The Conservative Party lives or dies by its ability to manage the nation’s finances.”
'We need to learn to be a united party again'
Priti Patel has fired a warning shot to rebellious Tory MPs who are talking about replacing Liz Truss as Prime Minister, writes Nick Gutteridge.
The former home secretary said that the Conservatives had been through too many leaders in recent years and must now unite as a party.
“This, my friends, cannot keep happening,” she told a Conservative Voice fringe event. “It is an affront to our democracy and to the trust of the British people.
“We need to learn to be a united party again, a party with shared beliefs and the will to win.”
Michael Gove claims Chloe Smith agrees with him on benefits
Michael Gove has suggested that Chloe Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, agrees with his stance on the uprating of Universal Credit in line with inflation, writes Tony Diver.
Asked at an IPPR fringe event at Conservative Party Conference about benefits and their effect on public health, he said Ms Smith would pursue the issue in line with "one nation Conservatism".
"On the point about Universal Credit and benefits overall, clearly the Secretary of State is someone with whom I have worked," he said.
"She is a very details-oriented, very painstaking, caring person, and so I'm absolutely convinced that she will run that department in the very best traditions of one nation Conservatism".
Main takeaway from Suella Braverman interview
The fact that Suella Braverman accused Tory rebels of staging a "coup" over the 45p U-turn shows just how badly divided the parliamentary Conservative Party is right now.
With further rows coming down the track - particularly the one over the uprating of benefits - things are likely to get worse before they get better.
The big question now is whether Liz Truss can heal the divisions and get all of her MPs singing from the same hymn sheet.
At this moment in time that is looking like a very difficult task indeed.
Chancellor confirms fiscal plan not being brought forward early
Kwasi Kwarteng has said his plan to bring the public finances under control would be announced on November 23 as planned, despite widespread speculation it would be brought forward.
The Chancellor used his speech yesterday to say the medium-term fiscal plan would be published “shortly” with aides doing little to dampen speculation that meant in October.
But Mr Kwarteng told GB News that “shortly is the 23rd (of November)” and suggested people had been “reading the runes” incorrectly.
“It’s going to be November 23," he said.
UK law enforcement 'on the backfoot' on online fraud
Suella Braverman said UK law enforcement has been "on the backfoot" when it comes to tackling online fraud.
The Home Secretary said that online fraud is a "massive feature of modern day crime" and there needs to be "smarter action".
She said she would like to see more action to "play the hackers at their own game".
Liz Truss insists Cabinet is united
Liz Truss has insisted her Cabinet is “unified behind the growth plan” after she was asked about Government unity.
She told Times Radio: “I’m focused on delivering for people and the Cabinet is also fully focused on that too.
“People do interviews all the time at party conference, people talk, that’s what happens, but the important point is that we’re all unified behind the growth plan and behind what we have to do to get this country back on track.”
She added: “Well Cabinet ministers have to be able to talk publicly and I’m a believer that we have these discussions, we agree a common position and then we express those views.”
Home Secretary backs new Royal Yacht
Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, was asked if she backs a new Royal Yacht.
She said: "Yes. Exactly."
'There is no vacancy'
Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, has not ruled out a future bid for the Tory leadership.
Pressed a number of times on the question, Ms Braverman said with a laugh: "There is no vacancy."
Suella Braverman: Police officers must behave in 'serious manner'
Suella Braverman told The Telegraph's Chopper's Politics podcast that police officers should always behave in a "serious manner".
Asked about police officers dancing at carnivals, the Home Secretary said: "I would like to see that stop."
She said such behaviour is "undermining their authority".
Ms Braverman also said that the extent of cannabis use in some parts of the country "horrifies me".
'I do trust the Chancellor, absolutely'
After failing this morning to say that she trusts Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor, Liz Truss has now said that she does.
The Prime Minister told TalkTV: “I do trust the Chancellor, absolutely. The Chancellor is a very close colleague of mine, we work very closely together.”
Government 'not bringing forward publication of fiscal plan'
Liz Truss has said the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts and the Government’s plan to repair the nation’s finances would be laid out on November 23 as planned, despite suggestions from allies of Kwasi Kwarteng it could be brought forward.
The Chancellor used his speech yesterday to say the medium-term fiscal plan would be published “shortly”, with aides indicating that meant it could be brought forward from its November date to October in an effort to reassure markets.
But Ms Truss told GB News: “We’ve got the date of November 23. This is when we’re going to set out the OBR forecasts but also our medium term fiscal plan.
“And what we’ve done is we’ve had to take very urgent action to deal with the immediate issues we face, the energy price, the inflation and a slowing global economy.”
Channel migrant crossings a 'complex problem'
Suella Braverman was asked why the Government cannot better tackle the issue of small boat Channel crossings.
The Home Secretary said that "it is a deeply entrenched and complex problem".
She said that a photograph on a newspaper frontpage of a migrant plane going to Rwanda is her "dream".
Referring to the ongoing legal battles over the Government's Rwanda policy, Ms Braverman said: "Unfortunately we have got to let that play out."
'I am proud of the British Empire'
A sustained round of applause for Suella Braverman after the Home Secretary said: "I am proud of the British Empire."
Appearing on the Chopper’s Politics podcast, Ms Braverman said there was “obviously a mixed picture” on empire but said she was “not going to apologise for empire”.
'I am not going to commit to a number'
Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, said her "ultimate aspiration" is to reduce net migration to the UK to the tens of thousands.
She said that "I am not going to commit to a number" but that she does want to "substantially reduce" the number of migrants coming to the UK.
Suella Braverman 'on the fence' on benefits rise
Suella Braverman has refused to be drawn on whether benefits should rise in line with inflation next year.
The Home Secretary said "I am not going to take a view" and she is currently "sitting on the fence".
She said that the "question is under review".
Suella Braverman accuses Tory MP of 'coup' over 45p U-turn
Suella Braverman has accused Tory MPs of having "staged a coup effectively" over the 45p income tax rate U-turn.
The Home Secretary said MPs who opposed the mini-Budget plans had undermined the Prime Minister.
Ms Braverman said: "We should be supporting her and I am very disappointed to say the least about how some of my colleagues have behaved."
Liz Truss rejects claim of premiership 'disaster'
Liz Truss has denied that the first four weeks of her premiership have been “a disaster”. In an interview with the BBC, she said: “I don’t agree with that analysis.
“If you look at where we were four weeks ago, people were facing energy bills of up to £6,000, businesses were facing going out of business this winter because they couldn’t afford the cost of their energy, we were facing inflation that would have been five points higher than it would have been thanks to the energy package we’ve announced and we were also facing a slowing global economy.”
Suella Braverman insists Government is Conservative
Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, was asked if the Government is "Conservative".
She said: "Yes, absolutely. This is an exciting time to be a member of the Conservative Party."
'I would like to see the higher rate lower'
Liz Truss still wants to lower the top rate of income tax but said the row over abolishing the 45p rate had become “a distraction”.
In an interview with the BBC, she said: “I would like to see the higher rate lower. I want us to be a competitive country but I have listened to feedback, I want to take people with me.
Suella Braverman arrives
Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, has now arrived at the PLMR business hub at Conservative Party conference to take part in Chopper's Podcast.
We should be underway imminently.
Liz Truss: Penny Mordaunt does not need to be sacked
Liz Truss has dismissed suggestions Penny Mordaunt should be sacked for speaking out over benefits.
Asked if Ms Mordaunt had to go, the Prime Minister told ITV News: “No, she doesn’t. This is about a decision that we are taking later on this year. And of course, there’ll be more discussions about those decisions.”
Asked whether the comments by Ms Mordaunt, a serving Cabinet minister, had showed she had lost control of her Government, Ms Truss said: “We do have a very clear direction and a very clear plan.
“We’ve dealt decisively with the energy cost issue, which was the major issue four weeks ago, people aren’t talking about it, because we have dealt with that issue, given the households the reassurance they need and the businesses the reassurance they need.”
Lord Pickles issues warning over benefits
Conservative former party chairman Lord Pickles suggested it was “almost certain” the Government would not have the numbers if it attempted to keep benefit rises below inflation.
Speaking to BBC News, Lord Pickles said: “The next big issue is with regard to the uprating of benefits, and I obviously, I’m out of it, I don’t know what’s happening in the Commons, but I was just recently talking to somebody who does know what’s happening, and it was her estimation that the numbers against not uprating were greater than those that were against the 45 per cent income tax (cut).”
Asked if he believed the Government could not get sufficient backing if it decides against uprating benefits in line with inflation, Lord Pickles said: “Yeah, I think that’s almost certain, but bearing in mind I’ve been proved wrong two or three times this week where things have gone in a different way.”
Pictured: Penny Mordaunt walks through conference in Birmingham
Suella Braverman set for grilling on Chopper's Politics
Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, will be taking part in a recording of Chopper's Politics at Conservative Party conference in Birmingham shortly.
We are expecting things to get underway at 1pm.
Labour criticises PM over Chancellor comments
Labour has now responded to Liz Truss failing to say she trusts Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor (see the video below at 11.38).
Pat McFadden, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “This is a Tory crisis made in Downing Street. The Prime Minister and the Chancellor must both accept responsibility for it.
“They have undermined trust in the UK economy and people will pay the price through higher mortgage payments.
“The fact that the Prime Minister can’t even say she trusts her Chancellor tells you all you need to know about the architects of the economic chaos into which they have plunged the country.
“Instead of disowning the problem and blaming one another they must put the country first and abandon their discredited trickle down approach.”
Suella Braverman: No migrants who cross Channel will be able to claim asylum in UK
Suella Braverman will today pledge to prevent human rights laws "interfering" with the UK's ability to deport illegal migrants by introducing a new law barring anyone who crosses the Channel from claiming asylum in Britain.
The Home Secretary will accuse the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg of “mission creep” by “grossly expanding” the remit of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to include asylum claims which it was never designed to cover.
'It doesn’t make any sense'
Sir Iain Duncan Smith has said “it wouldn’t make a huge amount of sense” for the Government not to raise benefits in line with inflation.
The Conservative former leader told a fringe event: “My view is very simply that the support that we give right now, we are going to give out on the cost of living, which is huge… a package we should be talking more about, but at the same time, it wouldn’t make a huge amount of sense then to withdraw some of that by actually reducing or not uprating benefits at the same time.
“It doesn’t make any sense. Otherwise, the rest of society gets support, but they end up getting less and relatively they’re the ones that need it most.”
'It may be that the rise in line with inflation isn't the right thing'
A minister has said increasing benefits in line with inflation may not be the "right thing" to do and that people could benefit more from a "direct payment" instead.
Brendan Clarke-Smith, a Cabinet Office minister, was asked during an interview on Times Radio if he agreed with Penny Mordaunt that benefits should rise in line with inflation.
He replied: "I think the benefits need to be set at a level where, you know, we don't want people destitute, we want people to pay their bills. And I think we have to set it right.
"It may be that the rise in line with inflation isn't the right thing. And actually, giving something direct, like a direct payment is a far better way of doing it. Again, that's what we've done with the energy price and the price guarantee and other things like that."
IDS argues benefits should rise in line with inflation
Sir Iain Duncan Smith has said he would oppose a move by the Government to increase benefits by less than the rate of inflation, writes Nick Gutteridge.
The Tory former leader said it would be “wrong” to repeat the mistakes of the past by failing to uprate Universal Credit in line with rising prices.
He said that boosting the incomes of poorer families would have a greater positive impact on economic growth than giving tax cuts to the wealthy.
“The cost of living has to be dealt with at the bottom end of income more so than at the top end of income," he told a Conservative Home fringe event.
Watch: PM refuses to say she trusts Kwasi Kwarteng
Ex-Lib Dem leader pokes fun at PM
Farron to agent Truss: you might need to tone it down a bit now, it all looks a little too obvious, some people are beginning to suspect…
— Tim Farron (@timfarron) October 4, 2022
PM fails to rule out increasing state pension age
Liz Truss did not rule out raising the state pension age when challenged, resisting speculation on “all kinds of decisions that haven’t yet been made” but saying she would “do what it takes” to address the economic outlook.
Speaking to broadcasters in Birmingham, and asked if she will end up raising the state pension age beyond the age of 67, Ms Truss said: “You’re asking me to speculate about all kinds of decisions that haven’t yet been made.
“What’s first of all important is that we dealt with the energy prices people were facing. We’ve helped to curb inflation through that intervention. We’ve reduced taxes to get the economy growing.
“We’re going to be doing economic reforms in areas like moving faster with building projects, moving faster with transport projects to get the economy going.
“And that is what we need to do because we are facing a very difficult international situation, a slowing global economy. So yes, I will do what it takes to fix those issues.”
Jake Berry: Levelling up not just about north of England
The Conservatives must "break away" from the idea that levelling up is only about the north of England and the Red Wall, Jake Berry told Tory activists this morning, writes Dominic Penna.
Mr Berry, the current party chairman, was key in establishing the Northern Research Group (NRG) of backbench MPs when Boris Johnson was PM.
"The first thing we need to understand about levelling up is [that] levelling up is not about the north of England," he said.
"Levelling up is about the north, the Midlands, the south, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland. The first job with levelling up is slightly to break it away from the idea of the Red Wall because there are many deprived parts of the south east and the south west and Scotland and Wales as well."
Lib Dems warn against real terms cut to benefits
The Liberal Democrats have warned it would be "heartless" for the Government to impose a real terms cut in the value of Universal Credit.
Wendy Chamberlain, the party's work and pensions secretary, said: "With one in four people on benefits already in work, it is jaw-dropping to suggest the answer to the people's worries is to give tax breaks to the richest corporations but cut support for those who need it most.
"The Conservative's plans to make real terms cut to benefits is heartless and devoid of care. It's clear that Liz Truss is either so out of touch she doesn't get it or simply just doesn't care about millions of families across the country who just want a fair deal."
Liz Truss insists she enjoys being PM
Liz Truss has said she is enjoying being Prime Minister despite it being a “challenging time”.
Asked if she is enjoying being in No 10, she told broadcasters in Birmingham: “I am. It’s a challenging role, it’s a challenging time, but what I am focused on is delivering for the British people.”
Pressed on whether the job is harder than she thought it would be, Ms Truss said: “I came in with very clear expectations that this was a tough time for our country, but I’m prepared to do what it takes to get us through these difficult times, to get us through this difficult winter and to come out stronger as a country.”
PM declines to say she trusts Chancellor
Liz Truss has declined to say that she trusts Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor.
The Prime Minister was asked the question during a visit to a construction site in Birmingham this morning.
She told Sky News: "I work very, very closely with my Chancellor. We are very focused on getting the economy growing and that is what people in Britain want, we are facing difficult economic times, we are seeing rising interest rates around the world, very serious issues with energy prices and inflation and we have acted decisively."
PM responds to Penny Mordaunt comments on benefits
Liz Truss has now responded to Penny Mordaunt's comments on benefits as she repeated that no decisions have yet been made on the issue.
During a visit to a construction site in Birmingham she said: “On the subject of benefits we have not yet made that decision. Of course there will be discussions about the way forward on commitments like benefits.”
Lord Hague urges Chancellor to publish fiscal plan
Kwasi Kwarteng is widely expected to announce that he is bringing forward the publication of his medium term fiscal plan from November 23, potentially to this month.
Lord Hague, the former leader of the Conservative Party, said he believes it is a case of the sooner, the better.
Speaking to Times Radio, Lord Hague said: “The sooner the Chancellor sets out his plans for that, so that financial markets aren’t terribly surprised, again, the better.”
'There is still a lot to play for'
Lord Hague, the former Cabinet minister, said the Tories are not necessarily doomed to defeat at the next general election after a series of opinion polls gave the Labour Party commanding leads.
He told Times Radio: “The whole political situation in this country is very fluid. And if I was the Labour Party, I would not be confident I’ve got people excited yet about what a Labour government could do.
"There is still a lot to play for.”
Lord Hague: Government needs to 'anticipate' problems
Lord Hague, the former leader of the Conservative Party, said that he hopes that the Government can learn from its U-turn on income tax and the political chaos of recent days.
He said ministers need to "look ahead" and "anticipate" problems.
“Maybe the Government are beginning to learn, after a very terrible start, that they do have to look ahead and anticipate these problems," he told Times Radio.
Listen: PM refuses to rule out more U-turns on mini-Budget
Why Penny Mordaunt's comments are significant
Penny Mordaunt's comments have certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons in Birmingham.
The public position of the Government is that no decision has yet been made on uprating benefits. But we know that Downing Street is considering not increasing Universal Credit in line with inflation.
Numerous backbench Tory MPs have set out their opposition to the idea of ditching the link between benefits and inflation.
But now we have a senior Cabinet minister saying publicly that she thinks the link should be retained, arguing it "makes sense".
That will pile the pressure on Downing Street.
Cabinet minister: 'Makes sense' for benefits to rise with inflation
Penny Mordaunt, Leader of the House of Commons, has told Liz Truss that it "makes sense" for benefits to rise in line with inflation.
Speaking to Times Radio, she said: "I have always supported, whether it's pensions, whether it's our welfare system, keeping pace with inflation. It makes sense to do so. That's what I voted for before and so have a lot of my colleagues."
Pictured: PM and Chancellor in Birmingham this morning
'Clearly U-turns are not good for governments'
Damian Green, the Tory former first secretary of state, said that if Liz Truss pursues a policy of not increasing benefits in line with inflation she will be forced into another U-turn.
He told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: “Well yes and I’m trying to avoid that I think, clearly U-turns are not good for governments and they should only do them when they realise that they are on the wrong track, we’ve had one this week and so let’s avoid the necessity for another.”
Senior Tory MP issues warning to PM on benefits
Damian Green, the former work and pensions secretary, said Liz Truss has “probably not” got the support in the House of Commons to prevent an inflation-linked rise to benefits.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If people are already struggling, and many of these people will be, then making them struggle more is not a sensible response to the problems.
“I completely agree with the Prime Minister when she says you’ve got to see this in the round, but in the round it doesn’t make sense to give an extra £1,200 of help for energy bills to the poorest people in the country and then say but we’re going to claw hundreds of pounds of that back, it militates against the Government’s own rescue package, so I don’t see the sense of this.”
Asked if the PM could get a non-inflation-linked rise to benefits through the Commons, Mr Green said: “Probably not, I think that there will be many of my colleagues who think that when you’re reaching for spending cuts, benefit payments are not the way to do it.
“As I say, cutting the welfare bill can be done a number of ways, there are other ways to do that and of course it illustrates the wider political problem of where do you find cuts, the two biggest government budgets are health and welfare and it’s politically difficult to cut either of those budgets.”
'We have learned from the feedback'
It was suggested to Liz Truss during her interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the country has discovered that this "lady is for turning" - a reference to the famous Margaret Thatcher quote - because of the U-turn on income tax.
Ms Truss said that she has a "very clear plan about how we are going to get through this winter" and added: "Is everything the Government [has] done absolutely perfect? No, it is not. I fully acknowledge that and we have learned and we have learned from the feedback that we have received."
PM refuses to be drawn on bringing forward fiscal plan
Kwasi Kwarteng said in his conference speech yesterday that he will be publishing his medium term fiscal plan "shortly". Those comments were interpreted as a sign that he will bring forward publication from the previously stated date of November 23.
Liz Truss refused to say if the blueprint will be brought forward.
In an interview recorded yesterday lunchtime, the Prime Minister told the BBC: "We are working very closely with the OBR... that is something the Chancellor is working on."
Liz Truss defends extra government borrowing
Liz Truss has defended her plans to borrow money to pay for tax cuts.
In an interview with the BBC Radio 4 Today programme which was recorded yesterday lunchtime, Ms Truss said that "this is the right time to take on some extra borrowing" because of the "very severe international situation that we face" - a reference to the war in Ukraine.
The Prime Minister added: "We will bring down debt as a proportion of GDP in the medium term..."
PM fails to rule out introducing austerity measures
Liz Truss was asked if she can rule out introducing austerity measures in the coming years.
The Prime Minister told LBC Radio: "What we are doing this winter is we are borrowing more to cover the cost of the energy price guarantee, to make sure we are able to help people get through this winter and next winter.
"Over time I have committed that we will reduce the debt as a proportion of GDP but that will be over the medium term and the whole point of the mini-Budget we announced is it is about getting the economy growing and the main way I want to help pay down that debt is through economic growth."
Liz Truss 'has spoken to Boris Johnson' since becoming PM
Liz Truss has revealed that she has spoken to Boris Johnson after she took over from him in Number 10.
The Prime Minister told LBC Radio that "I've had a few chats with Boris".
Asked what they talked about, Ms Truss said: "Well, you know, he's given me the benefit of his experience."
Ms Truss would not be drawn any further.
PM: 'No decision has been made' on benefits
Liz Truss said "no decision has been made" on whether benefits will rise in line with inflation next year.
While there is uncertainty over benefits, the Government has made a cast iron commitment to keep the triple lock on pensions.
Asked during an interview on LBC Radio why "pensioners more important than those who are on benefits", Ms Truss said: "Well I committed during the leadership election campaign, that we will protect the triple lock, which means that pensioners get either 2.5 per cent, prices or wages, whichever is the higher. And it's very difficult when you are a pensioner to adjust your income in any way.
"People are facing higher prices. Of course, what we're doing on the energy price guarantee will help people with those prices. Now… no decision has been made yet on benefit uprating."
PM refuses six times to rule out further mini-Budget U-turns
Liz Truss has refused six times to rule out further mini-Budget U-turns.
Here is the full exchange between the Prime Minister and LBC Radio’s Nick Ferrari:
NF: “Will there be more U-turns on this budget?”
PM: “I’m absolutely determined…”
NF: “…on this budget. Mini budget…”
PM: “…to press ahead with this growth plan. The vast majority of it we’ve already…”
NF: “Respectfully, that’s not answering... will there be more U-turns on this mini budget? You've got Ben Houchen saying you need to reverse the policy regarding bankers’ bonuses.”
PM: “Well, that is not part of this mini-Budget. This mini-Budget is all about how do we help on energy bills…”
NF: “But will there be more U-turns?”
PM: “I'm determined to carry on…”
NF: “So you can’t rule it out…”
PM: “…with this growth package. That's what’s important, but it's also important, Nick, that we do listen to people and we bring the country with us.”
NF: “Right. So there could be more U-turns?”
PM: “I'm not saying that at all and we've already implemented, you know, we've already implemented the biggest part of the package. The biggest part of the package, if you remember, people were facing energy bills of up to £6,000. We have fixed that. This October, we have made sure that the typical family isn't paying more than £2,500. That was the biggest part of this package.”
Tax cut not a 'major part' of mini-Budget
Liz Truss has insisted that the policy to scrap the 45p rate of income tax "wasn't a major part of the package".
In an interview with LBC Radio, the Prime Minister said "me and the Chancellor" had come up with the original policy which has now been ditched.
PM: 'Abolishing 45p tax rate was only a tiny part of our big plans'
Liz Truss has written for The Telegraph today as she argued that the 45p income tax cut was just "a tiny part of the plan".
The Prime Minister said scrapping the 45p additional rate had "become an unnecessary distraction" and "that is why the Chancellor and I decided to no longer proceed with it".
Ms Truss said that "in order to get Britain moving, we need to have the courage of our convictions".
She also said that "a Conservatives, we have fallen out of the habit of making Conservative arguments".
Cabinet ministers: Ditching link between benefits and inflation a 'non-starter'
The Telegraph can reveal there is unease at the top of Government over the suggestion that benefits may not rise in line with inflation next year.
Some Cabinet ministers are understood to believe that refusing to increase benefits by inflation is a “non-starter”.
But No 10, considering the options, is preparing to question whether it is fair for people on benefits to get inflation-linked rises while scores of workers get real-terms pay cuts.
'I think we will deliver the rest of that package'
Brandon Lewis, the Justice Secretary, said the Government intends to implement the rest of its mini-Budget after yesterday's income tax U-turn - but he was unable to rule out further U-turns.
Asked if he could rule out another U-turn, Mr Lewis told Sky News: “Well look, as I say, in government you are always looking at what you can do, what you can do better, what you can deliver better for people in the future.
“But I think we have got a package that is a strong package. It is a package that says to the world that the UK is open for business so I think we will deliver the rest of that package as it is.”
Senior Tory MP expresses concerns on benefits
Mel Stride, the Tory chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said he would have to “think long and hard” if asked to vote to increase benefits in line with earnings rather than inflation.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’d need to see all the details, I’d need to see it in the round, but I’d have to think long and hard about that.
“Because the last time the benefits were uprated, because of the way the mechanism works they’re uprated in April but they’re pegged against the previous September’s inflation, and the way it worked last time was the uprating was just 3.1 per cent because inflation was low the previous September, but of course inflation was much higher than that (in April).
“So we’re coming off the back actually of a kind of quite a strong real-terms squeeze on those benefits already so I think that will be a really tough call to make.”
PM: 'We have to be fiscally responsible'
Liz Truss has said there is a need to be “fiscally responsible” amid suggestions benefits will not rise in line with inflation next year.
The Prime Minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are going to have to make decisions about how we bring down debt as a proportion of GDP in the medium term.
“I am very committed to supporting the most vulnerable, in fact in addition to the energy price guarantee we’re also providing an extra £1,200 to the poorest households.
“So we have to look at these issues in the round, we have to be fiscally responsible.”
Good morning and welcome to day three of Conservative Party conference here in Birmingham.
It promises to be another busy start to the day after yesterday's early U-turn on scrapping the top rate of income tax, with Liz Truss doing a round of morning media interviews.
There will then be a series of big speeches this afternoon, including from Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary.
I will be on hand to bring you all of the latest developments as they happen.