Suella Braverman had a 90-minute shouting match with Liz Truss before quitting as Home Secretary
Liz Truss’s premiership was in freefall last night.
In an astonishing few hours, she sacked Suella Braverman after a 90-minute ‘shouting match’ – and then saw her Chief Whip ‘resign’.
The ousted Home Secretary launched an outspoken attack on the PM, accusing her of breaking key pledges and wobbling over manifesto commitments such as reduced migration.
Chief Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker appeared to quit after Miss Truss reversed her plan to expel Tory MPs who voted against the Government on fracking.
No 10 was last night unable to say whether it still had a chief whip.
The Prime Minister allegedly sacked the Home Secretary after a 90 minute shouting match. A source said Mrs Braverman, pictured left, was furious at being asked to relax immigration rules in order to boost economic growth and satisfy the Office for Budget Responsibility that the Government’s economic plans added up
MP Chris Bryant posted a scene of Tory division in the Westminster Lobby after 36 Tory MPs ignored the three-line whip on fracking, including former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng
Amid chaotic scenes in the Commons, Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey and Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg were accused of ‘manhandling’ MPs through the voting lobbies – a claim both ministers denied.
As Government discipline collapsed, Mr Whittaker was heard telling his colleagues: ‘I am f***ing furious and I don’t give a f*** any more.’
Tory MPs were seen shouting at an ashen-faced Miss Truss: ‘It’s a shambles.’
One Cabinet ally of the PM said it looked impossible for her to recover her authority, adding: ‘It feels like it’s over.’
Senior Tory MPs were urgently discussing strategies for ousting Miss Truss, although the precise timing and mechanism remain unclear – as does the question of who might succeed her.
Some MPs believe her authority is draining away so quickly that she will be forced to resign by the weekend, possibly as early as today.
Downing Street said Mrs Braverman, the shortest serving Home Secretary of modern times, had resigned after sending a confidential document to a Tory MP in breach of the ministerial code.
But multiple sources said her departure followed a ‘fiery’ 90-minute meeting between her and Miss Truss in No 10 the previous night at which the Home Secretary warned the PM it would be ‘insane’ to relax immigration rules in order to boost economic growth.
In an explosive resignation letter last night Mrs Braverman suggested that the PM should quit and savaged her record.
‘It is obvious to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time,’ she wrote. ‘I have concerns about the direction of this Government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this Government’s commitment to honouring manifesto commitments, such as reducing overall migration numbers.’
Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey and Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, pictured, were accused of ‘manhandling’ MPs through the voting lobbies – a claim both ministers denied
As former Cabinet minister Grant Shapps, who openly plotted against Miss Truss, was made Home Secretary:
– The PM performed yet another U-turn by announcing that the pensions ‘triple lock’ would be protected;
– She insisted she would not resign, telling MPs: ‘I’m a fighter, not a quitter’;
– The Prime Minister also issued another grovelling apology, saying she was ‘sorry’ and had ‘made mistakes’;
– 36 Tory MPs ignored the three-line whip on fracking, including former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng;
– Labour called for an inquiry into alleged ‘bullying’ of Tory MPs during the vote;
– Party leader Sir Keir Starmer mocked the PM, asking her: ‘What’s the point of a Prime Minister whose promises don’t even last a week?’
– One of the PM’s closest aides was suspended over a No 10 briefing describing former chancellor Sajid Javid as a ‘s***’ minister;
– Tory MPs on the Right of the party warned of a Remainer takeover, with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly now the only Brexiteer in a top Cabinet job;
– Former Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries led a Tory revolt over cost-cutting plans to delay the social care cap.
Labour called for an inquiry into alleged ‘bullying’ of Tory MPs during the vote, with Therese Coffey accused of ‘manhandling’ other MPs during last night’s chaos
The departure of Mrs Braverman came just five days after Mr Kwarteng was sacked in the wake of the market turmoil triggered by last month’s emergency Budget.
A source said the email she sent from her phone about immigration policy was a ‘clear breach’ of the ministerial code’s requirement to respect confidentiality.
Mrs Braverman last night acknowledged the ‘mistake’ but said the policy was due to be announced ‘imminently’, and that much of it had already been briefed to MPs.
One Whitehall source said the ‘trivial’ episode appeared to be a pretext for removing a senior minister who had made no secret of her continuing leadership ambitions.
‘She’s obviously gone because of a bust-up,’ the source said. ‘She was always a flight risk, like Penny Mordaunt – she’s positioning herself for what’s to come.’ Two sources said the Home Secretary’s departure followed a meeting between the pair the previous evening over immigration policy.
One described the 90-minute encounter as a ‘shouting match’, saying raised voices could be heard outside.
Another said Mrs Braverman was furious at being asked to relax immigration rules in order to boost economic growth and satisfy the Office for Budget Responsibility that the Government’s economic plans added up.
A source said she told Miss Truss the idea was ‘insane, adding: ‘Are we just going to junk every manifesto commitment going?’
Mrs Braverman has also clashed with the PM over her plan to relax visa rules as part of a major trade deal with India. Downing Street is now braced for the possibility of a resignation speech in the Commons from Mrs Braverman later today.
Miss Truss is said to have initially planned to appoint Mr Javid as Home Secretary, a role he has filled before.
But the two were locked in stand-off because of the briefing row over which the aide has been suspended.