In her interview with the Times Nadine Dorries, the Tory former culture secretary, also called for benefits to be uprated in line with inflation for 2023-24. She said:
Boris Johnson’s government was clear that benefits should rise with inflation — this must be right. If it rises in line with wages that will mean a real-term cut for millions of people at a time when global costs are rising due to a pandemic and Putin’s war. It would be cruel, unjust and fundamentally unconservative.
Good morning. The Conservative party conference is over, but the reality TV drama, The Tories, ploughs on and, in a sign of quite how fractious and dysfunctional the party has become, Nadine Dorries has accused Liz Truss of “lurching to the right”. That’s the former culture secretary Nadine Dorries who at one point was one of Truss’s main supporters in the Tory leadership contest, and who for most of her parliamentary career was seen as way to the right of most of her colleagues in the party.
Dorries made her comments in an inteview with the Times, where they form the top of the lead story, taking precedence of its report on Truss’s first speech to a Tory conference as leader and prime minister.
Arguing that Truss had made some “big mistakes’” since becoming PM, Dorries said that the new government should not be abandoning the policies that voters supported when they elected Boris Johnson in 2019. Dorries said:
I understand that we need to rocket-booster growth, but you don’t do that by throwing the baby out with the bathwater. You don’t win elections by lurching to the right and deserting the centre ground for Keir Starmer to place his flag on.
If we continue down this path, we absolutely will be facing a Stephen Harper-type wipeout. I’m sure she’s listened and will stop and rethink.
Dorries, of course, is the uber Johnson loyalist, and so it is possible that her comments may be influenced as much by a desire for his return as by a commitment to centre ground politics. But after a conference that has seen Brexiters fall out with fellow Brexiters, and a Tory libertarian PM outrage her Tory libertarian allies, the Dorries interview is fresh evidence of how the old alliances in the party are collapsing.
Jake Berry, the Conservative party chair, has been giving interviews this morning. He told Times Radio he disagreed with Dorries. He said:
What I would say to Nadine is to look really carefully at the prime minister’s speech. I think she set out a vision that is something that every Conservative MP, former minister or not, can get behind.
I also think she spoke to every British household because her desire to create growth is about ensuring that Britain gets on and every British household gets on.
I will post more from Berry’s interviews shortly.
Parliament is not sitting today, and Truss herself is in Prague, where she is attending the first meeting of the European Political Community in Prague. She is not holding a press conference, but she is expected to record a clip for broadcasters in the afternoon.
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