The Perfect Enemy | Liz Truss accused of seeking to evade scrutiny over announcement of energy bills plan – live
September 27, 2022

Liz Truss accused of seeking to evade scrutiny over announcement of energy bills plan – live

Liz Truss accused of seeking to evade scrutiny over announcement of energy bills plan – live  The Guardian

Read Time:10 Minute

Liz Truss is to present her plans for cutting energy bills as a general debate on the subject, rather than the normal ministerial statement, with Labour saying this could allow her to evade proper scrutiny.

Making a brief statement on business for Thursday, Penny Mordaunt, the new leader of the Commons, outlined the plan.

Thangam Debbonaire, her Labour shadow, questioned the choice, noting that the format of a ministerial or prime ministerial statement means that the person presenting it, in this case Truss, would have to answer repeated questions from MPs. A debate means she will most likely only speak once, at the start.

Debbonaire also noted that unlike with a statement, there is no need for the government to provide any details of the policy to the opposition or MPs in advance.

Mark Harper, the Tory former chief whip, then spoke to request that MPs get proper sight of the plan.

Mordaunt said she would “make representations” about this to the business and energy department, which is leading on this.

Earlier, at PMQs, Truss said she would unveil her plans for dealing with the energy bills crisis tomorrow.

The Scottish government has had to cut £500m from existing budgets in order to raise public sector pay.

This includes reductions of £43m for education and £60m for the net zero, energy and transport budget.

The SNP’s acting finance secretary, John Swinney, said: “Difficult choices must be made. There is no unallocated cash. There is no reserve that has not been utilised. Every penny more on one policy is a penny less on another policy.”

The SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has raised questions about the policy direction of Liz Truss’s administration after the appointment of two senior European Research Group figures to the Northern Ireland Office.

Hanna said: “The appointment of another hardline Eurosceptic to a senior position in the Northern Ireland Office is a red flag when issues related to the protocol remain politically sensitive.

“Liz Truss has an opportunity to make the case for a negotiated resolution with the European Union in the interests of people across these islands. These appointments seem in stark contrast to that objective.

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Privatising this issue to the DUP and ERG has not only failed in the past, it has brought down previous governments. Elevating Steve Baker to NIO in particular is an obnoxious decision that will send a destructive message to the European Commission and to parties in Northern Ireland.

“Liz Truss could have taken the opportunity to build bridges and make allies in the early days of her premiership. Instead she seems to be continuing down the diplomatically ignorant route of her predecessor.”

Here is some reaction from journalists in Northern Irland to the appointment of Steve Baker as a Northern Ireland minister. (See 5.40pm.)

From UTV’s political editor, Tracey Magee

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Brexit ultra @SteveBakerHW has been appointed as Minister of State for Northern Ireland. He joins committed eurosceptic, &amp; newly installed NI SoS, @chhcalling. The anti-Protocol parties will be pleased while the pro-Protocol parties will be deeply suspicious.

&mdash; Tracey Magee (@Tracey_utv) September 7, 2022

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Brexit ultra @SteveBakerHW has been appointed as Minister of State for Northern Ireland. He joins committed eurosceptic, & newly installed NI SoS, @chhcalling. The anti-Protocol parties will be pleased while the pro-Protocol parties will be deeply suspicious.

— Tracey Magee (@Tracey_utv) September 7, 2022

From the BBC’s Darran Marshall

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The new Northern Ireland Minister @SteveBakerHW previously called for the Gov to trigger Article 16 in advance of May’s Stormont election. pic.twitter.com/uzrJ8GDWRX

&mdash; Darran Marshall (@DarranMarshall) September 7, 2022

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The new Northern Ireland Minister @SteveBakerHW previously called for the Gov to trigger Article 16 in advance of May’s Stormont election. pic.twitter.com/uzrJ8GDWRX

— Darran Marshall (@DarranMarshall) September 7, 2022

That is all from me for tonight.

My colleague Nadeem Badshah is taking over now.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has said the process used in the UK to select Liz Truss as prime minister was not democratic.

Speaking in Vladivostok, he said:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}In the UK, the procedure for electing the head of state is far from democratic.

It takes place within the framework of the party that won the previous parliamentary election.

The UK people do not participate in the change of government in this case.

Putin is right. The population of the UK is around 67 million, but only 172,437 Conservative party members were eligible to vote in the ballot that led to Truss becoming prime minister.

But, of course, Putin himself is about the last person qualified to lecture anyone on democratic propriety. He is a ruthless, homicidal autocrat who only wins “elections” himself because his opponents tend to end up in prison, or worse. He makes comments of this kind not because he is a champion of democracy, but because is keen to promote arguments that might undermine the moral authority of the west (which he considers to be based on bogus foundations).

The reshuffle is still going strong. Downing Street has announced another round of minister of state appointments, and the Lords chief whip.

Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, is rejoining the government as a Northern Ireland minister.

Will Quince becomes a health minister. He was an education minister, and he backed Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership contest.

James Duddridge becomes an international trade minister. He was a whip.

Kelly Tolhurst becomes an education minister. She was a whip.

And Lady Williams of Trafford is the new Lords chief whip. She was a Home Office minister.

Micheál Martin, the taoiseach (Irish PM), has welcomed Liz Truss’s statement that she would prefer to resolve the dispute over the Northern Ireland protocol by negotiation. (See 12.34pm.) Speaking in Dublin, he said:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}I look forward to be in a position to speak to the British prime minister within the next day or two.

I take heart from the prime minister’s comments that her preferred approach to the protocol is to have it resolved by negotiation. That is certainly our view also and that of the European Union.

Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, was serving food to pupils today to publicise the Welsh government’s decision to start offering universal free school meals to the youngest primary school pupils this week. The initiative is part of a programme that is intended to ensure all primary school pupils get free school meals by 2024. This is part of the cooperation agreement between the Labour government and Plaid Cymru.

Drakeford said in a statement:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}No child should go hungry. Families throughout Wales are under huge pressure because of the cost-of-living crisis and we are doing everything we can to support them. Extending free school meals to all primary schools is one of a number of measures we are taking to support families through this difficult time.

Mark Drakeford during a visit to Ysgol Y Preseli in Pembrokeshire today.
Thérèse Coffey, the new health secretary and deputy PM, arriving at Downing Street for a meeting this afternoon.

Mark Francois, the Tory former minister and prominent Brexiter, told journalists that he was impressed by what Liz Truss told the 1922 Committee about her intention to improve links with the parliamentary party. (See 4.53pm.) He said:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Impressive performance. Confident. Assured. Answered the questions directly. It was good.

As an overall impression, it was an impressive start and she was very good at understanding some of the real concerns of backbenchers, in terms of the way she was speaking, in terms of some of the changes at No 10, the way they’re going to inter-relate with colleagues.

Sir Stephen Lovegrove has been dropped as national security adviser unexpectedly by Liz Truss, in one of her first civil service appointments since taking over at No 10 on Tuesday. The veteran official will be replaced by career diplomat Sir Tim Barrow, best known as the former ambassador to the European Union who handed over the UK’s article 50 notice that triggered Brexit.

The national security adviser is appointed personally by the prime minister, but there had been no immediate expectation that Lovegrove would shift jobs. Lovegrove had been in post since March 2021, and will become the prime minister’s defence industrial adviser – a new position – “until the end of this year”.

Lovegrove was a senior adviser to Truss’s predecessor Boris Johnson over Britain’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, taking a measured and relatively low key approach to the crisis. The new prime minister will have known him well from her time as foreign secretary, suggesting that in appointing Barrow Truss wants, at the very least, fresh input as the six-month long war drags on.

Truss said:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Sir Tim Barrow brings with him a huge wealth of experience safeguarding the interests and security of the British people around the world. This includes working on the UK’s response to Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine.

I would also like to thank Sir Stephen Lovegrove for his distinguished service as national security adviser. I am pleased he will continue to promote our thriving nuclear defence industry, working with key international partners to keep our people safe every day.

Liz Truss at PMQs.

Liz Truss addressed Tory MPs at a meeting of the 1922 Committee this afternoon. According to Sam Lister from the Daily Express, she said she wanted to improve the links between No 10 and the parliamentary party.

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Liz Truss has told Tory MPs at the 1922 her government is all about team work. She is moving the Whips Office back to No 12 Downing Street to keep closer links with the party

&mdash; Sam Lister (@sam_lister_) September 7, 2022

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Liz Truss has told Tory MPs at the 1922 her government is all about team work. She is moving the Whips Office back to No 12 Downing Street to keep closer links with the party

— Sam Lister (@sam_lister_) September 7, 2022

(New leaders normally say they want to improve relations with the parliamentary party. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes it doesn’t.)

The pound has slipped to a new 37-year-low against the dollar after a rally for the US greenback, PA Media reports. PA says:

.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Sterling dipped as low as $1.1403 dollars on Wednesday afternoon, surpassing the trough of $1.1412 seen at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

It comes after the dollar continued its recent strong spell, which saw it hit a 24-year-high against the Japanese Yen earlier in the session.

The dollar has also closed in on a 20-year-high against the euro.

Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, highlighted the strength of the US currency during a Treasury committee meeting earlier on Wednesday, as he explained to MPs the recent weakness in the pound.