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James Cleverly says ‘only thing MPs should fear is ballot box’ as he warns against Commons rule changes over ‘intimidation’ | Politics News

The home secretary has warned the Speaker against changing Commons conventions due to intimidation from outside parliament, telling Sky News: “The only thing MPs should fear is the ballot box.”

James Cleverly offered his support to Sir Lindsay Hoyle to stay in post – despite 68 MPs having now signed a no-confidence petition against him after Wednesday’s chaotic scenes in the Commons – calling him “a breath of fresh air”.

But he added: “We should not be changing our procedures in response to threats or intimidation. That would indicate that the threats and the intimidation is working – that is the opposite of the message that we want to send.

“If people think that they can target members of parliament, they are wrong. The full force of the law will be brought down.”

Politics live: Speaker comes out fighting

A huge row erupted on Wednesday as parliament held an opposition day debate over the Israel-Hamas conflict, with the SNP calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Pressure had been mounting on the Labour Party to move away from the government’s position of calling for a pause in fighting to echo the SNP’s stance – and they announced they would put forward their own amendment, calling for a ceasefire, albeit with a number of caveats.

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Commons conventions say that opposition motions cannot be amended by opposition parties, but Sir Lindsay took the decision to let Labour’s position be debated and voted on, claiming it gave MPs the widest range of positions to discuss and back, and citing the safety of members who were facing threats and intimidation unless they supported calls for a ceasefire.

But his decision was met with rage from the Conservatives, who pulled their own amendment and “played no further part” in the proceedings, and ended with the SNP not even getting to vote on their own motion.

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‘I have a duty of care to protect’

Despite the Speaker making two apologies in the Commons on both Wednesday and Thursday for how his decision had played out, calls for him to resign grew – led by the leader of the SNP, Stephen Flynn, who said his position was now “intolerable”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also criticised Sir Lindsay’s actions, calling them “very concerning”, while former home secretary Suella Braverman wrote an angry piece in the Daily Telegraph, saying it had “undermined the integrity of Parliament” and that “the Islamists, the extremists and the antisemites are in charge now”.

Asked about his position on the Sir Lindsay as the row entered its third day, Mr Cleverly said: “I think the Speaker’s done a fantastic job. I think he’s been a breath of fresh air compared with his predecessor.

“He made a mistake. He apologised for the mistake. My view is that I’m supportive of him.”

But the current home secretary said it would be down to MPs to decide his fate, adding: “The selection of the speaker is House business and for the House of Parliament rather than for government.

“And I know that sounds like we’re dancing on the head of a pin, but in our constitution it’s a very important division. So this is House business for members of parliament, rather than for the government.”

There is no formal way for the Speaker to be removed, but he could choose to resign if calls for him to go continue to grow – as one of his predecessors, Michael Martin, did in 2009.

However, with support from the Labour benches and senior Conservatives, Sir Lindsay could instead decide to fight on to stay on post.

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SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has told Sir Lindsay Hoyle he no longer believes he can continue in his role as Speaker of the House.

The Tories have sought to blame Labour for the shambolic scenes in parliament this week, amplifying reports that party leader Sir Keir Starmer threatened to withdraw support from the Speaker if he did not select their ceasefire amendment.

A Conservative source told Sky News on Friday: “Starmer’s undermined parliament, bullied the speaker into doing something he admitted was “wrong”, and it sadly won’t be long before more antisemitic views emerge from Labour.”

And Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho told reporters: “I think the speaker is a decent man. He’s a really well respected parliamentarian. I didn’t agree with the ruling that he made, but I think the real culprit here is Keir Starmer.

“I think he’s put the speaker in an intolerable position by saying that we should bow to intimidation and external influences. No intimidation should change the way that we vote in parliament or what we vote on.”

But Sir Keir “categorically” denied making any such threat, telling reporters that when he met Sir Lindsay, he “simply urged” him to have “the broadest possible debate” by putting a number of options in front of MPs.

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Sir Keir Starmer has

The Labour leader added: “The tragedy is the SNP walked off the pitch because they wanted to divide the Labour Party and they couldn’t, and the government walked off the pitch because it thought it was going to lose a vote.”

Speaking to Sky News on Friday morning, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper insisted Sir Lindsay was “right” to select Labour’s amendment to the ceasefire vote – which ended up passing – “making sure the widest possible range of views can be debated, sit on and can be voted on, that is something that is good for democracy”.

But she agreed decisions on parliamentary procedure should not be made because of intimidation from outside.

Home Secretary James Cleverly defends delay in plan to toughen up zombie knives ban | Politics News

Home Secretary James Cleverly has defended the government’s delay in announcing legislation to toughen up a ban on zombie knives.

The government is introducing new legislation on Thursday to “close the loophole” on the weapons, which were first banned in 2016.

However, it is still common for them to appear in knife crime cases, with actor Idris Elba one of the latest to lend his voice to the campaign to get them banned further.

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Ministers are aiming to make it harder for the weapons to be sold legally, aiming for it to be against the law to possess, sell, manufacture or transport the blades.

Zombie knives are defined in law as blades with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and “images or words that suggest that it is to be used for the purpose of violence”.

The government announced five months ago that they planned to introduce tougher regulations.

Asked why it had taken so long, Mr Cleverly said: “We have already taken action to make the carrying of zombie knives illegal.

“When I became home secretary, I made the immediate decision to go further to put forward this secondary legislation to support what we’ve already done to make the possession of zombie knives illegal and to close that loophole.

“So I’m very pleased we’re taking action now, and we’ll be determined to get these knives off the streets.”

A surrender scheme will be introduced ahead of the new regulations coming into force in September.

The government also wants tougher penalties for those who possess the knives – increasing the maximum sentence from six months to two years.

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zombie knives
Image:
The government wants to close loopholes on zombie knives. Pic: PA

Labour promises ‘no more weak warnings’

As Mr Cleverly made the announcement, the Labour Party said it would launch a £100m plan to tackle knife crime if it were to enter government.

The party also promised “real consequences” for knife crime – and an end to the “empty warnings and apology letters” for those guilty of knife possession

“Too many young people are being drawn into squandering their life chances by getting involved in crime. A government that I lead won’t think we can press release away soaring youth crime,” Sir Keir Starmer said.

Reacting to the announcement from Mr Cleverly, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper added: “Six Tory home secretaries have promised these changes, and still they don’t go anywhere near far enough and don’t match Labour’s plans for a comprehensive ban.

“Dangerous weapons like ninja swords, which have been used to kill teenagers, will still be available on Britain’s streets.

“Still, law-breaking online platforms who profit from these illegal sales are being let off with a slap on the wrist instead of facing criminal sanctions. Labour would close these glaring loopholes in the government’s plans.”

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‘Not a black issue, not a London issue’

Home Office minister Chris Philp branded the Labour plans as “just another reheated pledge from the Labour Party using money they have already spent seven times”.

He added: “They cannot say what their plan actually is. Because just like their reckless £28 billion-a-year spending spree they don’t have a plan – meaning higher taxes for the British people.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly apologises after joking about spiking his wife’s drink | Politics News

James Cleverly has apologised after joking about putting a date rape drug in his wife’s drink in comments made at a Downing Street reception within hours of the Home Office announcing plans to crack down on spiking.

The home secretary told female guests “a little bit of Rohypnol in her drink every night” was “not really illegal if it’s only a little bit”, the Sunday Mirror reported.

Mr Cleverly also laughed that the secret to a long marriage was ensuring your spouse was “someone who is always mildly sedated so she can never realise there are better men out there”.

Read more:
Drink spiking laws to be modernised, Home Office says

The home secretary and his wife Susie have two children.

Conversations at Downing Street receptions are usually understood to be “off the record” but the Sunday Mirror decided to break the convention because of Mr Cleverly’s position and the subject matter.

A spokesperson for Mr Cleverly said: “In what was always understood as a private conversation, James, the Home Secretary, tackling spiking, made what was clearly meant to be an ironic joke – for which he apologises.”

The home secretary has previously described tackling violence against women and girls as a “personal priority” and called spiking – when someone puts drugs into another person’s drink or directly into their body without their knowledge or consent – a “perverse” crime.

Senior Labour figures criticised Mr Cleverly’s “appalling” comments, with Alex Davies-Jones, shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, saying: “‘It was a joke’ is the most tired excuse in the book and no one is buying it.

“If the home secretary is serious about tackling spiking, and violence against women and girls, then that requires a full cultural change. The ‘banter’ needs to stop and it has to start at the top.”

Read more from Sky News:
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Home Office rows back on plans to hike family visa salary threshold

‘Truly unbelievable’

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Spiking is a disturbing and serious crime which is having a devastating impact on young women’s lives. It is truly unbelievable that the home secretary made such appalling jokes on the very same day the government announced new policy on spiking.

“It suggests that despite being the cabinet minister ultimately responsible for tackling violence against women and girls he doesn’t get how serious this is. Victims will understandably be questioning if they can trust him to take this vile crime seriously.”

Police receive 561 spiking reports a month

Ministers pledged to modernise the language used in legislation to make clear spiking is a crime and announced a series of other measures as part of a crackdown, but stopped short of making spiking a specific offence.

There were 6,732 reports of spiking in England and Wales – including 957 reported incidents of needle spiking – between May 2022 and April 2023.

On average police receive 561 reports of spiking a month, with the majority being made by women typically after incidents in or near bars and nightclubs, according to a Home Office report.

Home Secretary James Cleverly heads to Rwanda to sign new asylum treaty | Politics News

James Cleverly is travelling to Rwanda to sign a new treaty for the government’s asylum plan.

It is part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s mission to make the deal to send migrants there legally watertight following the Supreme Court’s ruling against the scheme.

In the wake of the judgement on 15 November the government insisted it had been working on contingency measures and promised a treaty with Rwanda within days, along with emergency legislation in parliament.

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Mr Cleverly said Rwanda “cares deeply about the rights of refugees” and he looks forward to meeting counterparts and signing the deal.

The home secretary said: “We are clear that Rwanda is a safe country, and we are working at pace to move forward with this partnership to stop the boats and save lives.

“The Supreme Court recognised that changes may be delivered in future to address the conclusions they reached – and that is what we have set out to do together, with this new, internationally recognised treaty agreement.

“Rwanda cares deeply about the rights of refugees, and I look forward to meeting with counterparts to sign this agreement and further discuss how we work together to tackle the global challenge of illegal migration.”

There has been speculation Rwanda is pushing to get more money on top of the £140m already committed to the scheme.

The Sunday Times reported Kigali will be given a £15m top-up payment to agree fresh terms on its agreement with the UK.

Read more:
What is the government’s Rwanda plan and what will they do next?

Rwanda map

Mr Sunak met Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on the sidelines of the COP28 climate talks in Dubai on Friday, but declined afterwards to say how much more money he would spend to make the scheme a success.

Downing Street insisted there had been no demand for extra money from Rwanda, with the prime minister’s official spokesman saying: “Certainly I don’t recognise that figure of £15m, there’s been no request for additional funding for the treaty made by Rwanda, or not offered by the UK government.”

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Cleverly announces immigration plan

It comes after Mr Cleverly laid out his five-point plan to cut immigration, which included banning care workers from bringing their families over to the UK and raising the minimum salary required for a skilled worker visa.

Under his five-point plan, Mr Cleverly said he will:

• Stop health and care workers bringing their dependants to the UK;

• Increase the skilled worker earnings threshold by a third to £38,700, in line with the median full-time wage;

• Scrap “cut-price” labour by stopping shortage occupations being able to pay 20% less than the going rate and reforming the shortage occupation list;

• Raise the minimum income for family visas to £38,700 from £26,200 from next spring; and

• Ensure the Migration Advisory Committee reviews the graduate immigration route to prevent abuse.

He said the government would also increase the health surcharge this year by 66%, from £624 to £1,035.

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‘Embarrassed’ backbenchers demand action on net migration

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Mr Cleverly said around 120,000 dependants accompanied 100,000 care workers in the year up to September.

“In total, this package, plus our reduction in students dependants will mean around 300,000 fewer people will come in future years than have come to the UK last year,” he told MPs.

Minister plays down cabinet split after Cleverly says Rwanda plan ‘not be all and end all’ | Politics News

A cabinet minister has played down the suggestion of a government split on the Rwanda asylum plan after the home secretary said it was not the “be all and end all” of migration policy.

Backbench Tory MPs have criticised James Cleverly after he urged people not to “fixate” on the controversial deportation scheme, and said that leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) would undermine attempts to stop the boats.

Laura Trott, the chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips the home secretary was on the same page as the prime minister, who has pledged to do “whatever is necessary” to ensure flights take off.

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She said Rwanda remains “central” to the government’s promise to stop Channel crossings and “both are saying it is part of the plan, it is not all of the plan”.

Ms Trott said small boat crossings have already reduced despite no flights taking off with the £140m deal held up by legal challenges for over a year.

“We have successfully, in the last year, bought the numbers of people coming over here illegally down by a third,” she said.

More on Migrant Crossings

“That is at a time when the numbers coming into Europe are up by 80%.”

Ms Trott went onto say that she was not worried about the Reform UK party outflanking the Conservatives from the right if the government fails to make true on its stop the boats pledge.

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“I’d be very clear that a vote for Reform or any other party which is not Conservative is a vote for Keir Starmer as prime minister.

“But what I would say is one of the reasons it’s so important for me to come on shows like yours is for us to communicate as a government what we are doing to stop the boats.”

Reform UK, previously the Brexit Party, has only taken small proportions of the vote in recent by-elections.

But that has not stopped some Conservatives fearing that Richard Tice’s party could exploit voter unhappiness over small boats at the next general election – especially given the advance of anti-immigration parties in other European countries.

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Far right Dutch leader claims election victory

Mr Sunak’s stop the boats pledge faced a huge set back this month after the Supreme Court ruled the plan to deport asylum seekers who arrive by unauthorised means to Rwanda to be unlawful.

Although Mr Sunak has doubled down on the policy, with a plan to sign a new legally binding treaty with Rwanda aimed at addressing the judges’ concerns, Mr Cleverly appeared to take a more measured approach when he wrote in the Times: “My frustration is that we have allowed the narrative to be created that this was the be all and end all.

“The mission is to stop the boats. That’s the promise to the British people. Never lose sight of the mission. There are multiple methods. Don’t fixate on the methods. Focus on the mission.”

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Rishi Sunak admits there is ‘more to do’

It comes amid a separate row over the levels of legal migration to the UK, after new figures revealed net migration is at an all-time high – despite a Conservative 2019 manifesto pledge to bring numbers down.

Mr Sunak is under pressure from Tory MPs to take radical measures to make true on that pledge, including significantly increasing the minimum salary requirement to get a work visa and capping the number of health and social work visas.

‘Deep concern’ over Cleverly comments as Braverman’s ideas on net migration linger within cabinet | Politics News

If the Conservatives thought the autumn statement would bring the party a much needed boost – announcing cuts to national insurance and business taxes – some very big numbers were lurking just around the corner that would ruin the party.

The very next day, the Office for National Statistics released figures that showed net migration has hit a record-high of 1.3 million in the last couple of years.

For the Conservatives, it brought back a thorny, divisive issue and plunged the party into fighting factions once again.

The migration figures came as a surprise, even at the heart of government, and followed the Supreme Court’s ruling a week earlier that the government’s controversial migration plan – the Rwanda policy – was unlawful.

Now in an interview with The Times, Home Secretary James Cleverly warned people not to “fixate” on the Rwanda migration scheme, adding that he has become “frustrated” with the heavy focus on the issue, and that it should not be seen as the “be all and end all”.

It is seen as a marked change in tone to that of his predecessor Suella Braverman whose hard line on migration made her a favourite with those on the right of the party.

And even though she is gone, many MPs believe her ideas and policies live on in the Home Office.

One Conservative source said: “The comments made by the new home secretary are deeply concerning for anyone who cares about immigration control.

“He seems incredibly blasé about net migration numbers that are unprecedented in their scale and a source of serious concern for millions of voters.

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UK migration: What the numbers tell us

“The reason why many of us focus on the Rwanda scheme is because it’s our main deterrent to illegal migration. Without a significant deterrent like the Rwanda scheme we simply cannot realistically hope to make major inroads in stopping the boats.”

Barry Legg, chairman of the Eurosceptic think tank The Bruges Group, said the government has to press ahead with the Rwanda plan.

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He told Sky News: “It’s got to be an effective plan. We can’t back away from the Rwanda policy. It will be seen as a total U-turn and will undermine any Conservative policies that are put forward on immigration.”

Jonathan Gullis MP, a former schoolteacher who won Stoke-on-Trent North for the Tories for the first time in the seat’s 70-year history, said: “The home secretary and I were elected on a manifesto to cut migration.

“We made a promise to the British people to stop the boats. He would be wise to remember this, and like the prime minister, he should leave all options on the table and be willing to do whatever it takes to take back control of our borders.”

Backlash within cabinet

Mr Cleverly’s comments also appear to have caused a backlash within the cabinet.

Robert Jenrick, immigration minister, is now openly pushing for the kind of immigration restrictions favoured by Ms Braverman – such as increasing the salary cap for those coming into the UK and placing restrictions on the number of health and care workers who can work in Britain.

But this could be a double-edged sword.

Any future migration policy must find the right balance between controlling immigration without harming the economy.

The health and social care system relies heavily on workers coming to work in the UK and restrictions could plunge vital services into chaos.

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PM on Rwanda: ‘I will take them on’

Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling, Rishi Sunak said the government would introduce emergency legislation to confirm that Rwanda was safe – and the UK was working on a new treaty.

A Downing Street source told Sky News: “The PM has been crystal clear he’ll do what it takes to get flights off to Rwanda as a key part of his ten point plan to stop the boats.

“He’s determined to make the Rwanda plan work so that people coming here illegally know they cannot stay.”

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to visit Qatar for World Cup amid calls for boycott | Politics News

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has said he will travel to Qatar to attend the World Cup amid controversies over human rights and the treatment of LGBT+ people in the host nation.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Middle Eastern country and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished by up to seven years in prison.

There are also concerns about thousands of migrant workers having died there since it won the rights to host the tournament.

Many campaigners have called for a boycott of the World Cup this year, with comedian Joe Lycett saying he will burn £10,000 of his own money if David Beckham doesn’t pull out as an ambassador to the event.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his front bench say they will not attend the tournament – which begins on Sunday – over concerns for LGBTQ rights, the rights of women and for the workers who have lost their lives.

James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, delivers a statement at the Historic Town Hall at the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting as part of the German G7 Board
PIC:AP
Image:
James Cleverly says he will attend the tournament. Pic: AP

But Mr Cleverly told the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee: “I will be going.”

He said he would be attending “for a number of reasons”, adding: “Because I’m a foreign secretary and it is my job to ensure British visitors stay safe.”

He added: “I’ve visited Qatar in the lead-up to the World Cup and when I go to the World Cup I will be speaking to the security authorities to ensure that English and Welsh and whatever other British fans who are going to the World Cup remain safe.”

Labour MP Chris Bryant accused him of handing gay fans travelling to Qatar a “slap in the face” by telling them to comply with the local laws.

Pressed on whether he would advise gay fans to demonstrate while in Qatar during a heated exchange, Mr Cleverly said: “No I wouldn’t.”

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Qatar official slams homosexuality

He added: “When British nationals travel overseas they should respect the laws of their host country.”

It is not the first time he has made such a remark.

Last month the cabinet minister was branded “tone deaf” for telling LGBT football fans to be respectful if they plan on visiting Qatar for the World Cup.

Mr Bryant was adamant that no fans should be travelling to the tournament.

“I don’t think the World Cup should even have been given to Qatar because workers have been killed in building the buildings, migrants have been treated appallingly and gay men are regularly entrapped by police officers and then sent to prison – particularly if you’re a Muslim in Qatar you can face the death penalty,” he said.

“So I don’t think any of it should be happening but then you come out and say gay people should respect Qatar – it does feel a bit of a slap in the face.”

Mr Cleverly responded: “There will be LGBTQ+ football fans going to Qatar, I want them to be safe. Genuinely my question is, for those gay fans who want to go watch the football, what advice realistically should I give other than the advice I believe will keep them safe.”

He said he has told the Qatari authorities about “how important we feel that they should respect gay fans” and insisted “we’re very proud that we champion gay rights around the world”.

The World Cup kicks off on Sunday. England play Iran on Monday, then later that day Wales face the US.

Read More:
Being gay is ‘damage in the mind’, Qatar World Cup ambassador says

Foreign Office advice notes that in Qatar “any intimacy between persons in public can be considered offensive, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or intent”.

On Monday, Sir Keir told broadcasters: “My position on Qatar is very clear, I’m not going to go and none of my front bench will go.

“And that’s because of the record in relation to the workers that have lost their lives, in the construction of some of the facilities, with no trade unions there to represent them, the LGBT issues that arise and the oppression of women.”

But he said Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford is in a “different position”, as he attends as Wales’s first minister.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly urges ministers to keep policy views ‘around the Cabinet table’ amid Conservative infighting | Politics News

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has urged his ministerial colleagues to keep their views on government policy “around the Cabinet table” as Liz Truss faces an open split within her top team over the 45p tax rate U-turn.

The senior Cabinet member warned his peers that it is “always better to feed straight into the boss” if there are any issues regarding “policy or the relationship with other ministers”.

On Tuesday, Home Secretary Suella Braverman accused Tory MPs of staging a “coup” against the PM over the 45p tax rate – a policy which was unveiled in Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax-cutting mini-budget last month and reversed last week.

Truss prepares to battle to save premiership in keynote speech – Politics latest

“She chose the words that she chose,” the foreign secretary told Sky News, responding to Ms Braverman’s comments.

“But when you’re in government, you have the opportunity to feed your ideas straight to the top machine. It’s always best done around the Cabinet table or in the Cabinet committee meetings.

“My view is anything to do with policy or the relationship with other ministers – always better to feed straight into the boss”.

Speaking at a Telegraph event at the Conservative Party conference, Ms Braverman said she had been “in favour” of scrapping the top rate of income tax and was “disappointed” by the government’s U-turn.

She also criticised those in her party who had “undermined the authority of our prime minister in an unprofessional way”.

Fellow Cabinet minister Simon Clarke also publicly disclosed his objection to the reversal of the policy.

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities secretary posted on social media: “Suella speaks a lot of good sense, as usual.”

The tax cut for the wealthiest 1% was one of a raft announced by Mr Kwarteng in his mini-budget less than two weeks ago that led to market turmoil – with the pound plummeting, the Bank of England having to step in to rescue pension funds and mortgage products being withdrawn.

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Do the public and Cabinet still trust Truss?

Despite standing by the policy in the opening days of the conference, Mr Kwarteng confirmed on Monday it would no longer go ahead, saying the measure had become a “distraction” from his objective to grow the economy.

Yesterday, Ms Truss told Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby she had “absolutely no shame” in performing the dramatic U-turn.

Mr Cleverly told Kay Burley that “a lot of discussions weren’t able to be had” over the chancellor’s mini-budget proposals because of the death of the Queen.

The foreign secretary also disputed that a U-turn took place, adding: “What you’re describing as a U-turn is the smallest element of a really big and significant support package to families, tax cut to families, stimulus package for the British economy.”

Ms Truss is also facing the threat of another major split within her top team over the level of benefits.

On Tuesday, Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt joined backbench rebels in calling for welfare payments to be raised in line with inflation, which has been at around 10%, rather than earnings at 5%.

The PM has refused to commit to raising benefits in line with inflation, saying she has “not made a decision” on whether to stick to the benefit uprate promised by her predecessor Boris Johnson.

Read more:
Liz Truss says she has ‘absolutely no shame’ over tax cut U-turn
Home secretary attacks Tory MPs who ‘staged coup’ over tax cut

In a few hours, Ms Truss will deliver her keynote speech at the Conservative Party’s conference in Birmingham as she battles to save her premiership just one month into the job.

The PM will wrap up the event by defending her approach and pledging a “new Britain for the new era” after a week of U-turns and infighting.

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PM: I am ‘not ashamed’ for listening

The prime minister will tell her audience: “Whenever there is change, there is disruption. Not everyone will be in favour.

“We need to grow the pie so that everyone gets a bigger slice.”

She is expected to say: “I am determined to take a new approach and break us out of this high-tax, low-growth cycle.”

Ms Truss will also put her government forward as having an “iron grip” on the UK’s finances that will help everyone.

The hall in Birmingham is not expected to be full as many MPs said they were leaving on Tuesday evening ahead of train strikes on Wednesday.

Liz Truss’s speech is due to take place at 11am on Wednesday. Follow live updates and analysis on the Sky News Politics Hub and on TV.