Liz Truss 'has to get control of things' says Albie Amankona
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Political commentator Albie Amankona has urged Liz Truss to “get control of things as quickly as possible” as Downing Street recovers from a chaotic day of resignations and kerfuffle in the Commons. While the Prime Minister’s position appears evermore uncertain, Mr Amankona described the scenes in Parliament on Wednesday night as “pretty shocking” after reports that ministers were manhandling and bullying backbenchers into voting against Labour’s proposed ban on fracking. Tory MPs were also left confused over whether the vote was one of confidence or not; such a vote, known as a three-line whip, means that siding with Labour amounts to opposing the incumbent Government and leaves rebellious MPs subject to disciplinary action.
Mr Amankona said: “I think this Government is in a moment of profound difficulty and I think, for many people on all sides of the House, it’s dawning on us that this is not a sustainable way to govern. But the question is, what comes next?
“There is not a mechanism to remove a Prime Minister in a very easy way. The Prime Minister would have to resign.
“The 1922 Committee rules state that there is 12 months before a leadership contest can happen.
“In order for there to be a general election, the Conservative MPs would have to vote in favour of it. I think looking at the polling, that is very unlikely, so the way forward is looking very unclear.”
Mr Amankona added: “Look, ultimately, the Prime Minister has to try to get a control of things as quickly as possible.
“She has appointed Grant Shapps as the Home Secretary to replace Suella Braverman.
“I think it is pretty unprecedented to see a Prime Minister lose both the chancellor and the home secretary within a week of each other. Pretty shocking scenes.
“But, ultimately, the question is whether she can survive until the mid term fiscal statement on October 31st. I think it is looking less likely now than it was at the beginning of this week.”
After Suella Braverman lashed out at Ms Truss’s “tumultuous” premiership and accused the Government of “breaking key pledges”, the exodus appeared to continue with speculation that Chief Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy, Craig Whittaker had also resigned.
There were reports in Commons that Liz Truss was seen running after Ms Morton as she walked out following a last-minute U-turn on a threat to strip the whip from Conservative MPs if they backed a Labour challenge over fracking.
Climate minister Graham Stuart had told the Commons minutes before the vote that “quite clearly this is not a confidence vote”, despite Mr Whittaker earlier issuing a “100 percent hard” three-line whip. Confused MPs then appeared restless as they tried to figure out whether a vote against the Labour motion was required.
It was also alleged that Ms Truss herself failed to vote on the Fracking Ban despite Downing Street later confirming that it had been a confidence vote.
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The Prime Minister has since promised to take disciplinary action against lawmakers who abstained or failed to vote with her Conservative party amid a total breakdown of unity and discipline.
“The whips will now be speaking to Conservative MPs who failed to support the government,” a government spokesperson said.
“Those without a reasonable excuse for failing to vote with the government can expect proportionate disciplinary action.”
Downing Street also suggested that both Ms Morton and Mr Whittaker remain in their roles.
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