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Tory MPs Told To Say Government's Economic Plan Is 'Responsible' In Leaked Briefing Note

Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng (Alamy)

4 min read

Exclusive: Conservative MPs have been told by party bosses to insist that the government's approach to the economy is "responsible".

According to a briefing note leaked to PoliticsHome, Tory MPs have also been instructed to argue that the UK's economic fundamentals remain "sound" and stress that other countries are experiencing disruption, as Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng continue to face pressure over the fallout of last week's 'mini Budget'.

Kwarteng's announcement on Friday that the government would borrow tens of billions of pounds to fund sweeping tax cuts was followed by days of turmoil in the markets, with the pound falling to a 37-year low and its lowest ever level against the dollar.

On Wednesday, Truss and Kwarteng were urged to make a public statement about the disruption after the Bank of England took the drastic step of buying government debit to stablise the markets.

In a statement the Bank said it had been forced to act to “restore orderly market conditions” and warned that there was a “material risk to UK financial stability".

However, despite growing pressure to change course, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are refusing to budge, with the government insisting that the policies will help kickstart growth.

In a briefing note sent by the party HQ on Wednesday, titled 'growing the economy in a responsible way', Conservative MPs were told to say the government was "committed to responsible economic management" and that its plan would deliver long-term growth. 

"We have a detailed plan of action to get Britain moving again," it reads.

"We are improving the fundamentals of the economy. We will get every part of the government focused on growth, removing the barriers that have slowed down the UK economy for years."

It tells Conservative MPs to stress "all other major currencies have fallen compared to the dollar" and that the plans set out by Kwarteng on Friday were "exactly the reforms that central banks have been requesting".

This morning Truss said that she had to take "controversial and difficult decisions", but insisted that they would "get our economy growing, get Britain moving and also deal with inflation".

City Minister Andrew Griffith yesterday said that government ministers were not to blame for the turmoil in the markets.

Asked by Sky News whether they were responsible, he said: "No, we both know that we're seeing the same impact of Putin's war in Ukraine cascading through things like the cost of energy, some of the supply side implications of that.

"And that's impacting every major economy and just the same, every major economy, you're seeing interest rates going up as well."

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said the prime minister's interviews with regional media this morning had made a "disastrous situation our economy faces even worse".

"Her failure to answer questions about what will happen with people’s pensions and mortgages will leave families across the country facing huge worry," she said.

Yesterday Labour joined the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party in calling for Parliament to be recalled amid the ongoing economic disruption.

"What the government needs to do now is recall Parliament and abandon this Budget before any more damage is done," said Labour leader Keir Starmer.

While most of the Conservative MP anger with Truss and Kwarteng remains private, a significant number of them have taken to publicly criticising the decisions taken by the government in last week's fiscal event.

Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Chair Simon Hoare MP, who backed Rishi Sunak in the contest to succeed Boris Johnson as Tory leader and prime minister, said the approach was "inept madness" while Julian Smith, the former chief whip, said the government "needs to make changes" to its plans as "not doing so will only continue further stress & strain on UK citizens".

Mark Garnier, the former trade minister, wrote for The House that while Kwarteng's announcement was "well-intentioned", it was "ill-timed" and the decision to scrap the cap on bankers' bonuses "odd".

Meanwhile, Robert Largan MP tweeted that the government decision to scrap the 45 per cent tax rate was a "mistake".

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