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Keir Starmer Says Liz Truss Is "Scared Of Her Own Shadow" After She Ducks Commons Question

Keir Starmer addressed the House of Commons after Truss's major economic u-turn (Alamy)

3 min read

Keir Starmer has accused the Prime Minister of being "scared of her own shadow" after she sent Penny Mordaunt to answer an Urgent Question in her place

Responding to the Commons Leader, Starmer jibed at Mordaunt's own failed leadership bid, saying: "I guess under this Tory government, everybody gets to be prime minister for 15 minutes."

The Labour leader was granted an Urgent Question to ask Liz Truss about her decision to sack the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Friday, and had urged the Prime Minister to attend.

He accused the Conservatives of having "lost all credibility" following an "economic crisis made in Downing Street".

"Once you’ve crashed a car at 100mph, you’ve damaged it for good and you’re going to be paying much more on your insurance for years to come," he continued.

"And it’s working people who will pay – left wondering if they can afford to stay in their homes, if their hopes of owning a home haven’t already been crushed."

Starmer also referenced past claims by Truss supporters that "the lady's not for turning" as he criticised her for sending Mordaunt in her place after rowing back on a number of her flagship policies. 

He said: "Now it’s time for leaders to lead. But where is the Prime Minister? Hiding away, dodging questions, scared of her own shadow, the lady’s not for turning up."

Responding to Starmer, Commons Leader Mordaunt said: "I am quietly confident that the Leader of the Opposition will not have his 15 minutes of fame.

"With regard to questions raised on economic policy I will defer to the Chancellor, honourable members will want time to question him fully and hear the detail. I do not wish to eat into that time."

Earlier on Monday, the new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that "almost all tax measures" in Truss's economic agenda would be overturned. 

In a statement on Sunday, Starmer said: “The Prime Minister says she is in charge but the evidence this weekend suggests she is in office but not in power.

“Friday’s press conference completely failed to answer any of the questions the public has.”

It was confirmed earlier on Monday afternoon that Penny Mordaunt, the Commons leader, would be responding to Starmer in place of Truss.

Labour said that this showed Truss was “frit” of responding on the matter. Prior to the confirmation that Truss would not attend, a Labour spokesperson said: “If she had a shred of authority left she would turn up.”

Asked by Labour MP Stella Creasy whether Truss was hiding "under a desk", Mordaunt replied: "The Prime Minister is not under a desk. She is not here for very good reason."

Questions are being raised over Liz Truss's future in No 10 after her new Chancellor scraped "almost all tax measures" in her "mini-Budget" in a statement this morning.

Hunt addressed Conservative MPs this afternoon in a bid to calm nerves on the back benches, where he reportedly told attendees he wanted to provide "certainty and stability" to markets. 

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