UK PM Liz Truss locked in Downing Street talks as political crisis escalates

Gate 10 is seen from outside the umbrellas in Downing Street, London, England, October 20, 2022.

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LONDON — British Prime Minister Liz Truss is reportedly in discussions with key members of the Conservative Party charged with leading the challenge amid speculation her term is coming to an end.

Downing Street will make a statement at 1:30pm London time.

Truss is meeting with Graham Brady, the conservative politician in charge of leading the election and reshuffle. Brady is chairman of the 1922 Committee – a group of Conservative MPs without ministerial positions who can submit letters of no confidence in the prime minister.

As the meeting progressed, Deputy Prime Minister Teresa Coffey and Conservative Party Chairman Jack Berry both entered Downing Street.

A key government meeting in Truss on Thursday was also reportedly canceled.

The prime minister’s official spokesman was quoted by news agency PA as saying that Truss “recognizes that the public wants to see the government focus less on politics and more on their priorities.” “That’s what the prime minister also wants.” A spokesman also said she had faced a “difficult day” but wanted to stay on.

A vote of no-confidence is usually held when 15% of groups submit their letters, but current party rules state that no leadership elections or votes of no-confidence can be held for a year after a leader takes office. Truss took over in September. 6.

Media reports earlier this week said Brady had received more than 100 letters. That leaves uncertainty over whether and how Truss will be removed.

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Meanwhile, the number of Conservative MPs who have publicly called for Truss to resign has reached 16. In the broadcast round on Thursday morning, MPs Henry Smith and Miriam Cates joined the call after a vote in the House of Commons was thrown into chaos on Wednesday night.

“We need new leadership … we need solid leadership, which I’m sorry to say has been noticeably lacking in Downing Street over the past few weeks,” Smith told Time Radio.

“It doesn’t seem to hold up… yes, I do think it’s time for the prime minister to leave,” Cates said of Truss’s position.

She cited the prospect that the Conservative Party would be “destroyed” if a general election were called now.

A YouGov poll on Tuesday showed Truss approval rating among the public at just 10 percent, the lowest level since the poll began 22 years ago. 18% think the Conservatives support it, with the opposition Labour party at 45%.

Labour leader Keir Starmer repeated his call for a general election in a speech on Thursday morning, saying “all the failures of the past 12 years have now boiled over.”

The last public vote was held in December 2019, when Boris Johnson led the Conservatives to a landslide victory over then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Johnson resigned in July amid his own political turmoil.

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