Former Tory Party chairman Sir Jake Berry has defended Liz Truss’ radical tax cut agenda after the former prime minister said she never had a “realistic chance” to put her plan into action.
In her first detailed comments since being dramatically ousted from Number 10, Ms Truss blamed a powerful left-leaning “economic establishment” for failing to achieve her vision in office.
While he acknowledged that it was not “without fault” for the way his infamous mini-budget catastrophically unraveled, he said he still believes his approach to driving growth is the right one.
His speech in Westminster is likely to be seen as a rallying cry for Conservative MPs who have been lobbying Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to cut taxes to boost growth.
Sir Jake, who was put in charge of the Conservative Party machine by Ms Truss, said she had offered the right “diagnosis of the disease facing the country” even though it was “not delivered in the right way”.
He told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “I think your point that we need to cut taxes, we need to create a growing economy, that’s what people want.”
With Ms Truss pledging more interventions and around 50 MPs backing the Conservative Growth Group supporting her economic view, there will be concerns in the No. 10 over the possibility of more bank riots.
But business secretary Grant Shapps insisted that Sunak and Hunt were right to resist demands for tax cuts in next month’s budget, saying inflation must be controlled first.
“I completely agree with Liz’s instinct to have a lower tax economy,” he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday.
“We also know that if you do that before you’ve dealt with inflation and debt, you’re going to end up in trouble. You can’t get growth out of nothing.”
Others within the party were more critical. Theresa May’s former chief of staff, Lord Barwell, tweeted that Ms Truss was ousted because she “in a matter of weeks lost the trust of the financial markets, the electorate and her own MPs.”
For the Labor Party, shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds ridiculed the idea that the former prime minister had been ousted by a left-wing economic establishment, saying she had to go because its policies were “inconsistent and unsustainable”.
In a 4,000-word article for The Sunday Telegraph, Ms Truss said she had not appreciated the strength of the resistance her plans would face and complained that her government had become a “scapegoat” for economic woes of long standing
“I do not claim to be innocent of what happened, but fundamentally I was not given a realistic opportunity to enact my policies by a very powerful economic establishment, coupled with a lack of political support,” he wrote.
“I assumed going into Downing Street that my mandate would be respected and accepted. How wrong I was. While I anticipated resistance to my program from the system, I underestimated its scope.
“Similarly, I underestimated the resistance within the Conservative parliamentary party to move to a lower taxed and less regulated economy.”
Ms Truss’s premiership lasted just 49 days as she was forced to resign after her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s £45bn package of unfunded tax cuts sent markets into a panic and sank the pound.
He said that while his experience last fall was “painful for me personally,” he believes that, in the medium term, his policies would have increased growth and therefore reduced debt.
However, it said it had not been warned of the risks to bond markets from liability-driven investments (LDIs), bought by pension funds, which forced the Bank of England to intervene to prevent them from collapsing as prices soared. the cost of government borrowing. .
“Only now can I appreciate the delicate tinderbox we were dealing with with regard to ILO,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the government became a useful scapegoat for problems that had been brewing for several months.”
He said that with the benefit of hindsight, he would have acted differently, but had to fight the “gut-like views of the Treasury” and “the broader orthodox economic ecosystem.”
She said she was “deeply disturbed” at having to fire Kwarteng, but believed she had been left with no choice.
“At this point it was clear that the political agenda could not survive and my priority had to be to avoid a serious collapse in the UK,” he said.
“I still believe that trying to follow the original political recipe that I fought with in the leadership election was the right thing to do, but the forces against it were too great.”