Liz Truss could be moving on out after an empty conference speech that gave no hope to struggling families as a poll found she is even less popular than Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister’s awkward address to the Party faithful did nothing to bolster her credibility as her leadership of an “amateur and amoral” Government was blasted – by a Tory-linked think tank.
It was so bad Betfair cut odds on her leaving No10 this year from 8/1 to 13/2. She is 6/5 to go next year.
Just before she spoke, a YouGov poll revealed 73% of voters see the PM “in an unfavourable light”, with a net favourability score of -59. This is even worse than the -53 for her shamed predecessor at his lowest ebb in July.
Instead of throwing a lifeline to hard-up households facing a devastating cost-of-living crisis this winter, the PM used her platform for a bizarre attack on an “anti-growth coalition”.
Her swipe at the supposed conspiracy of unions, environmentalists, opposition parties and “vested interests dressed up as think tanks” baffled even her own ministers.
Asked to explain this last comment, Levelling-Up Minister Paul Scully admitted: “Yeah, I wasn’t sure.”
With the poorest families waiting to hear if welfare payments will rise in line with soaring prices, Ms Truss embarked instead on an attack on the low growth of recent decades.
Ignoring the fact she has been a minister for most of the 12 years of Tory rule, she moaned: “We have seen economic growth choked off.” Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said later: “ Liz Truss has been at the heart of building a Conservative economy that has led to the flat wages and low growth she highlighted today.”
The PM was interrupted by Greenpeace activists with a banner asking: “Who voted for this?”. Ms Truss was caught saying: “Let’s get them removed.” Delegates chanted, “Out! Out! Out!” as guards led the environmentalists away. The speech ended with a promise to “build a new Britain for a new era” but many did not realise it was over as she stayed grinning at the lectern and her exit music failed to kick in.
Ryan Shorthouse of the Conservative-linked Bright Blue think tank said afterwards: “A lot of livelihoods depend on the policies this PM pursues. The amateurism and amorality of her Government in its initial weeks must stop.”
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: “Liz Truss has only managed to add to the sense of failure with her speech.”
Ministers who pushed for bigger benefits hikes during conference face a dressing down as they return to the Commons next week, No10 signalled.