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Truss in move to restore discipline after fractious Tory conference

Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers her keynote speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham (Jacob King/PA)
Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers her keynote speech at the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham (Jacob King/PA)

Liz Truss will attempt to impose iron discipline in the Tory ranks as MPs return to Westminster following a fractious Conservative Party conference.

The gathering in Birmingham saw Cabinet collective responsibility pushed to breaking point and the threat of a rebellion over tax measures by senior backbenchers.

Downing Street suggested Tory whips will seek to restore order.

The Prime Minister’s press secretary said: “There’s always going to be differences of opinion between people, people are entitled to their personal opinions. But they should be raised in a more constructive manner.

“Collective responsibility is the same as it always has been.”

Conservative Party Conference 2022
Chief Whip Wendy Morton (Aaron Chown/PA)

Asked if that will be rammed home in Westminster next week, he said: “You will have to speak to the whips about that, but that should answer your question.”

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt called for benefits to be increased in line with soaring inflation at the conference, something which the Government has not yet decided on, with speculation welfare spending could be linked to earnings instead to save money.

Asked if Ms Mordaunt could lose the whip, he said: “That’s one for the whips but I don’t imagine that to be the case.”

He acknowledged “there have been some difficulties” during the conference.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman also stepped out of line, calling for the UK to leave the European Convention on Human Rights – something which is not Government policy.

But Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg defended Ms Braverman, telling the PA news agency: “I think at a party conference, it’s really important that ministers discuss things.”

He added that he had taken part in discussions about ideas that were not Government policy and “may never become Government policy”.

Boris Johnson’s administration removed the whip from 21 MPs in a show of force against critics of Brexit.

Mr Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings suggested there was no hope of Ms Truss being able to exert similar authority and attempting to do so would increase the chances of her being forced out of No 10.

“Anybody who thinks the Vote Leave approach to a once-a-century constitutional crisis amid Sep 2019 mayhem is a) the right approach now and b) actually executable by the Truss team is … wrong,” he said on Twitter.

“This will accelerate her removal.”