Liz Truss: Only a general election and Labour can save UK from this chaos – Ian Murray

By the time you read this, Tory backbenchers may have launched self-protection measures and started the process to remove the latest incumbent of Number Ten.
Liz Truss came under pressure at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, yesterday (Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire)Liz Truss came under pressure at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, yesterday (Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire)
Liz Truss came under pressure at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, yesterday (Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire)

And I wouldn’t get much return from the bookies on the odds that the government will have performed another policy U-turn. At the time of writing, Liz Truss has given a promise to MPs that she will raise pensions in line with inflation and maintain the ‘triple lock’. But at the start of the week, Jeremy Hunt said no. Who knows what the situation will be by tomorrow?

Pensioners certainly can’t sleep easy. Spare a thought for the biographers putting the final touches to a new book on the PM out before Christmas. We don’t know if “out before Christmas’ is the title or the release date. Nobody knows what the last chapter will say, but the words “the end” will never be more appropriate in a political biography.

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But, while it’s easy to despair at the state of our politics and the farcical scenes in the Commons this week, what matters most is how this chaos is impacting on people’s lives. If the pension triple lock is still guaranteed (a huge if), the PM has certainly not made the same commitment to raise benefits in line with inflation.

Yesterday’s figures showing that inflation has risen to 10.1 per cent will therefore only bring more anxiety to families. Mortgage costs are soaring, food prices are rising, energy bills have reached eye-watering levels, and pension funds are under threat. There is now a Tory premium on everyone’s mortgages and living costs.

This Conservative government has no authority, no credibility and no plan. And Jeremy Hunt wants to try and balance the books with terrifying public sector cuts. Their incompetence paid for by all of us.

In fact, the only thing that could be worse for jobs, the NHS and public services would be the economic nonsense propagated by Nicola Sturgeon this week. The answer to utter economic chaos is never to create more chaos.

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To end this cost-of-living crisis, we don’t need queues of lorries at border points at Carlisle, nor do we need the latest Chancellor to walk through the revolving door of Number 11 ripping up economic plans, starting again, ripping them up again, and starting again. We need a long-term plan to deliver cheaper bills and higher living standards for working people, and growth and jobs in every part of the UK.

A clear example of what we need is Great British Energy, a publicly owned company that takes advantage of the opportunities in clean and green power and creates good, secure, high-paid jobs in all the nations of the UK.

And the other thing we need? A general election. The Tories used to run their election campaigns on the economy; now it is only Labour that has the credibility to do so. And I’m confident that voters in Scotland and elsewhere will use that election to ensure that Liz Truss’s forthcoming biography doesn’t need a second edition.

Ian Murray is Scottish Labour MP for Edinburgh South