Kwarteng denies putting Truss’s chances of survival as PM at ’40-60%’

Liz Truss: BBC viewers criticise coverage of conference speech

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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, a long-term Truss ally, is reported to have put her chances of survival at “only 40-60” on Monday when speaking with another prominent Tory MP. However, he has since denied making the remarks.

Ministers are expected to ambush Ms Truss at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and demand she rules out raising benefits in line with wages rather than inflation. 

If benefits were to rise in line with the latest UK earnings figures, they would increase by 5.5 percent but if they were to rise with inflation, the increase would be about 10 percent. 

Ms Truss’s favour towards raising benefits in line with wages has caused bitter anonymous briefings behind the scenes at Number 10. 

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng reportedly told a fellow Tory MP he believes the Prime Minister’s chance of survival is “40-60 percent” – a comment he denies. 

It comes as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who backed Rishi Sunak as leader, has volunteered to step in as caretaker Prime Minister, which is a temporary position held until a regular leader is elected. 

Another report about Ms Truss, from Michael Gove, included some particularly harsh words about her leadership. 

Mr Gove, who helped lead calls to scrap the 45p tax cut for top earners, said it has not been “an optimal start” for the new PM who has only been in office since September 6. 

Meanwhile, polling by Opinium for the Observer put Ms Truss’s personal approval rating at minus 47 and Mr Kwarteng’s at minus 51.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly said she has “not yet made a decision” on whether to stick to the inflation-linked benefit rise, due to come into force in April.

Until this weekend, it has been claimed that she and the Chancellor had favoured increasing benefits in line with average earnings.

An ally to the PM said: “I think the bias of the Chancellor and the Prime Minister would still be to increase them in line with earnings rather than inflation. The problem is that politics and economics have moved on since then.”

But not all Tory MPs have condemned Ms Truss’ leadership as four prominent cabinet ministers have urged their colleagues to rally behind the leader or risk election defeat. 

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Nadhim Zahawi, Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt and Environment Secretary Ranil Jayawardena have all written articles calling on the party to unite or risk being in opposition.  

It comes as Labour storm ahead in the latest polls, revealed on Saturday. 

A YouGov survey of 1,737 British adults, carried out on Thursday and Friday for The Times newspaper, showed support for Labour at 52 percent, down two points from a poll by the same organisation in late September, while the Conservatives were up just one point at 22 percent. 

New data also shows that the Tories would be completely wiped off the electoral map in Yorkshire and Labour would win every seat in the UK’s biggest county, should an election be called now. 

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