UK's Liz Truss meets with committee that can oust her amid political chaos

'Odds are against' UK's Liz Truss surviving the day as PM, a Conservative lawmaker from the 1922 Committee said on Thursday.

 British Prime Minister Liz Truss leaves Number 10 Downing Street for the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, October 19, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE)
British Prime Minister Liz Truss leaves Number 10 Downing Street for the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, October 19, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE)

One member of the executive of the 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers, which sets the rules for selecting and changing the party's leader, said the "odds are against" Truss surviving the day as prime minister, an ITV journalist reported on Thursday.

The committee is expected to meet later to discuss the leadership crisis, ITV's UK Editor Paul Brand said on Twitter. Graham Brady, who chairs the committee, is currently meeting with British Prime Minister Liz Truss, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

Truss struggled to retain a grip on power on Thursday, a day after a second top minister quit and rowing and jostling broke out among her lawmakers in parliament in a dramatic breakdown of unity and discipline.

Lawmakers openly argued in parliament on Wednesday amid confusion over whether a vote on fracking was a confidence vote in her administration.

Labour MPs reported seeing Conservative whips "manhandling a crying MP into the lobby for fracking."

"Nasty to see the Tories at work...if this is how they treat their MPs, spare a thought for the country," wrote MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle of Coop Kemptown and Peacehaven.

Cat Smith, Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, also claimed she witnessed "things I have never seen before" during the vote, "like the deputy prime minister physically pick up an upset Tory MP & put him in the division lobby."

"Bullying like nothing I’ve seen in my seven years as an MP," Smith added.

Six weeks into the job, Truss has been buffeted by a bond market rout, suffered the lowest approval ratings of a British leader in decades, abandoned almost all of her policy programme and has now lost her interior minister who quit on Wednesday, less than a week after she fired her finance minister.

There were reports — later contradicted — that the government's chief whip, who is in charge of parliamentary enforcer, had resigned.

Downing Street stresses 'full confidence' in Conservative whip

In a sign of the chaos, Downing Street issued a statement at 1:33 a.m. local time to say the prime minister had "full confidence" in the chief whip and her deputy.

"The whips will now be speaking to Conservative MPs who failed to support the government," a government spokesperson said. "Those without a reasonable excuse for failing to vote with the government can expect proportionate disciplinary action."

Truss has been fighting for her political survival since September 23 when her finance minister at the time, Kwasi Kwarteng, announced a "mini-budget" of vast, unfunded tax cuts that sent shockwaves through financial markets.

British borrowing costs have soared, threatening to hit the housing market and aggravate a cost-of-living crisis.

The government’s subsequent reversal of those measures has added to the challenge for Truss to stay in Downing Street — an impression deepened by the chaotic scenes in parliament on Wednesday.

 British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer reacts as Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt speaks at the House of Commons, in London, Britain, October 17, 2022 (credit: UK PARLIAMENT/JESSICA TAYLOR/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer reacts as Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt speaks at the House of Commons, in London, Britain, October 17, 2022 (credit: UK PARLIAMENT/JESSICA TAYLOR/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Liz Truss quickly losing support in British parliament

A handful of lawmakers have openly called for Truss to quit, and others have discussed who should replace her.

Transport minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, asked by Times Radio if Truss would lead the Conservative Party into the next election which is expected in 2024, said: "At the moment that is still the case."

British Conservative lawmaker Sheryll Murray said on Thursday she had submitted a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Liz Truss.

"I had high hopes for Liz Truss but after what happened last night her position has become untenable and I have submitted a letter to Sir Graham Brady," Murray said on Twitter.