James Heappey grilled on why Tories are 'still running the country'
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Sky News presenter Kay Burley questioned why Liz Truss’s Government remained in power despite the significant change of plans her Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was forced to introduce on Monday. Mr Hunt announced almost all measures included in his predecessor’s mini-budget would be scrapped after weeks of political and economic turmoil. Ms Burley left James Heappey on the spot as she challenged him on why the UK should keep trusting the Government after the U-turn.
The Sky News anchor said: “The whole Cabinet, all supported this mini-budget before it was put to the House of Commons, is that what you just said?”
Mr Heappey replied with a simple yes to Ms Burley’s assessment of the situation.
“So none of you knew what you were doing, so why on Earth are you still running the country?”
A flustered Armed Defence Minister said: “Kay, I’m not sure I think that is a fair comment.
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“The budget was presented to Cabinet and each and every one of the measures within it were in and of themselves coherent with a plan to drive growth.
“But if you’re asking why I think I as a Defence Minister deserve to continue to sit around the Cabinet table, I would reflect that here in the Ministry of Defence are doing a good job at keeping our nation safe at a time of incredible global insecurity.
“My boss Ben Wallace is in Washington this morning having the sort of conversations that… beyond belief the fact we’re at a time these conversations are necessary.
|I think in this department we’ve done a good job and we’ve got a good record on which to stand. And I could say the same for every colleague in the Government and their department, too.”
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Ms Burley noted: “To keep our country safe, we need to keep our economy safe.
“And we saw immediately that the markets thought you’d all lost your minds.”
Mr Heappey said: “I think we’re in violent agreement.
“I’ve been very honest with you throughout this interview as the Prime Minister was in her interview last night that the reactions of the market caused a change in plan.
“That was a plan that was changed quickly and the Prime Minister owned and apologised for it. But the fact is the markets have since been reassured and that is also a good thing and a reflection of her leadership.”
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Ms Truss apologised to the nation for her financial measures causing market unrest for over two weeks but insisted she is now focussed on “delivering for the public.”
The Prime Minister said: “I wanted to act to help people with their energy bills, to deal with the issue of high taxes, but we went too far and too fast. I’ve acknowledged that. I put in place a new chancellor with a new strategy to restore economic stability.
“And now what I’m focused on is delivering for the public, whether that’s delivering on our energy price guarantee – and we’ve made sure people are only paying, a typical household, £2,500 – but also delivering on the promise of growth, making sure we’re delivering on the roads, the broadband, the mobile phone signal, all of those things which are going to help our economy succeed.”
Jeremy Hunt told MPs on Monday he was scaling back the energy support package and ditching most of the tax cuts announced by his predecessor.
Mr Hunt also suggested the triple lock on state pension increases could be scrapped, as he refused to make any commitments on “individual policy areas”.
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