Liz Truss holds first cabinet meeting as Thérèse Coffey denies claim PM put loyalty before competence – UK politics live | Politics

Deputy PM Thérèse Coffey denies claims Truss put loyalty ahead of competence when appointing new cabinet

Good morning. Liz Truss is chairing a meeting of her new cabinet this morning at the start of what will be an intense 48-hours for her government. Today she has to finish her government reshuffle, face Keir Starmer for the first time at PMQs and – most important of all – finalize her plan to tackle the energy bills crisis. And tomorrow that plan is expected to be unveiled to MPs in a statement to the Commons. If it crashes – if the public, and the media / expert voices who influence what they think, judge that it wo n’t work – then it is hard to see how her premiership will recover. But if it is ambitious and clear and comprehensive enough to persuade people it will work (like furlough, a textbook example of a successful “big bazooka” government intervention), then Truss and the Tories could be on the road to recovery.

Here is a full list of the new cabinet. And here is our overnight story about it.

Thérèse Coffey, the new health secretary and deputy prime minister, has been giving this morning and she has rejected claims that, in picking her top interviews team, Truss focused too much on rewarding her friends. Asked on the Today program about claims that this was a “cabinet of chums”, where loyalty, not competence, was being rewarded, Coffey said:

I think a lot of the people taking up roles will show that they’ve been considered, that they’ve been competent and compassionate, in how they’ve approached politics.

I know that Liz is very keen … to make sure that we have really focused delivery.

And on Sky News Coffee said:

This is, I think, a government of all the talents that we have in this party. Liz has appointed a cabinet of a mixture, whether it’s… her dela proactive supporters [and] people who did not support her as well.

I will post more from the Coffey interviews soon.

Here is the agenda for the day.

8.30am: Liz Truss chairs her first cabinet meeting.

10am: Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, gives evidence to the Commons Treasury committee.

11.30: Chris Heaton-Harris, the new Northern Ireland secretary, takes questions in the Commons.

12pm: Truss faces Keir Starmer at her first PMQs.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

Liz Truss at work in the cabinet room yesterday.
Liz Truss at work in the cabinet room yesterday. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street

Key events

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1m more people face poverty this winter, even with energy bills frozen, says Tory thinktank

Patrick Butler

Patrick Butler

Over a million more people will slide into poverty this winter – even if the government freezes energy prices at current levels, a conservative think tank has estimated.

The Legatum Instituteheaded by Tory peer and former government advisor Lady Stroud, calculated a price freeze would still push 1.3m people below the poverty line – though it would also shield 1.45m people from a “once-in-a-generation” rise in poverty.

The analysis suggests that even if action is taken to blunt the impact on consumers of soaring energy prices, many will still struggle with rising costs in other areas such as food, clothing and transport, partly as a result of below-inflation benefit increases.

Stroud said:

It is good to see that Liz Truss is taking this seriously and looking at energy price freezes. This will shield nearly a million and a half from poverty this winter. But if Liz Truss wants to stabilize poverty at pre-pandemic levels, she will need to go further and introduce a 10% uprating of universal credit as existing inflation will still hit the poorest hardest.

The institute used methodology developed by the respected Social Metrics Commission. Earlier this year Stroud set up an independent cross-party poverty strategy commission and criticized the government for lacking the will and ambition to tackle rising hardship and destitution.

Spending on health and social care will stay ‘exactly the same’ despite health and social care levy being scrapped, says Coffey

And here are some more line from Therese Coffey‘s morning interview round.

  • Coffey, the new health secretary and deputy prime minister, confirmed Liz Truss would set out a plan to deal with the energy bills crisis later this week.

  • Coffey claimed that spending on health and social care would remain “exactly the same” despite Truss’s pledge to scrap the health and social care levy (the national insurance increase), that was introduced to raise money for the NHS, and then social care. She said:

Instead of having in effect a ring-fenced levy, we will be funding that out of general taxation, so the investment going into health and social care will stay exactly the same.

  • She said the government would not charge people to see the GP. In 2009, before she became an MP, Truss was deputy director of a thinktank that proposed charging to see a GP in a report she co-authored.

  • Coffey said she accepted the NHS needed to improve quickly. A Catholic, Coffey voted against same-sex marriage in 2013 and extending abortion rights in Northern Ireland. Asked about her stance on abortion on Sky News, she said:

I’m conscious I have voted against abortion laws. What I will say is I’m the complete democrat and that is done, so it’s not that I’m seeking to undo any aspects of abortion laws.

Thérèse Coffey sitting alongside Liz Truss at cabinet this morning.
Thérèse Coffey sitting alongside Liz Truss at cabinet this morning. Photograph: Frank Augstein/AFP/Getty Images

Deputy PM Thérèse Coffey denies claims Truss put loyalty ahead of competence when appointing new cabinet

Good morning. Liz Truss is chairing a meeting of her new cabinet this morning at the start of what will be an intense 48-hours for her government. Today she has to finish her government reshuffle, face Keir Starmer for the first time at PMQs and – most important of all – finalize her plan to tackle the energy bills crisis. And tomorrow that plan is expected to be unveiled to MPs in a statement to the Commons. If it crashes – if the public, and the media / expert voices who influence what they think, judge that it wo n’t work – then it is hard to see how her premiership will recover. But if it is ambitious and clear and comprehensive enough to persuade people it will work (like furlough, a textbook example of a successful “big bazooka” government intervention), then Truss and the Tories could be on the road to recovery.

Here is a full list of the new cabinet. And here is our overnight story about it.

Thérèse Coffey, the new health secretary and deputy prime minister, has been giving this morning and she has rejected claims that, in picking her top interviews team, Truss focused too much on rewarding her friends. Asked on the Today program about claims that this was a “cabinet of chums”, where loyalty, not competence, was being rewarded, Coffey said:

I think a lot of the people taking up roles will show that they’ve been considered, that they’ve been competent and compassionate, in how they’ve approached politics.

I know that Liz is very keen … to make sure that we have really focused delivery.

And on Sky News Coffee said:

This is, I think, a government of all the talents that we have in this party. Liz has appointed a cabinet of a mixture, whether it’s… her dela proactive supporters [and] people who did not support her as well.

I will post more from the Coffey interviews soon.

Here is the agenda for the day.

8.30am: Liz Truss chairs her first cabinet meeting.

10am: Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, gives evidence to the Commons Treasury committee.

11.30: Chris Heaton-Harris, the new Northern Ireland secretary, takes questions in the Commons.

12pm: Truss faces Keir Starmer at her first PMQs.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

Liz Truss at work in the cabinet room yesterday.
Liz Truss at work in the cabinet room yesterday. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street

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