Politics latest: Liz Truss wins Commons fracking vote - amid rumours of chief whip's resignation and claims of lobby 'bullying' (2023)

Key points
  • Government defeats Labour motion that would have forced a vote on a bill to ban fracking
  • Claims Tory MP was 'manhandled' and 'bullied' in voting lobby
  • Home secretary leaves government after breaking security rules
  • Braverman expresses 'concerns' with PM's leadership in resignation letter
  • Shapps is the new home secretary
  • Conservative MP says mini-budget left him 'ashamed' as he reveals no-confidence letter in PM
  • Ali Fortescue: Confused? So are we...
  • Beth Rigby: This is a hand-to-mouth government being bounced into decisions
  • Jon Craig:Truss lives to fight another day, but for how much longer is unclear
  • Live reporting by Sharon Marris


What are tomorrow's papers saying?

The front page of tomorrow's papers are filled with the "chaos" in government, which today saw the home secretary resign and a vote on fracking marred with allegations of "bullying" and "manhandling" of MPs.

The Daily Mail claims Suella Braverman had a "90-minute shouting match" with the PM. It also claims chief whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker quit after the chaos seen in the House of Commons - before being "cajoled" to stay on.

The latter reportedly declared: "I am f***ing furious and I don't give a f*** any more."

The Daily Express calls the events of today "beyond belief".

The Times says Liz Truss is "facing more turmoil" after sacking Suella Braverman - contradicting earlier reports the home secretary resigned.

The Daily Star - continuing in its mission to compare the PM to a lettuce - declares that "Lettuce Liz is cut to shreds".

Meanwhile,The Sun simply declared that Liz Truss is "broken" amid a picture of the forlorn-looking PM.

Similarly, the Daily Mirror brands the events of today "utter chaos".


Liz Truss 'did vote' in fracking motion

Chief political correspondent Jon Craig says No 10 has told him that Liz Truss did vote after all.

The prime minister was among a number of Tory MPs listed as having abstained.

However, at least one (James Duddridge) has since said his card did not scan, so it appears there may have been some technical problems.

(Video) Liz Truss resigning as U.K. prime minister amid political turmoil

It is not clear how Ms Truss was recorded as abstaining.


Theresa May's team says she was 'paired' for the vote earlier

A spokesperson for Theresa May has said that the former PM was "paired" for the vote earlier this evening.

She was listed as among those who abstained.

"Pairing" is when one MP makes an agreement with another MP who is voting the opposite way. They both agree not to vote.

This enablesan MP to be absent without affecting the result of thevote, as theyeffectively cancel each other out.


Deputy chief whip 'emphatic' he has not resigned

Sky's political correspondent Tamara Cohen says she has just spoken to Tory MP Steve Baker.

He says: "I saw the deputy chief whip as he was leaving the Commons and he said neither he nor the chief whip had resigned, he was most emphatic."

It comes after reports that the two MPs (Wendy Morton and Craig Whittaker) had resigned amid the chaos of the voting lobby earlier this evening.


Tory MP: 'The fact is our party's in a total mess'

Tory MP Danny Kruger tells Sky News that he didn't see any of the reported bullying and intimidation in the voting lobby earlier tonight.

He says: "I didn't see any of that.

"I'm very dismayed at those reports. I don't really believe them...

"Obviously the atmosphere is febrile, as journalists say.

"Things are very bad for the government and no doubt harsh words were exchanged but I'm afraid that's politics.

"I don't believe there was serious intimidation and bullying, certainly not as has been described.

"They're exaggerating, I'm sure," he said of those who reported the bullying. "They're twisting the knife in what is an extremely painful moment for the party.

"The fact is our party's in a total mess. The government is in a very bad way."

(Video) Live: Liz Truss faces tough questions at PMQs amid 40-year-high inflation rise


Chief whip 'did a great job', Therese Coffey says

Deputy Prime Minister and Truss ally Therese Coffey has said the Chief Whip Wendy Morton did a "great job".

Speaking to reporters outside the Carlton Club in central London, where Cabinet members were meeting on Wednesday evening, she said: "It was a great victory today for the chief whip, great credit to her.

"The chief whip did a great job."

Ms Morton is reported to have resigned in the chaos of the evening's vote.


Confused? So are we...

(Video) Cabinet minister 'shocked' by chaotic lobby scenes

It is hard to make sense of the last hour or so.

Speculation about the chief whip's position began before we found out the government won the motion on fracking.

We still don't know if Wendy Morton is in post, sacked or has resigned.

When Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg was asked to clarify by our deputy political editor, he said simply it was "not entirely clear."

Then came the accusations of Tory MPs being bullied and “physically manhandled” (according to Labour’s Chris Bryant) in the division lobby.

Then there were questions over whether the vote numbers are even accurate. The official division list was released, showing Tory 40 MPs including Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, sports minister Stuart Andrew and even the prime minister herself not voting with the government.

Confused? So are we.

This morning a letter was sent to MPs confirming the vote would be treated as a confidence matter, but after a number of Tories indicated they wouldn’t take part in the vote the climate minister appeared to row back. Graham Stuart told the commons: "this is quite clearly not a confidence vote."

But when he was pressed further, Mr Stuart refused to say whether those who failed to support the government would still lose the party whip - as had been threatened earlier in the day.

Asked to clarify on this matter as well, Mr Rees-Mogg conceded there had been an "element of confusion" about whether the vote was a confidence matter.

Will anyone lose the whip? Can the government claim they have won a confidence motion after all that?

The only thing that is clear is that this is chaos.


'I hope it was worth it': Tory MP hits out at 'talentless' colleagues who 'put Liz Truss in No 10'

A Conservative backbencher has hit out at "talentless people" and said he fears there is no way back for the parliamentary party after events of recent weeks.

Charles Walker, the MP for Broxbourne, was asked by the BBC if there was any way back from tonight's vote, which has been marred with complaints of bullying and "manhandling" of MPs.

"I don't think so," he replied.

"But I've been of that view since two weeks ago."

The Tory, who was visibly furious said he was "livid", and hit out at those in his party who voted for the new prime minister: "All those people who put Liz Truss in No 10, I hope it was worth it.

"I hope it was worth it for the ministerial red box, I hope it was worth it to sit around the cabinet table.

"Because the damage they have done to our party was extraordinary."

(Video) Liz Truss faces political test, grilled by UK lawmakers | UK PM Truss Live News | UK Parliament

He added: "I have had enough of talentless people putting their tick in the right box, not because it's in the national interest but because it's in their own personal interest to achieve ministerial position.

"I know I speak for hundreds of backbenchers who are worrying for their constituents all the time but are now worrying for their own personal circumstances because there is nothing as ex as an ex-MP.

"Many of my colleagues are now wondering, as their constituents are now worrying, how they are going to pay their mortgages if this all comes to an end soon."


Tory MP listed as abstention: 'My card didn't scan'

Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East, James Duddridge, was among those listed as an abstention earlier this evening.

He now says his card did not scan as he walked through the lobby.


Tory MP says he wasn't bullied in the voting lobbies

Earlier tonight, Labour MP Chris Bryant claimed that he saw Alexander Stafford, the Conservative MP for Rother Valley being "manhandled" and "bullied" ahead of the vote on Labour's fracking motion.

Mr Stafford has now responded to these allegations on social media.

"Lots of rumours flying around tonight," he said.

"This vote was never about fracking but about Labour trying to destabilise the country, and take control of Parliament.

"I had a frank and robust conversation outside the voting lobbies confirming my opposition to fracking with members of the government, nothing more, reconfirming my position which I spoke about in the Chamber this evening.

"No one pushes me around. And the only 'bullying' I've felt is when the Rother Valley Labour Party use photos of my wife and babies in sponsored attack ads."


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