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Liz Truss faces SNP jeer in her first PMQs

Liz Truss faces SNP jeer in her first PMQs

Liz Truss was asked if she will be "as useless and corrupt as her predecessor" Boris Johnson in her first PMQs as Prime Minister.

The SNP's Hannah Bardell challenged Truss over her qualifications for office and ability to handle the cost-of-living crisis.

She was forced to withdraw the comment by Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, telling him: "Sometimes the truth hurts but I'm happy to withdraw it."

Hoyle said: "I certainly don't want 'corrupt' being used against the new Prime Minister."

Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones said Truss "does not have the support of the British people", asking: "Will she finally do the right and decent thing and call a general election?"

Truss answered: "We are facing very serious issues as a country, partly as a result of the aftermath of Covid, partly as a result of Putin's war in Ukraine. What the British people want is they want a government that's going to sort it out. That is what I've determined to do as Prime Minister."

The session took place in a packed Commons the day after the new Conservative party leader officially took charge at 10 Downing Street.

Standing outside its polished door on Tuesday, she praised her predecessor Johnson as a "consequential" politician.

Today she was flanked by team very different from his after reshuffling almost everyone in the cabinet.

Kwasi Kwarteng is now Chancellor, Suella Braverman is Home Secretary, and James Cleverly has been appointed as Foreign Secretary, taking on the post last held by Truss herself. Alister Jack remains Scotland Secretary.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said the changes would "unify" the Tory party.

At PMQs, she was cheered as she took to the podium. Labour MP Paulette Hamilton asked the first question in what was also her first PMQs, raising leaked audio of Truss claiming that British workers need to "put in more graft". Truss said she would "make sure we have an economy with high wages and high skilled jobs".

She told Labour leader Keir Starmer "I hope we will be able to work together" and repeated her opposition to a windfall tax. "The Treasury estimates are that the energy producers will make £170m in excess profits over the next two years," Starmer said. "Is she really going to leave these excess profits on the table and make working people pay for decades to come?"

Truss pledged to give a statement on energy bills tomorrow and hit back at Labour for not building power stations while in office, saying: "The reality is that this country will not be able to tax its way to growth."

Starmer said: "The Prime Minister claims to be breaking orthodoxy, but the reality is she's reheating George Osborne's failed corporation tax, protecting oil and gas profits and forcing working people to pay the bill. She's the fourth Tory prime minister in six years. The face at the top may change, but the story remains the same. 

"There is nothing new about the Tory fantasy of trickle-down economics, nothing new about this Tory prime minister who nodded through every single decision that got us into this mess. She now says how terrible it is - can't she see there's nothing new about a Tory prime minister who, when asked who pays, says it's 'you, the working people of Britain'."

Truss countered: "Well, there's nothing new about a Labour leader who is calling for more on tax."

Accusing Starmer of failing to "understand aspiration", she went on: "He doesn't understand that people want to keep more of their own money, and that is what I will deliver as prime minister."

The SNP's Ian Blackford asked Truss to ensure oil and gas producers "pay their fair share from excess profits". 

Truss said: "I want to see us using more of our UK energy supply, including more oil and gas from the North Sea, and nuclear power in Scotland as well, and I hope I can count on the SNP's support for that."

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