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tv   Ros Atkins On The Week  BBC News  October 24, 2022 3:30am-4:00am BST

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this is bbc news. the headlines: the former british prime minister, borisjohnson, has abandoned his attempt to return to the job just months after he resigned, saying he won't stand in the race to replace liz truss. the front runner in the contest is the former chancellor, rishi sunak. china's leader, xijinping, has extended his rule for at least another five years and taken a firmer grip on power by promoting his allies. mr xi was again chosen as the general secretary of the communist party — the most important political post in the country. north and south korea have exchanged warning shots along their western sea border. south korea's military said its navy fired shots to repel a north korean ship that had crossed into the sea boundary between the north and south.
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north korea's military said it responded by firing ten artillery shots. now on bbc news, ros atkins on — resignation of liz truss. ros atkins gives his analysis on some of main news stories of the week. this programme was recorded before the news broke about boris johnson's announcement that he would not stand in the conservative party leadership contest. when a prime minister takes office there is no time limit, no fixed number of terms. their leadership stretches out in front of us. margaret thatcher stood down after 11 years. tony blair served ten. recently, though, we've had four prime ministers in six years — all of them conservatives.
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david cameron left downing street after the brexit vote. theresa may had three years before tory mps intervened. it was the same for borisjohnson. and in early september, it was the turn of liz truss. i am honoured to take on this responsibility. weeks later, at its annual conference, the tory party chair said liz truss was its greatest asset to win the next election. she is the woman who will get britain moving. that, though, is not going to happen any more. wow, one of the shortest lived premierships ever. i liz truss's time is over. when it had onlyjust begun. hello, welcome, this is unexpected. not of course being here for a new series looking
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at the biggest stories of the week, ijust hadn't necessarily factored in doing ourfirst episode on the day the prime minister resigns. but here we are, and across next 30 minutes this is the story of the fall of liz truss. because it has been quite a week. hello, hi guys. we are probably still a few minutes late. oh, ok. we will reverse almost all the tax measures. a complete reversal. gone, gone, gone. clearly trussonomics has gone. he has locked her in - the attic and taken over. no authority, no credibility. what is the point of her government? i will lead the conservatives . into the next general election. definitely? well, look... she chuckles. i don't think there is the opportunity to make any more mistakes. i have made mistakes. suella braverman has resigned. i'm getting fed up with this. i saw members being physically manhandled. it is a shambles i
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and the disgrace. an element of confusion. turmoil. what is going on? liz truss is currently- meeting sir graham brady. i am resigning as leader of the conservative party. think about everything that had already happened. the disastrous mini budget, the markets forcing u—turn after u—turn, the chancellor being sacked. liz truss was already under pressure, but monday morning was a chance to reset. dramatic news to start the week here at westminster. liz truss had a new chancellor, jeremy hunt. reporter: any more u-turns? yes was the answer, because after speculation of what markets would do next, his immediate task was to calm them.
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we will reverse almost all the tax measures announced in the growth plan three weeks ago. this can reasonably be called the biggest u—turn in british economic history, or as one tory mp put it... her central prospectus has been...uh, consigned to the history books or to the recycling bin, or whatever it may happen to be. the government's intervention did serve its immediate purpose. the markets calmed. the politics didn't. the opposition labour party tabled a question for the government. but it was minister penny mordaunt not liz truss who came to answer. the absence was noted. all we know right now is unless she tells us otherwise is the prime minister is cowering under a desk and asking for it all to go away. the prime minister. is not under a desk...
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jeering. wherever she had been, liz truss appeared. we watched and she watched asjeremy hunt dismantled her policies. we remain completely committed to our mission to go for growth but growth requires confidence and stability, which is why we are taking many difficult decisions, starting today. "difficult decisions" said the chancellor, and those decisions were made necessary in part by the mini budget, and the hole it had created in the public finances. and even afterjeremy hunt had rolled back on most of the tax cuts, the increased cost of borrowing meant the government still had to find £30—40 billion in savings. to do that, to close this so—called black hole, the government was now turning to spending cuts. to get a sense whether those
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cuts could have been avoided, i went to see faisal islam, the bbc�*s economics editor. faisal, you alright? you are our economics editor, but before this you were sky political editor, so you can look at the story from many sides. is the push for cuts a political decision to go for cuts or an economic one for the government? it's necessity, post a shock. and some of that shock has been of the government's own making. it has meant interest rates have gone up higher than they would have otherwise, it means and the economy will be slower. it isn't everything. the fact that we are facing an energy shock from russia's invasion of ukraine, the fact across the world interest rates are going up, that's also a factor that has worsened our borrowing and means there is a bridge to cross and will cause a squeeze. it is difficult to demarcate precisely whether it is 50—50, 20—80 or 80—20, but there's no
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doubt that many billions, half of the 50—40 billion hole we are trying to spending cuts, it has come either from the direct decisions of the mini budget to cut taxes elsewhere or from the economic impact, the unwanted economic impact of all this uncertainty. let's consider the point we reached, tax cuts were largely gone, the spending cuts were coming, and liz truss was pushing on. her party chairman was telling us she is bringing the party together. and on monday evening, she met a group of tory mps, the times reported a relatively calm reception. one mp told the bbc... "it's the first time i heard a corpse deliver its own eulogy." by this point number ten had also suggested a bbc interview took place and our political
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editor chris mason was asking the questions. prime minister, who is to blame for this mess? first of all, i do want to accept responsibility and say sorry for the mistakes that have been made. "sorry," said liz truss. but as chris noted afterwards... she knows and her staff know and the dogs in the street know she is seriously imperilled at the moment. reporter: liz truss insists i she will lead the conservatives into the next election despite calls from within her own party to quit as prime minister. tuesday morning would offer no respite, normally supportive papers showed no mercy. the sun called liz truss "the ghost pm." the mail declared in office but not in power and below it described a "haunted" prime minister. the polling was unremitting. yougov found truss's approval rating was 10%,
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the lowest rating it had ever recorded for a prime minister, and you might think those kind of numbers would be the end of the matter. "not so," said the defence ministerjames heappey. my sense is there are dozens of colleagues in the parliamentary party who are gravely concerned over the way the last few weeks have gone, but they, like me, recognise that this is not the time to be changing leader again. as we now know, it is time for the tories to be changing leader again, and even on tuesday some of its mps seem to be hoping for that. the mp robert largan shared a blog post titled, the dangers of dumpster fires. he went on... we need to tackle them, regardless. but to borrow from cnn's jake tapper, this is becoming a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck. and nobody seems
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sure what to do. meanwhile, the work of government went on, including new laws on protests. climate activists selected a number of targets this week. we can't get through! you pleased with yourself? a bridge, roads, a painting, harrods, milk... they say the world faces existential crisis but not everyone was convinced by the approach they saw. childish, petty, pathetic vandalism. "they've lost me forever," wrote andrew marr. the context here is that climate change is happening, global emissions are going up, so are temperatures, and this week, the death toll from flooding in nigeria passed 600. the un says climate change is responsible. the un has also said this recently... the collective commitments of g20 governments are coming far too little,
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and far too late. there is a debate about what to do about climate change and the merits of these protests. and facing all of this was the then home secretary, who laid out measures to restrict the protests. she also took aim. it's the coalition of chaos, it's the guardian—reading, tofu eating, woke—arati, dare i say the anti—growth coalition that we have to thank for the disruption we are seeing on our roads today. braverman's bill to allow stricter policing passed the house of commons. but the anti—tofu rhetoric would be her last contribution as home secretary. which leads us to wednesday. this is lbc news. reporter: liz truss preparing for another difficult day. - out of the blue, the home secretary was gone. in theory over sending an official document from personal e—mail.
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but her resignation letter went much further. advising liz truss that... and while suella braverman appealed for serious politics, conservative mp bob seely spoke to lbc. good afternoon. i just want to apologise, i am getting fed up with this soap drama as much as your listeners are. he was fed up. fellow tory mp grant shapps had a newjob. he's a former transport secretary, he voted remain in the brexit referendum, he is considered a moderate. recently he has been publicly criticising liz truss over her tax cuts. now he was in her cabinet. evening, everyone, um, obviously, it has been turbulent times. mr shapps spoke to the press for a minute and 42 seconds.
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he repeatedly mentioned the chancellorjeremy hunt and at no point did he mention liz truss. the whole week was becoming a test of her leadership and so as wednesday afternoon to evening, i wanted an assessment of how she had done in week so far. few people are better plugged in to the tory mps than the daily telegraph christopher hope. his newsletter and podcast and whatsapp are full of the thoughts of mps and i pulled together some clips from the week to show him. i have decided the basic rate i of income tax will remain 20%. look at the mask on liz truss's face. this isjeremy hunt dismantling everything liz truss has been saying. it is a political disembowelment i have never seen in 20 years covering british politics. my teenage children would say #awks. who is to blame for this mess? first of all, i want to accept responsibility and say sorry| for the mistakes .
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i have been made. the first time we heard the word sorry from liz truss. i would say about time. i have been saying in my journalism that the sorry word was required at the tory conference when all she said was, i get it. that wasn't enough for many people. then it was into wednesday and prime minister's questions and all eyes on the prime minister. 45p tax cut, gone. corporation tax cut, gone. 20p tax cut, gone. two—year energy freeze, gone. they enjoyed this. it is a good device, this. economic credibility, gone. normally, the rule of three says three things work but there are so many u—turns, he had to keep going with six or seven and by the end we forgot what he was saying. they are all gone, so why is she still here? then she stands up and tries to put it back on keir starmer by quoting a figure from the past. mr speaker, i am a fighter
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and not a quitter. - peter mandelson, 2001. i am a fighter and not a quitter! last week the prime minister stood there and promised absolutely no spending reductions. they all cheered. this week, the chancellor announced a new wave of cuts. she has learnt you can't short cut and go ahead of the experts, maybe going back to a bit of the brexit debate when the conservative party used to be the party that was conserving institutions, but they seem to reinvent themselves since brexit as one which doesn't trust experts. can the prime minister turn| to her chancellor right now, get permission to make another u—turn and commit to raising i the state pension ati the rate of inflation? i honestly don't know what the honourable gentleman is talking about. i would argue that is not a u—turn, that's clarifying an uncertain position. we have been clear in our manifesto that we will maintain the triple lock and i
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am committed to it, so is the chancellor. this comes across as a government which can't decide what it is doing. the express said on wednesday morning, don't do it, prime minister — which seemed like a red line, if they are saying that, it is serious and that triggered the response. do you think she minds what the express says? i think so. the telegraph? yes, this is the base. before you go, you have your phone, how many messages have you got from tory mps? how busy does your whatsapp get on a day like this? it is going off now. i can't read that one out on air. i had better go. nice to see you, thanks.
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those messages coming into christopher were bringing news of a further escalation. "i think this might be it," he told me as we packed up. that is because this is what had happened. there was a vote on the issue of fracking. but there was also confusion over whether there was a three line whip, which would mean severe consequences for any conservative mp who voted against the government. the labour mp chris bryant tweeted this photo from division lobby. i saw members being physically manhandled into another lobby. and being bullied. the business secretary, though, had a different version of events. there is confusion as to whether or not there i was a confidence vote, - and some people needed further conversation. the government won that vote but tory mp ben bradley was also posting this on tiktok. what on earth is going
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on in the house of commons? it wasn't an easy question to answer and then came the moment live on bbc news when many felt like the dam had broken. i am livid and i really shouldn't say this but i hope all those people that put liz truss in number 10, i hope it was worth it, for the ministerial red box, i hope it was worth it to sit round the cabinet table, because the damage they have done to our party is extraordinary. the conservative mp johnny mercer retweeted that video adding, "f me, he has nailed it, every word." tory mp maria caulfield wrote: the confusion deepened further after reports that chief whip and deputy whip were saying they had resigned — we were then told they hadn't. the bbc�*s news at ten wanted to clear one thing up. is this government functioning in any meaningful way?
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no. this day when the government was self—combusting was also a day of profound worry for many. figures show the cost of living is rising at the fastest rate for a0 years. what is life like, trying to get by? it is very hard. the rate of inflation is back in double figures. risen to 10.1%. pension £140 a week. how do you live on that? we are currently going through a remortgaging process, already the events of the last few weeks have had a massive impact. higherfood prices mainly to blame, up 14.5%. the number of children turning up to school not having breakfast, not having showered. it is the 14th month- of relentlessly rising food prices. energy bills may rise above £4,000 in april. i can't afford to put my heating on. i live on £250 a month.
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every single morning at a setl time, i write down what is left to see how much i have used. it is all above my price range. it doesn't feel like living. thursday brought the morning after the night before, and began with calls for calm. it is quite clear there is a lot of turmoil in the party but we all need to keep calm heads and work to resolve it and i'm confident we can. but the cracks were soon showing. is liz truss the best the party has and the best person to conservative party can offer to be prime minister today? liz truss is the prime minister because our system of selection... i understand why she is prime minister. we continue to support her. through the morning, the number of mps calling for liz truss to go was increasing. some were even releasing
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letters on social media. sky news began keeping an on—screen tally and one minister told sky... as mps gathered in the house of commons on thursday morning labour tabled an urgent question about suella braverman's resignation. yvette cooper had this summary of events. the home secretary and chancellor and chief whip sacked and then unsacked and the unedifying scenes of conservative mps last night fighting like rats in a sack. this is a disgrace. she wasn't done there. she also had this question. to quote the former home secretary, this is indeed a total coalition of chaos. why should the country have to put up with this for a single extra day? it wouldn't have to,
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because shortly after lunchtime sir graham brady, who represents tory mps, walked into downing street. he was there for a meeting, requested by liz truss. from that point, things moved quickly. at 1:20pm, my colleague had this update. we will hear from the prime minister in the next ten minutes. no word yet from number 10 about what exactly she is going to say. the podium was out and just after 1:30pm the moment came. i cannot deliver the mandate on which i was elected by the conservative party. i have therefore spoken to his majesty the king to notify him that i am resigning as leader of the conservative party. it was over, and for a moment we all caught our breath. and before we get into who might come next after liz truss, i want to pause and consider the week, with the help of nick robinson.
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how much is this to do with the actions of one person? it starts with liz truss, no doubt. she did something i have never seen a politician do before — when you win you bring in your opponents and people who ran against you, try to create a broad church, she did the opposite, excluding them all. you normally listen to expert advice particularly on economics. she sacked the head of the treasury and top official. she ignored the bank of england and the watchdog that's called the office for budget responsibility and she ploughed ahead with policies that she must have known they would warn her against. that is liz truss, but it's tempting as we look at a narrative that it is all her own doing, how much do we need to look beyond her and to her party? we have to look much further back. why have we had so many prime ministers in such a short period? david cameron forced by brexit supporters to have a referendum
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he didn't want to have. forced to resign when he lost it. theresa may forced to resign because she didn't deliver a brexit deal people liked. boris johnson forced to resign largely because of his own behaviour. if you don't understand that each of those resignations forced from office creates anger and people who resent what has happened before, and arguments about who is right and wrong, you don't understand the poison running through the modern conservative party. let's go back to boris johnsons's election victory in 2019. there was a lot of commentary at the time saying he had profoundly reshaped the conservative party. you and i in our different ways explain the news to our listeners and viewers and increasingly when it comes to the conservative party, when people ask what it represents i find it increasingly hard to know what to say. that is all right because some look back and older viewers will remember margaret
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thatcher, they have an idea of what they think, others who are new to the party, because of brexit, and borisjohnson, who have very different views and then you get traditional tories who were never brexiteers or margaret thatcher fans who have a steadier, low—key view of conservatism, which is why it's so difficult for any one individual to build a coalition and bring them together. thank you for talking with us. the winner will be announced next friday. while labour say it is time for a general election. and as we look forward, let's look back to august, to the holiday inn in norwich. it is early evening and liz truss is making her pitch to tory party members. i am somebody who is prepared to take action, to do what it takes to fix the issues our country has. the members were persuaded, her campaign led to downing street, she was prime minister. two days later, the queen died. politics paused.
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but it would return with a vengeance. the mini—budget, the u—turns, resignations, farce and confusion, the humiliation of seeing her own government dismantle her ideas. it was all too much. liz truss had lost control and just like that, she was gone. goodbye. hello, there. we've seen some more heavy rain earlier in the night and some thunderstorms as well. things will be calming down a bit, though, by monday morning. the overnight rain across eastern england moving away into the north sea, still got some rain far north of scotland, otherwise this
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west to south—westerly breeze will bring sunshine and a scattering of showers. most of the showers in the west, a few getting into eastern areas, but there will be some sunshine around as well. still on the mild side, 15 degrees in scotland, 17 or 18 across south—eastern parts of england. 0ur weather tends to be dominated by low pressure sitting to the west the uk, pushing in the weather from the south and bringing us warmer conditions from the south as well. we may well start dry on tuesday, the showers having faded away overnight. there will be some sunshine around. the odd shower developing through the day in the west, perhaps. as those southerly winds pick up, we'll see some cloud and rain coming in to the south—west of england, perhaps south wales by the end of the day. a lot of places will be dry, though, on tuesday, and it's still on the mild side. temperatures of 1a to 18 celsius.
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this is bbc news — welcome if you're watching here in the uk or around the globe. i'm rich preston. our top stories: three become two. borisjohnson drops out of the race to be britain's next prime minister, leaving rishi sunak and penny mordaunt in the running. the former chancellor is now the clear frontrunner. we'll be asking what's now more likely — a contest or a coronation? cementing his place at the top — china's president xi will have a third term in power — the first to do so since chairman mao. warns there'll be further damage to the amazon rainforest


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