Labour opens up a new 32-point poll lead over the Conservatives as infighting sees Nadine Dorries told to ‘settle down’ by minister after blue-on-blue attack on Liz Truss over ‘cruel’ benefit plans

  • Climate Minister Graham Stuart took aim at the Boris Johnson loyalist 
  • The former Culture secretary has made a slew of interventions in recent days
  • Said Truss has made some ‘big mistakes’ in her first few weeks in office 
  • Suggested Government ‘lurching to the right’ and risks losing the next election

Former minister Nadine Dorries was told to  ‘settle down a little while’ by a senior Tory today after launching yet another attack on Liz Truss. 

Climate Minister Graham Stuart took aim at the Boris Johnson loyalist, who backed Truss to be Prime Minister before turning on her. 

The former Culture secretary has made a slew of interventions in recent days, including attacks on the Government during the part conference. 

Ms Dorries, a Tory former Cabinet minister, told The Times that Prime Minister Liz Truss has made some ‘big mistakes’ in her first few weeks in office and suggested the Government is ‘lurching to the right’ and risks losing the next election.

She described the prospect of a real-terms cut to benefits this year as ‘cruel, unjust and fundamentally unconservative’.

But Mr Stuart today told Sky: ‘I know how bruising it can be when you leave Government, and, you know, I think, what I did, and I would certainly advise Nadine to … is just to settle down a little while and let the new team get on with the job, and that’s what we’re doing.’

New polls today suggested that the party infighting over benefits in Birmingham had seen the party fall even further behind Labour. One poll, by People Polling, gave Sir Keir Starmer’s opposition a 32-point lead.

Another, by Survation, suggested the Tories could lose all their remaining 21 seats in London at the next election, including that of ex-PM Boris Johnson un Uxbridge.

Climate Minister Graham Stuart took aim at the Boris Johnson loyalist, who backed Truss to be Prime Minister before turning on her.

Ms Dorries, a Tory former Cabinet minister, told The Times that Prime Minister Liz Truss has made some ‘big mistakes’ in her first few weeks in office and suggested the Government is ‘lurching to the right’ and risks losing the next election.

Ms Dorries’ comments follow widespread and public dissent among prominent Tories at the party’s conference earlier in the week, where even serving Cabinet ministers broke rank, and which saw Ms Dorries publicly question the Prime Minister’s mandate for a new Government direction.

The Government has not ruled out a real-terms cut to benefits, with reports suggesting that, instead, benefits could be raised in line with the average increase in workers’ pay.

Senior Tories are divided on the issue, but ministers, including Work and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith, have said the Government needs to follow a statutory process to make the call and is still receiving the data needed prior to the decision.

Polling by YouGov for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that 61 per cent of the public agree benefits should go up in line with inflation, including 49 per cent of 2019 Conservative voters.

Some 19 per cent of those polled believe there should be a rise below inflation, and 7 per cent believe there should be no rise.

The poll asked the views of 1,695 people across the UK over two days earlier this week, which coincided with the Conservative Party conference.

Ms Dorries warned that the Tories risked defeat if Truss continued to want to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ by going back over the decisions and commitments of the previous government.

‘You don’t win elections by lurching to the right and deserting the centre ground for Keir Starmer to place his flag on,’ she said.

‘If we continue down this path, we absolutely will be facing a Stephen Harper-type wipeout,’ she added, referring to Canada’s 2015 election in which Harper was defeated in a landslide by Justin Trudeau.

Some Tory MPs are reportedly already looking for an alternative, possibly in the form of former finance minister Rishi Sunak, who Truss beat in the final stage of this summer’s Conservative leadership contest, despite him winning the support of a majority of members in parliament.

Former minister Grant Shapps indicated this week that party rules could be changed to allow a no-confidence vote by Tory MPs earlier than 12 months into her tenure.

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