Liz Truss was still able to raise a smile today despite her disastrous 44 days in office coming to an abrupt end as the row over her proposed £20,000 payoff plus an allowance of up to £115,000-a-year and a platinum-plated pension intensified.
The Prime Minister grinned briefly as she entered Downing Street after a run in the central London fog this morning.
Liz Truss will be handed a £115k golden goodbye that is worth £419.11 for each of the 44 days she served as Prime Minister
Like all other departing Government ministers, Liz Truss will be entitled to one-quarter of her annual salary in severance pay.
Ms Truss earned a total salary of £164,080: £84,144 for being an MP, plus a further £75,440 for being PM. It means she is in line for a £18,860 pay-out due to her resignation as PM.
She will continue to receive her £84,144 salary for being MP for South West Norfolk.
Meanwhile, on top of the £18,860 pay-out, Ms Truss will also be entitled to claim up to £115,000 a year in an allowance for former prime ministers.
She will also benefit from a taxpayer-funded pension as a former minister and prime minister.
Her pension pot will be based on the size of her contributions in the 10 years she was a minister.
She is also likely to get taxpayer-funded police protection for years if not the rest of her life.
Wearing her gym kit and muddy trainers, the outgoing Tory leader, now considered the most disastrous in party history, gave a wry smile at police as she skipped into the back door of No 10 at around 8am.
It came as the UK’s shortest serving PM will still receive severance pay to the tune of £18,860 – equal to £419.11 for each day she served.
Ms Truss is beginning her final week as Prime Minister as her rivals circle to take her job – but there is increasing anger about the cash and benefits she is leaving with and demands for her to forgo them.
Despite the extraordinary brevity of her premiership, she is entitled to one-quarter of her £164,080 annual salary in severance pay. It means she is in line for a £18,860 payout due to her resignation yesterday.
She will continue to receive her £84,144 salary for being MP for South West Norfolk and will now also be entitled to claim up to £115,000 a year in an allowance for former prime ministers.
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer today joined calls for Ms Truss to reject her allowance of up to £115,000-a-year and hand back any payout.
He said: ‘She should turn it down. I think that’s the right thing to do. She’s done 44 days in office, she’s not really entitled to it, she should turn it down and not take it’.
The Liberal Democrats said it will leave a further ‘bitter taste’ if she claims the allowance payment.
With Boris Johnson believed to be on a plane home from his Caribbean holiday as he weighs up whether to run again just six weeks after being turfed out by Tory MPs.
His main rival Rishi Sunak is expected to launch his campaign today as his allies say he is ready to battle Boris ‘for the soul of the party’.
Penny Mordaunt, their other main rival and third favourite for the job, is also expected to throw her hat into the ring on Friday.
As Ms Truss prepares to leave No 10, it also emerged today:
- Boris Johnson is flying home, according to his father, as he fights to woo 100 MPs. Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt likely to launch campaigns today;
- Tory MPs warned that Miss Mordaunt’s ‘woke’ views and lack of experience could damage the party’s election prospects.
- Suella Braverman, Ben Wallace and Kemi Badenoch were all weighing up whether to launch leadership bids;
- Labour called for an immediate election, with leader Sir Keir saying the country deserved ‘a chance at a fresh start’ after months of chaos;
- Tory chiefs said Conservative Party members would decide the outcome of the contest in an online vote if MPs put forward more than one candidate;
- The status of the Budget on October 31 was thrown into doubt, with Treasury sources acknowledging the new PM could cancel the plan to tackle a £40billion hole in the public finances;
- Tory MPs on the Right of the party warned the next leader against going soft on immigration after No 10 suggested rules could be relaxed to boost growth;
Prime Minister Liz Truss arrives in Downing Street this morning, raising a smile
The outgoing PM was also smiling when she left for her morning jog
Ms Truss carries her phone into No 10 after her jog as she begins her final seven days at PM
Ms Truss was seen running around the park this morning on a foggy London morning
Ms Truss was running with a companion, likely to be part of her political team who are likely to leave with her
The battle for Downing Street is back in full swing today with Boris Johnson pushing for a ‘dream ticket’ comeback with Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt frantically wooing MPs.
The trio look best-placed to hit the high threshold of 100 nominations from politicians required to feature on the Tory leadership ballot – although it is possible only one or two will make the numbers by the Monday afternoon deadline.
Backers of the ex-PM are clamouring for a shock return just six weeks after he was ousted from power amid a flood of ministerial resignations over Partygate and sleaze. Some have speculated that as many as 140 out of the 357 Conservative MPs could line up behind him – making him all-but unstoppable.
However, critics believe his fans are noisy rather than numerous, predicting he will fall short of 100. According to the ConservativeHome tally, Mr Sunak is the current front runner with 35 openly declared, while Mr Johnson has 19 and Ms Mordaunt 11.
Mr Johnson is believed to be flying back early from his holiday in the Dominican Republic as he ‘takes soundings’ on whether to run to take over after the humiliating resignation of Liz Truss.
But in a blow, Tory MP and former ally Crispin Blunt warned that Mr Johnson has ‘personality weaknesses’ alongside an ‘astonishing set of skills’. ‘I don’t think we can go back there for the next two years,’ the former minister told Sky News.
Former chancellor Rishi Sunak leaves his home in West London as he prepares to launch his campaign
How will the new PM be chosen?
2pm: Nominations will close in the Tory leadership contest. Candidates will need 100 MPs to support them in order to make it through to the first ballot. If only one MP passes this threshold they will become prime minister without a vote.
3.30pm to 5.30pm: The first ballot of MPs will be held to choose between the leadership candidates. There will be a maximum of three contenders, due to the high nomination threshold.
6pm: The result of the first ballot of MPs is announced. If three candidates get through, the candidate with the fewest number of votes will be eliminated. But, if only two candidates made it through to the first ballot, this would become an indicative vote for MPs to express their preference between the final two contenders.
6.30pm to 8.30pm: If three candidates made it to the ballot, and the lowest was removed in the first vote above, a second ballot could be held. This would become the indicative vote on the final two candidates, allowing MPs to show party members who they want to be PM.
9pm: The result of the second ballot of MPs will be announced. The two candidates will then proceed to an online vote of Conservative members.
11am: The online membership vote will close. The result will be announced later that day and the identity of the new Tory leader revealed.
There are also concerns that some centrist MPs could resign the Tory whip or even defect in protest as they regard him as unacceptable to lead. That could open the door for Keir Starmer to force a snap election and trigger a Conservative wipeout, with Labour up to 36 points ahead in polls.
Mr Johnson’s former spin doctor Will Walden said this morning that Mr Johnson ‘absolutely hates to lose’ and will not formally run if he looks short of the 100 threshold. ‘If he thinks he has a chance of winning with the members then he will run,’ he added.
Mr Johnson could become only the third prime minister in modern political history to return for a second stint after leaving office, following in the footsteps of his hero – Winston Churchill – and Labour’s Harold Wilson.
However, he is a deeply divisive figure with the public and on the Tory benches. One critic branded him an ‘ego on sticks’ and another urged him to ‘go back to the beach.’
In a bid to heal divisions in the party, he is reportedly pressing Mr Sunak, his former Chancellor, to reach out and ‘get back together’. The remarkable olive branch follows months of feuding after the former chancellor was accused of ‘knifing Boris in the back’ when he dramatically left his cabinet position, sparking a wave of resignations that ultimately toppled Mr Johnson’s premiership.
It comes after a source last night said Mr Johnson acknowledged he had made ‘mistakes’ and he would now be keen to ‘reach out to talents across the party’, and be a ‘healing, unifying’ leader.
However friends of Mr Sunak dampened hopes of a happy reunion, telling the Sun that while he wants to bury the hatchet, his goal is to become PM so he can ‘get on with the task of rebuilding the battered economy.’
Mr Sunak also had his eyes on another potential teammate, Penny Mordaunt. But she is said to be rejecting his attempts to form a joint ticket, as the current Leader of the Commons ‘does not want to play second fiddle’.
Mr Johnson is making his ability to win elections the cornerstone of his pitch after securing the biggest Tory majority for decades in 2019, reports the Telegraph.
His closest allies were frantically ringing round MPs for support last night, including ‘Mr Fixit’ Nigel Adams, while Conservative MP Paul Bristow told the World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 that it was ‘definitely realistic’ he would reach 100 votes to make it onto the PM ballot.
While his sister Rachel Johnson added that if he wants to run ‘wild horses won’t stop him’, she said Keir Starmer was now ‘PM in waiting’ and predicted he will win the next election.
Another friend warned he was ‘walking into a s**t show he can’t control’, adding: ‘In autumn next year the party will be on its knees.’
However others were more optimistic, with Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East James Duddridge writing on Twitter: ‘Hope you enjoyed your holiday boss. Time to come back. Few issues at the office that need addressing. #BringBackBoris.’
Friends of Mr Sunak dampened hopes of a happy reunion, telling the Sun that while he wants to bury the hatchet, his goal is to become PM so he can ‘get on with the task of rebuilding the battered economy’
According to the ConservativeHome tally, Mr Sunak is the current front runner with 35 openly declared, while Mr Johnson has 19 and Ms Mordaunt 11
Mr Sunak also had his eyes on another potential teammate; Penny Mordaunt, however she was said to be rejecting his attempts to form a joint ticket, as the current Leader of the Commons ‘does not want to play second fiddle’, a source told the Telegraph
Boris Johnson was the preferred option as a replacement, with 32 per cent supporting him as their first choice, while 23 per cent said Rishi Sunak and 10 per cent Ben Wallace
While Mr Johnson already has the backing of 50 MPs, compared to Mr Sunak’s 39, the prospect of a Boris comeback has forced other Tories to threaten to quit and trigger by-elections, with one branding him ‘ego-on-sticks’
A close political friend of the former PM last night told the Daily Mail he was ‘rested’, ‘in great spirits’ and ‘itching to take the fight to Keir Starmer’.
A close ally of Mr Sunak said there would be a ‘natural logic’ to him facing off against Mr Johnson, adding: ‘It will be a battle for the soul of the party.’
But the path to No.10 is not so straight forward. The idea of Mr Johnson returning appears to have created a rift among Tory MPs, with some threatening to quit the party and trigger by-elections in their seats.
In a sharp-tongued missive, one moderate ex-minister fumed: ‘If that ego-on-sticks becomes leader of the Tory party I will surrender the whip. Many of us will not stand for that man’s leadership’, while Tory MP John Baron simply said: ‘I would find it impossible to serve under Boris.’
Meanwhile former party chair David Davis told LBC that Mr Johnson should ‘go back to the beach, frankly.’
Elsewhere, the Partygate enquiry headed by Labour’s Harriet Harman, set to start in November, could prove troublesome for a Mr Johnson premiership.
According to the Sun, Downing Street has handed over a slew of documents, emails, pictures and messages to the committee, with one insider telling the paper the evidence was so damning it could lead to a Commons suspension, adding: ‘Boris is screwed.’
Requests for Mr Johnson to give evidence in person also raise the risk of a damning hearing even if he returns to power.
According to one ally, however, he is encouraged by early indications of support from MPs – and some ministers who forced him out are said to be privately calling for his return. If he believes he can make the final round of the race he is likely to run, the source added.
Another close political ally of the former prime minister last night told the Daily Mail that Mr Johnson was ‘itching to take the fight to Keir Starmer’.
They hailed Mr Johnson as a ‘proven election winner’ and ‘a great campaigner’ and the only potential candidate with a direct mandate from voters. The ally said that if the Tory party was ‘serious about power’ then he was ‘the only choice’.
Supporters among Tory MPs argue he is the only potential candidate with a mandate to govern after winning a large Commons majority in 2019, and say this would diminish calls from Labour for a fresh General Election.
A YouGov poll earlier this week found that Mr Johnson being handed back the keys to No 10 was the most preferred option among Tory party members if Miss Truss resigned.
But many MPs are opposed to him making a comeback because he has an inquiry by the Commons privileges committee over Partygate hanging over him. It is probing whether he deliberately misled Parliament about Downing Street parties during the Covid-19 pandemic – and he could be booted out as an MP were it to find against him, potentially plunging the Tories into fresh chaos.