Sebastian Payne Profile picture
@FinancialTimes Whitehall Editor and presenter of Payne’s Politics 📖 The Fall of Boris Johnson - out Nov 24
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Nov 30 6 tweets 3 min read
🔷 Rishi Sunak has been prime minister for a month, but he’s already struggling to stamp his authority on the parliamentary party. Here are the four new Tory tribes causing the PM headaches.

Latest @FinancialTimes analysis… Tribe #1: The ‘heartland defenders’ of centrist Tory MPs.

These should be Sunak's natural supporters, yet they are rallying against his plans on housebuilding and green energy (despite both being 2019 manifesto commitments). Embodied by Damian Green.…
Nov 14 4 tweets 2 min read
👥 What precisely is Rishi Sunak for?

The PM can’t exist on managerialism alone, despite the economic crisis. Instead he should focus on the party’s 2019 blueprint for fixing Britain.

In short: Johnsonism without Johnson

Latest @FinancialTimes column… The 2019 manifesto was notable for its “Get Brexit Done” slogan, but had far more depth and ambition than is often acknowledged. With its bold plans for devolution, expansion of the railways and boost for science, Sunak should focus on its core proposals.…
Nov 5 7 tweets 3 min read
Conservative MPs were talking this week about a “devil’s bargain” between Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman.

Will the deal that put Sunak to No10 hold, or backfire and cause collateral damage to his nascent premiership?

@FinancialTimes weekend analysis… One Tory insider said Sunak and Braverman spoke half a dozen times on October 23, the day she endorsed him.

One Home Office insider: “A deal done was obviously done: ‘back me and I’ll install you back as Home Secretary”.

Sunak’s allies deny any deals.…
Oct 25 9 tweets 4 min read
👥 Who’s who in Team Sunak?

With just a few days to assemble a Number 10 team, the new prime minister has turned to his close aides from his time as chancellor to replace Liz Truss' Downing Street operation.

"It's almost a whole Treasury takeover"… Key faces in Team Sunak:

- @OliverDowden is expected to return to cabinet as Sunak chief operating officer after chairing both of his leadership campaigns. One ally says he'll be "Rishi’s right-hand man throughout and will help him run the government"…
Oct 25 8 tweets 3 min read
❓ What will Boris Johnson do now?

Allies of the former PM say he's going to be spending more time in Washington DC, shoring up support for the war in Ukraine - especially with the prospect of Republicans limiting support to Kyiv after the mid terms.… One friend: "There is no formal role yet but Boris is very worried about the situation in Ukraine. He believes that the US and US defence spending is the best force for military success in the war and wants to make sure support does not slip away"…
Oct 17 4 tweets 2 min read
NEW: Jeremy Hunt announces he will "reverse almost all the tax measures announced in the growth plan." Well that's it for Trussonomics (and the platform Liz Truss stood on to be prime minister) As well as curtailing the energy package, the most measure Hunt announced was scrapping 1p income tax cut. Rishi Sunak was due to introduce it in 2024, Kwasi Kwarteng brought it forward to 2023. Fact it's not happening "indefinitely" shows just how bad the economic's situation is
Oct 16 5 tweets 2 min read
“The question is when — not if — she goes"

Even ministers in Liz Truss' government think she will be the shortest ever PM. But no one knows how and when she will go, never mind who will replace.

@FinancialTimes analysis on a very chaotic messy mood… Another senior minister reckons Truss will go:

"It’s over, but I’m not sure when. Perhaps this week, perhaps next. She could also survive a little longer in a caretaker role — effectively Jeremy Hunt carries on as CEO."…
Oct 16 6 tweets 3 min read
💥 Liz Truss fights for survival:

- Senior City figures call on the PM to stand down
- Allies of PM liken "plotters" to anti-Brexit campaigns and say they're forcing Tories towards an election
- 3 MPs call for her to go

Tomorrow's @FinancialTimes splash… Tory peer Stuart Rose, chair of Asda and former head of M&S, calls on Truss to resign:"She is a busted flush"

"As prime minister, you have to have the confidence of business, investors, the electorate and colleagues in the party. She has none of these"…
Oct 14 11 tweets 5 min read
❓ Can Liz Truss survive ❓

Tory MPs are in despair after the PM’s efforts to shore up her position after a disastrous 24 hours.

Wheels are starting to move on how the 1922 committee could oust her after just 38 days in No10.

@FinancialTimes analysis Senior Tories welcome Truss’ decision to fire Kwarteng and replace him with Hunt, but don’t think it goes far enough:

“Jeremy is a sensible choice, but he has no economic experience. I’m not sure he’s well equipped at all to deal with this crisis.”…
Oct 14 9 tweets 4 min read
💥 Inside No10: Liz Truss prepares for a U-turn but fears what comes next.

"It would mean she is politically finished as a project. What would be the point of a Truss government if it isn’t doing radical economic reform?”

Latest @FinancialTimes analysis… Conservative MPs are already openly discussing removing Truss.

Although 1922 rules say she can't be challenged for a year, a widespread view is if 100 no confidence letters went to Graham Brady "he would have no choice but to do something about it"…
Oct 12 6 tweets 1 min read
Liz Truss has addressed the 1922 committee of Tory MPs this evening. The PM told MPs they should focus on the energy price guarantee and "highlight the devastation that would have been caused to small business had we not acted" Truss also told Tory MPs that Labour "has no plan beyond the next 6 months" and no plan to help businesses.
Oct 4 8 tweets 4 min read
💥 Inside Liz Truss' dramatic 45p tax U-turn

PM has told colleagues "it’s not the fight I wanted to have" and didn't want it to become "the defining issue of my premiership"

Analysis with @GeorgeWParker @PickardJE… Kwasi Kwarteng insisted he had not offered to resign over. “Why would he?” said one ally. Downing Street insiders said Truss had been advised by some officials last week she would have to “lose the chancellor”, but she told aides she “never” considered it…
Sep 29 4 tweets 2 min read
🌹 A Labour government led by Keir Starmer is now plausible, but certainly not a given.

The party's conference in Liverpool showed that Labour believes it can win again, but it still has more to do on story telling.

Latest @FinancialTimes column… The standout moment of this year's Labour conference was not Starmer's keynote, as solid as it was. It was the opening montage, when the party paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and belted out “God Save The King" - unimaginable during the Corbyn years.…
Sep 26 9 tweets 4 min read
😬 Conservative MPs are deeply divided on Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng's economic strategy

It's libertarians who are fully on board vs moderates who are nervous about the competence of the Truss regime.

Analysis with @GeorgeWParker @PickardJE… Supporters of the Truss-Kwarteng plan say there was no alternative than to stimulate growth with less than two years to a general election.

"It was either this or continue with the status quo and almost certain election defeat"…
Sep 23 4 tweets 1 min read
So why have Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng taking this radical economic gamble? Thinking inside senior Tory circles is their only hope of staying in power is to get the economy growing faster and they have <2 years to reverse the stagnation. "Go big or go home" is the motto. Truss is acutely aware she has limited time and political space to deliver on her Tory leadership campaign pledges, based ideas she worked up for a decade.

Those who have spoken to her say, "she won't be timid with these two years, she'll move fast and break things."
Sep 21 8 tweets 3 min read
Liz Truss' Enterprise Zones, due to be launched on Friday, are seen inside Whitehall as a major reboot of the levelling up agenda - a break from the Johnson era:

"The plans make [Michael] Gove look like a socialist" one government insider said.… Levelling Up was born out of Johnson's desire to repay 'red wall' voters who went Tory for the first time in 2019 but also to spur economic growth

Truss' first dozen Enterprise Zones are likely to be targeted at poorer areas but will be offered to anyone…
Sep 15 5 tweets 2 min read
NEW with @GeorgeWParker: Liz Truss is not planning a further cull of senior Whitehall mandrains after the abrupt sacking of Sir Tom Scholar.

But there's still widespread expectations cabinet secretary Simon Case will depart sooner rather than later.… One senior government insider said Truss was not seeking to oust significant numbers of high-ranking officials:

“She hasn’t arrived with a sense that all permanent secretaries and the civil service are hopeless. It was more dealing with specific issues."…
Sep 14 4 tweets 1 min read
Scale of queueing infrastructure for the Queen's Lying-in-State is epic: 6.9 mile of queues from Victoria Park Gardens in Westminster along the Thames to Southwark - plus another 3 miles of queueing inside Southwark Park. A vast total of 10 miles! Over 1,000 people are providing queue support, with 779 professional stewards per shift. In total:

- 600 St John ambulance
- 180 Samaritans
- 170 Salvation Army
- 140 Red Cross volunteers
- 120 Scouts

Plus multi-faith pastors, BSL interpreters and deployment of military
Sep 8 4 tweets 1 min read
Statement from Buckingham Palace:

“Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision. The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.” Clarence House says Prince Charles and Camilla + Prince William are travelling to Balmoral
Sep 6 22 tweets 7 min read
NEW: Liz Truss' reshuffle has begun. @theresecoffey is the new health secretary and deputy prime minister. Chancellor @KwasiKwarteng is the new chancellor
Sep 6 5 tweets 2 min read
🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Can Liz Truss govern her own party?

Boris Johnson's outgoing team think the Conservative parliamentary have become ungovernable and may "do for her"

"She will have to govern like it’s a hung parliament"

@FinancialTimes analysis… Tory strategists on mood of the 357 MPs:

“The parliamentary party has become almost ungovernable...there is no discipline and no appetite to cope with difficult decisions.”

“MPs spent far too much time on Twitter and focused on things that don’t matter”…