Liz Truss’s mini-Budget has done little to unite the Tories

Some believe another leadership challenge in the next year is not impossible, particularly if the cost of government borrowing goes up and Ms Truss’s plans become unaffordable.

The prevailing view, however, is that her opponents within the Conservative Party will simply sit on their hands and wait for events to play out, for better or worse.

With just two years until the next general election, changing Tory leader for the third time in three years would surely be indefensible, and Ms Truss’s detractors know that their only chance of staying in power is for her economic plan to be a success, whether or not they agree with it.

Even her staunchest critics acknowledge that Ms Truss could get lucky. If a peace deal is reached in Ukraine – or Vladmir Putin is toppled – the cost of living crisis will ease because of petrol and energy prices tumbling.

That, in turn, would cool inflation, and when the income tax cuts come into effect next April people might suddenly find themselves much better off.

There is also an expectation that next May’s local elections could provide a fillip for the Government, because seats that were lost in Theresa May’s disastrous 2019 local election will be regained. 

Boundary changes that come into effect in July next year will also marginally favour the Tories. Ms Truss could even decide to call an early general election if all of those factors go in her favour, though she has publicly stated that the next election will be in 2024 and the full effect of Mr Kwarteng’s growth stimulus will not have been felt by then.

For a Conservative leader to preside over a divided party is nothing new. Thatcher, Major, Cameron, May and Johnson all inherited battles with their backbenchers over the European Union, which in some cases ended their careers. 

Ms Truss has created a fight all of her own, but it is one she is convinced she can win – and by adopting an all or nothing strategy she has made all Tory MPs dependent on her success. 

For Conservative voters, the alternative does not bear thinking about.

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