‘Real feeling’ party is coming together after ‘internal squabbling’

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Victoria Prentis urged colleagues to move on from “internal squabbling” and focus on helping the country through the difficult winter ahead. Prime Minister Liz Truss is embarking on a charm offensive with restive MPs as they return to Parliament tomorrow. 

Ms Prentis, who supported Rishi Sunak in the leadership contest, said: “I now sense that there is a real feeling of the party getting back together.”

She added: “I very much backed the other guy over the summer and I’m a member of the Government, and I’m pleased to be able to serve in Government.

“That’s very much what we were elected to do. What we need to do is focus a bit less on internal squabbling and a bit more on helping the country through some really difficult times.

“And to make sure that we make the right decisions as a Government this winter.”

The Prime Minister is facing intense pressure from senior Conservatives to link next year’s increase in benefits to inflation rather than average earnings.

Conservative former chancellor Sajid Javid became the latest to publicly call for the higher rate of increase.

“People are going through incredibly challenging times,” he said. “We can all see that in our community. So, I personally believe that benefits must stay in line with inflation.

“I hope when – I think the Government is reviewing this decision, there’s no decision – but I hope that decision is a clear one to upgrade with inflation.”

Ms Prentis said the government would wait until the latest inflation figures were released on October 19 before making a decision.

The Work and Pensions Minister said: “It’s obviously a really worrying time for people on benefits because they know that inflation is rising. And they want us to make this decision as soon as we possibly can so that they have the security of knowing how their benefits will be next year.”

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