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Politics from London is live: Liz Truss pledges to raise defense spending by 3% after resignation threat

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Owning Street insisted on Tuesday that Liz Truss will not backtrack on her pledge to raise defense spending to 3% of GDP by 2030 after Armed Forces Minister James Heappey threatened to quit if she did.

Mr Heappey said he and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace both believed the promise ‘must be kept’ and warned there was ‘no prosperity without security’.

Asked if he would quit in the face of a U-turn, Mr Heappey told LBC: “Yeah.

“But nobody said 3% wouldn’t happen by 2030.”

No10 later insisted Ms Truss was keeping her promise, but hinted at possible slower initial increases in defense spending before bigger increases towards the end of the decade.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We are obviously committed to maintaining the UK’s position at the forefront of NATO, which is why the Prime Minister has pledged to increase spending defense to 3% of GDP by 2030.

“The form of this increase will be determined in future spending reviews in the usual way.”

Ms Truss will meet the Conservative Right ERG on Tuesday evening.

Live updates

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UK summons Chinese charge d’affaires after protester attack

The UK has summoned the Chinese ambassador’s deputy to demand an explanation after a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester was attacked at the Chinese consulate compound in Manchester.

Foreign Secretary Jesse Norman said the British government was “extremely concerned about the apparent scenes of violence” at the consulate and had informed the Chinese embassy of the need to allow people to protest peacefully.

“The Foreign Secretary (James Cleverly) has summoned the Chinese Chargé d’Affaires at the Chinese Embassy in London to express the deep concern of Her Majesty’s Government at the incident and to demand an explanation of the actions of consulate staff.”

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The Secretary of Defense makes an emergency visit to the United States

The Secretary of Defense made an emergency visit to the United States to discuss the security situation in Ukraine, including the threat of a nuclear attack.

Ben Wallace canceled his appearance before the Commons Defense Committee on Tuesday and flew to the United States for summits at the Pentagon and the White House.

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said Mr Wallace was meeting his American counterpart for “the kind of conversations that [are] beyond belief, the fact that we are at a time when these kinds of conversations are needed”.

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AFP via Getty Images
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Uncertainty of triple-locked state pensions

Liz Truss appears to have backtracked on her commitment to the triple lockdown of state pensions following the appointment of new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We are very aware of how many vulnerable pensioners you are and indeed our priority ahead of this budget plan is to continue to protect the most vulnerable in society.

“The Prime Minister and Chancellor are not making any commitments on individual policy areas at this stage, but as I said decisions will be made through the lens of what matters most to the most vulnerable.”

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No Cabinet member urged Truss to resign, PM’s spokesman said

Asked if any of the Cabinet members had suggested Liz Truss resign, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman replied: ‘No’.

The spokesperson insisted that the Prime Minister “did not focus on the problems of each party”, adding: “His concern is what is best for the country”.

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Truss focused on country rather than party hustle, says Downing St

Asked if Liz Truss was concerned about ministers considering replacing her, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘Her view is that she needs to focus on what is good for the country rather than internal discussions within the party at the moment.

“She is aware that these are difficult times overall and that the UK is in a difficult economic situation.

“That’s why she acted decisively and that’s why she will focus on the measures for (October 31) and also on broader areas of national interest such as the war in Europe.”

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Increase in defense spending confirmed

Downing Street has insisted it will deliver on its pledge to increase defense spending to 3% of GDP by 2030, but suggested the ‘shape’ of how funding achieves this could change.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We are obviously committed to maintaining the UK’s position at the forefront of NATO, which is why the Prime Minister has pledged to increase spending defense to 3% of GDP by 2030.

“The form of this increase will be determined in future spending reviews in the usual way.”

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Truss tells Cabinet the mini-budget has gone ‘too far too fast’

Liz Truss has told her cabinet that the government has gone ‘too far too fast’ with the mini budget as she fights to stay in power.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister opened the Cabinet by reiterating that the government had gone too far too fast in the mini budget and that this has been exacerbated by global factors, with inflation on the rise worldwide.

“She said she had acted to ensure economic stability but remained fully committed to the growth agenda.

“The Prime Minister said she wanted to be honest with the public, that times will be tough, that by addressing long-standing issues now, we can put the country on a stronger path for the future. .”

The Cabinet Minister leaves Downing St after the meeting

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Hunt: Cabinet ministers must find ways to save taxpayers’ money

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has told his Cabinet colleagues they need to review departmental budgets to find ways to save taxpayers’ money, Downing Street said.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘He has made it clear that public spending will continue to rise overall, but departments continue to be asked to look for ways to save taxpayers’ money , with government spending currently at around £1 trillion.

“The Chancellor said this work should focus on areas that should not affect the service the public receives.”

The spokesperson was speaking after being allowed to attend the Cabinet meeting for the first time under the leadership of Liz Truss.

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Cabinet ministers warned of impending spending cuts

The Chancellor warned Cabinet ministers on Tuesday morning of the scale of impending spending cuts, the BBC reports.

Jeremy Hunt is currently preparing tax increases and spending cuts which will be announced at the end of the month.

Mr Hunt is insisting that all departments find savings, the BBC reports.

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A recap: James Heappey threatens to quit

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey has said he would quit if Ms Truss backtracked on her promise to raise defense spending to 3% of GDP by 2030.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who has said ‘nothing is on the table’, addressed the Cabinet this morning over ‘tough decisions’ on spending cuts.

A Treasury source said: “Health and defense will not be exempt from finding savings. No department will be isolated. This message will be forwarded to Cabinet.

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