Majority of Brits want Liz Truss to resign – poll

Over one-third of Conservatives surveyed also want the prime minister to quit

More than half of Britons want Prime Minister Liz Truss to resign, a new poll published on Friday by YouGov shows. According to the survey, 51% of almost 5,000 respondents want her to quit, while only about a quarter of those polled believe she should stay. Just under a quarter said they did not have any particular opinion on the matter.

The news comes as Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng face a backlash over a new spending plan designed to spur economic growth and help alleviate the effects of soaring energy prices in the short term. The plan, which involve a large package of unfunded tax cuts, sent sterling plummeting to record lows against the US dollar on Monday.

The UK’s bond market also experienced the largest one-day sell-off in its history. Deutsche Bank estimated that the plan would push the UK’s debt-to-GDP ratio to around 101%, which would be the highest national debt level since 1962.

On Wednesday, Truss’ government faced criticism from billionaire investor and founder of Bridgewater Associates Ray Dalio, who argued that a rapid debt increase amid a lack of demand for the British pound globally would lead to disaster.

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The recent developments have also seen the Tories’ popularity take a severe hit. According to another YouGov poll published on Thursday, the Labour Party has surged to a 33-point lead over the Conservatives. If elections were held today, the latter would garner just 21% of the vote, whereas more than half of Britons would vote Labour.

Kwarteng appears to be even less popular than Truss, with 54% of Brits polled wanting him to resign, according to YouGov. Only 19% of respondents said they would like the chancellor to remain in his role.

The poll results come as Truss is heading into the Conservative Party’s annual conference scheduled for this Sunday. The prime minister, who has been in office for less than a month, enjoys the support of just around 43% of Conservative voters, while more than a third of her party backers (36%) also want her to quit, the YouGov poll shows.

US weighs in on Ukraine’s NATO membership

Now is not the time, says national security adviser Jake Sullivan

The US is committed to the “open door” policy when it comes to NATO, but now is the wrong time to consider Ukraine’s membership application, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday.

“Right now, our view is that the best way for us to support Ukraine is through practical, on the ground support in Ukraine, and that the process in Brussels should be taken up at a different time,” Sullivan told reporters at the White House press briefing.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky staged a signing of a membership application to the bloc, claiming Kiev is a “de facto” ally already and demanding an “accelerated” accession procedure. 

Sullivan echoed the comments made earlier by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that membership requires the consensus of all 30 members of the US-led bloc. Stoltenberg also pledged “unwavering” and “resolute” support for Ukraine, but insisted that does not make NATO a party to the conflict with Russia.

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Ukraine reacts to former regions joining Russia

Asked about the ceremony in Moscow at which Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions were admitted into Russia, Sullivan insisted those were all territories that belonged to Ukraine, and the “sham” referendums were “held at gunpoint” as part of a “pre-staged and falsified” process. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin was “raving” about satanism of the West in order to justify his “colonial and imperial land grab,” Sullivan added.

Though both Putin and Biden have described the explosions on Nord Stream pipelines as deliberate sabotage, Sullivan insisted the US and its allies were not to blame.

“The suggestions Russia has made about the US and other countries are flat-out false – Russia knows they’re false, but of course this is part of their playbook,” Sullivan told reporters.

Earlier, Biden said that Russia was “pumping out disinformation and lies” about the pipelines and that the US and its allies will conduct an investigation “at the appropriate moment” to find out what really happened.

“We don’t know that yet. Just don’t listen to what Putin’s saying – what he’s saying we know is not true,” Biden said.

China, India and Brazil abstain in vote on US resolution, Russia vetoes

Russia blocked a US-sponsored resolution that would have condemned itself

Russia has accused the US of baiting it into using its UN veto power in a bid to limit Moscow’s influence on the Security Council. Russia blocked a US-sponsored resolution on Friday that would have condemned its acceptance into the Russian Federation of four former Ukrainian territories.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed accession treaties on Friday, starting the process of bringing the two Donbass republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions into the Russian Federation following successful referendums. Within hours of the treaties being signed, the US introduced a resolution to the United Nations Security Council condemning the “illegal so-called referenda in Ukraine” and demanding Moscow immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine.

The meeting had originally been convened to discuss the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia told the council benefited the US. Russia wants a comprehensive investigation into the incident, he added.

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Ukraine reacts to former regions joining Russia

The resolution, co-sponsored by Ukraine, got the support of 10 UNSC members, while four – China, Brazil, India and Gabon – abstained. Russia, which has veto power, blocked its adoption.

“Do you seriously expect Russia to consider and support such a draft?” Nebenzia said, in a statement directed at the US. “And if not, then it turns out that you are intentionally pushing us to use the right of the veto in order to then wax lyrical about the fact that Russia abuses this right.”

The UNSC’s five permanent members – the US, UK, France, China, and Russia – all have the power to unilaterally veto resolutions. Russia has used this power to block Western condemnation of its actions in Ukraine since February, while the US has used it more times than any other member since 1970, most often blocking resolutions critical of Israel.

In an address to the UN General Assembly last week, US President Joe Biden declared that the UNSC should be expanded with new permanent and rotating members, drawn from “nations we have long supported.” Biden also called on the council’s permanent members to “refrain from the use of the veto except in rare, extraordinary situations.” 

READ MORE: Russia accuses UN chief of abusing authority

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has called on the UNSC to strip Russia of its veto power, a decision that, even if supported by all other permanent members, would be impossible due to Russia’s veto power.

Washington expected Russia to block the resolution, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken telling reporters earlier on Friday that the US would bring the measure before the General Assembly to seek wider condemnation.