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“Moving On Up” was a bullish choice of entrance music.

The 90s pop classic blaring from the speakers as Liz Truss stepped out on to the conference stage for her first speech as leader.

But while the M People track echoed her conference slogan “Getting Britain Moving”, the rest of the song’s lyrics may have raised some eyebrows.

“You’re movin’ on out”, “there’s no way back”, the song goes, “move right out of here, baby, go on pack your bags” – surprisingly apt for a fractious conference where the dominant conversation has been about whether the Truss premiership is over before it has even really begun.

Politics Hub: Latest reaction and analysis after Liz Truss’s conference speech

This speech then a chance to speak to both her party members and to voters, who have taken a look at the Conservatives under Liz Truss and don’t appear to much like what they see.

With Labour now commanding huge leads in the polls – one suggesting the opposition now has a 33-point lead – this prime minister has to get voters to give her a hearing if she has any hope of staving off the mutinous mood brewing in her party.

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Not surprising then that her message to voters was not a million miles from what Sir Keir Starmer said in Liverpool last week – that she understands what they’re going through, that she’s been through struggles herself and that she’s on their side.

“I have fought to get where I am today”, she said. “I have fought to get jobs, to get pay rises and to get on the housing ladder. I have juggled my career with raising two wonderful daughters.

“I know how it feels to have your potential dismissed by those who think they know better.”

So a message that she is not part of a privileged elite but on the side of working people. Her sole focus, she said, was “growth, growth, growth” to “build our country for a new era”. Lower taxation, getting a grip on public finances and bringing forward economic reforms to “grow the pie so everyone gets a bigger slice”.

But there are many things that could blunt that message in the coming months: decisions to give big tax cuts to big business; the knock-on effects of her economic plan on inflation and interest rate rises; the pressure of public sector spending and rows over public sector pay, to name a few. And while the prime minister U-turned on her plan to abolish the 45p rate of tax for the top 1% of earners, the surrounding controversy may have already stained her reputation with working voters.

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Prime Minister Liz Truss has promised ‘an iron grip on the nation’s finances’

For her parliamentary party, there was a mixed message. For while she acknowledged there had been difficulties and she had “listened”, she also signalled she was in “complete lockstep” with her chancellor and was pressing ahead with her plan. “Whenever there is change, there is disruption,” she said.

“Not everyone will be in favour, but everyone will benefit from the result – a growing economy and a better future. That is what we have a clear plan to deliver.” The showdown then between Ms Truss and the rebel alliance led by Michael Gove looks guaranteed to grind on.

It was in her message for party members, however, that Ms Truss really hit her stride. Rather than attacking MP rebels, as her home secretary did on Tuesday, or previous governments, as her chancellor did on Monday, Ms Truss defined the enemy as the opposition, which she bundled into something akin to an ‘axis of evil’ coalition to the delight of the hall.

“I will not allow the anti-growth coalition to hold us back. Labour, Lib Dems and the SNP. The militant unions and the vested interests dressed up as think-tanks. The talking heads, the Brexit deniers and Extinction Rebellion. They prefer protesting to doing. They prefer talking on Twitter to taking tough decisions. They taxi from North London townhouses to the BBC studio to dismiss anyone challenging the status quo.”

This was perhaps her best received moment of the speech as she gave party activists an external enemy to distract from the infighting of her own party.

But for all the external – perhaps imagined – enemies, it is the enemy within that will continue to cause the prime minister difficulties, and the lack of detail or new announcements in her speech was unusual.

Leaders typically launch a new eye-catching policy in conference set pieces. That Ms Truss didn’t announce anything new reflects perhaps that she knows she is constrained by the markets and by her party. For all her promises of growth, growth, growth, she is a PM who wants to try to reduce spending as she looks for government savings in the face of her ballooning debt pile.

Read more:
Protesters interrupt Truss’s speech
Truss warns of ‘stormy days’ ahead

This is also a prime minister who is facing a very organised band of rebels in parliament who are determined to pick off parts of her plan they don’t much like. They have already forced a U-turn on the 45p rate cut and are now looking to bounce a reluctant-looking prime minister into lifting benefit payments by inflation rather than earnings in order that the four million claimants don’t face a real terms cut in their incomes.

When Ms Truss kicked off her premiership, an ally told me it would be a “shock and awe” start. On that, she didn’t disappoint. But what her speech showed on Wednesday is how constrained this leader has already become.

Today’s speech will not answer the question posed by her entrance music – it won’t determine whether she moves on up from this low point, or is moved out by her party. It is fair to say she did not leave the hall weaker than she went in, which her team will see as a victory of sorts.

But there is no doubt she ends her first party conference as leader diminished by a torrid four days of division and infighting. It was not the start she hoped for. How it all ends is still so unclear.

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President Raisi’s death a perilous moment for Iran regime – but don’t expect a change to foreign policy

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President Raisi's death a perilous moment for Iran regime - but don't expect a change to foreign policy

This is a delicate time for Iran. President Raisi was the second most important man in Iran, after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

His death, now confirmed, will have far-reaching consequences.

Although Khamenei has tried to reassure the country in recent hours, the regime will know this is a perilous moment that must be handled carefully.

Live updates – Iranian president killed in crash

There are mechanisms to protect the regime in events like this and the Revolutionary Guard, which was founded in 1979 precisely for that purpose, will be a major player in what comes next.

In the immediate term, vice-president Mohammed Mokhber will assume control and elections will be held within 50 days.

Mokhber isn’t as close to the supreme leader as Raisi was, and won’t enjoy his standing, but he has run much of Khamenei’s finances for years and is credited with helping Iran evade some of the many sanctions levied on it.

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Drone footage of helicopter crash site

Raisi’s successor will most likely be the chosen candidate of the supreme leader and certainly another ultra-conservative hardliner – a shift back to the moderates is highly unlikely.

Likewise, we shouldn’t expect any significant change in Iran’s foreign activities or involvement with the war in Gaza. It will be business as usual, as much as possible.

However, after years of anti-government demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini in 2022, this might be a moment for the protest movement to rise up and take to the streets again.

Read more:
Who was hardliner Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi?
‘Butcher of Tehran’ had fearsome reputation – many will fear instability
Hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi wins landslide victory

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Islamic State may seek to take advantage

There are also many dissident groups inside Iran, including an off-shoot of Islamic State – they might seek to take advantage of this situation.

Raisi became president in 2021 at the second time of asking and only with a turnout of 41%, the lowest since the 1979 revolution.

The president is seen as a frontrunner to replace Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured) when he dies. Pic: Reuters
Image:
The president was considered one of the two frontrunners to succeed Ayatollah Ali Khamanei (pictured). Pic: Reuters

He was not a universally popular figure and many inside Iran will celebrate his death.

Consequences for supreme leader

Longer term, Raisi’s death will have consequences for the supreme leader.

He was considered one of the two frontrunners to succeed Ayatollah Ali Khamanei on his death – the other being Khamanei’s son Mojtaba.

For religious and conservative Iranians, Raisi’s death will be mourned; for many though, it will be the passing of a man who had blood on his hands.

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi confirmed dead in helicopter crash after charred wreckage found

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi confirmed dead in helicopter crash after charred wreckage found

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has died after the helicopter he was travelling in crashed in a mountainous area of northwest Iran.

Rescuers found the burned remains of the aircraft on Monday morning after the president and his foreign minister had been missing for more than 12 hours.

President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters, asking not to be named.

Live updates – Iranian president killed in crash

Iran‘s Mehr news agency reported “all passengers of the helicopter carrying the Iranian president and foreign minister were martyred”.

State TV said images showed it had smashed into a mountain peak, although there was no official word on the cause of the crash.

“President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash… unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead,” an official told Reuters.

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President of Iran killed in crash

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The crash happened in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province

As the sun rose, rescuers saw the wreckage from around 1.25 miles, the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, Pir Hossein Kolivand, told state media.

Iranian news agency IRNA said the president was flying in an American-made Bell 212 helicopter.

Read more:
Who is Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi?
Many will be fearing instability after ‘butcher of Tehran’ killed

Iranian TV showed the president on board the helicopter
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Iranian TV showed the president on the helicopter during a trip to Azerbaijan

TV picture showed thick fog at the search site. Pic: IRNA
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TV pictures from Sunday showed thick fog at the search site. Pic: IRNA

Mr Raisi, 63, who was seen as a frontrunner to succeed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Iran’s supreme leader, was travelling back from Azerbaijan where he had opened a dam with the country’s president.

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, also died in the crash.

The governor of East Azerbaijan province and other officials and bodyguards were also said to have been on board when the helicopter crashed in fog on Sunday.

Iranian media initially described it as a “hard landing”.

The chief of staff of Iran’s army had ordered all military resources and the Revolutionary Guard to be deployed in the search, which had been hampered by bad weather.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to react to the news of Mr Raisi’s death.

“India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow,” he said in a post on X.

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Ebrahim Raisi: Who is hardliner Iranian president?

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Ebrahim Raisi: Who is hardliner Iranian president?

A helicopter carrying Iran’s president crashed during bad weather on Sunday.

But who is Ebrahim Raisi – a leader who faces sanctions from the US and other nations over his involvement in the mass execution of prisoners in 1988.

The president, 63, who was travelling alongside the foreign minister and two other key Iranian figures when their helicopter crashed, had been travelling across the far northwest of Iran following a visit to Azerbaijan.

Follow live: Rescuers search for president after helicopter crash

Mr Raisi is a hardliner and former head of the judiciary who some have suggested could one day replace Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Because of his part in the sentencing of thousands of prisoners of conscience to death back in the 1980s, he was nicknamed the Butcher of Tehran as he sat on the so-called Death Panel, for which he was then sanctioned by the US.

Raisi and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev on Sunday. Pic: Reuters
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Raisi and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Sunday. Pic: Reuters

Both a revered and a controversial figure, Mr Raisi supported the country’s security services as they cracked down on all dissent, including in the aftermath of the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini – the woman who died after she was arrested for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly – and the nationwide protests that followed.

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The months-long security crackdown killed more than 500 people and saw over 22,000 detained.

People light a fire during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini in Tehran, 2022. Pic: Reuters
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People light a fire during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini in Tehran, 2022. Pic: Reuters

In March, a United Nations investigative panel found that Iran was responsible for the “physical violence” that led to Ms Amini’s death after her arrest for not wearing a hijab, or headscarf, to the liking of authorities.

The president is seen as a frontrunner to replace Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured) when he dies. Pic: Reuters
Image:
The president is seen as a frontrunner to replace Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured). Pic: Reuters

The president also supported Iran’s unprecedented decision in April to launch a drone and missile attack on Israel amid its war with Hamas, the ruling militant group in Gaza responsible for the 7 October attacks which saw 1,200 people killed in southern Israel.

Involvement in mass executions

Mr Raisi is sanctioned by the US in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war.

Under the president, Iran now enriches uranium at nearly weapons-grade levels and hampers international inspections.

Iran has armed Russia in its war on Ukraine and has continued arming proxy groups in the Middle East, such as Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

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He successfully ran for the presidency back in August 2021 in a vote that got the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history as all of his potentially prominent opponents were barred from running under Iran’s vetting system.

A presidency run in 2017 saw him lose to Hassan Rouhani, the relatively moderate cleric who as president reached Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

‘Very involved in anything’

Alistair Bunkall, Sky News’s Middle East correspondent, said the president is “a major figure in Iranian political and religious society” but “he’s not universally popular by any means” as his administration has seen a series of protests in the past few years against his and the government’s “hardline attitude”.

Mr Raisi is nonetheless “considered one of the two frontrunners to potentially take over” the Iranian regime when the current supreme leader dies, Bunkall said.

He added the president would have been “instrumental” in many of Iran’s activities in the region as he “would’ve been very involved in anything particularly what has been happening in Israel and the surrounding areas like Lebanon and Gaza and the Houthis over the last seven and a bit months”.

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