In a bitter farewell shot to Prime Minister Liz Truss, former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has told his closest allies that he believes she has only bought herself “a few weeks” and that the “wagons” of mutinous Tory MPs are driving around.
Ms Truss made a desperate attempt to save herself yesterday when she fired Mr Kwarteng and made another major turnaround in her fiscal policy, before holding a press conference where she presented herself to the media for just eight minutes.
She reportedly told the chancellor he had to go to avoid further market turmoil – but he only found out he was about to be fired after it was reported in the media en route to the prime minister.
A source close to the former chancellor told The Times last night: “Kwasi thinks it will only get her for a few more weeks.
“He thinks the cars are still going to circle.”
It follows Friday’s press conference when Liz Truss refused to apologize for the mini-budget’s impact or answer questions from the media — answering just four in an almost identical manner before abruptly leaving the room.
Dozens of Tory MPs are said to openly discuss ways to get rid of the new prime minister.
Kwasi Kwarteng smiled when he came home after being fired by the prime minister – before delivering his farewell shot
Liz Truss held a press conference in Downing Street on Friday announcing a second major turnaround in the mini-budget: this time on corporate tax.
Liz Truss has appointed Jeremy Hunt (pictured) to replace Mr Kwarteng, who declined to speak to reporters on Friday
Mr Kwarteng’s swipe at Ms Truss comes after she thanked him for his ‘decision’ to leave the cabinet – but he was quick to confirm publicly that he had in fact been fired.
It seems to many a desperate sign that Ms. Truss knows her premiership is in danger after a chaotic first 39 days in power.
Even senior Downing Street officials are reportedly talking about Truss’s departure.
And now it has been revealed that a group of about 20 MPs met on Monday to plan a possible removal.
Despite media briefings at 8 a.m. Friday that the Chancellor had the Prime Minister’s full support, Mr. Kwarteng cut his trip to the US a day short to fly back to the UK, and was disqualified by Ms. Truss fired almost as soon as he got back to London yesterday.
Pressure had been mounting on Liz Truss for days to take action after markets were in turmoil over the Chancellor’s unfunded mini-budget announcement.
Runners and Riders: Who Could Replace Liz Truss as Prime Minister?
Current odds: 17/10
Rishi Sunak is the clear favorite to take over as Prime Minister if Liz Truss is forced out by MPs. He came second in the Conservative leadership contest and led from the start in the number of MPs who supported him.
Current odds: 5/1
She may have lost in the final round of MPs’ votes, but Penny Mordaunt was hugely popular during the early stages of the leadership race, with more supporters than Truss until the final round.
Since then, she has played a prominent role as leader of the House of Representatives.
Current odds: 22/1
Kemi Badenoch, another defeated contender in the recent leadership elections, proved hugely popular among party members but has little experience in key cabinet positions.
Current odds: 7/1
He may have only been welcomed back yesterday, but as a two-time contender in previous leadership elections, Mr Hunt’s name is being thrown into the ring.
Current odds: 12/1
The current defense secretary was not in this year’s election contest, despite expectations that he would. Partly because of this, he is now a possible figurehead of the unit.
Current odds: 12/1
Many critics of Boris Johnson called for him to leave for months before finally being forced to leave earlier this year. But even some of those who supported his departure are now wondering if Liz Truss is any worse, and a return to Johnson could be a smart move.
Current odds: 90/1
As a former prime minister, Theresa May is extremely unlikely to lead the country again. But some conservatives think she could make a good janitor prime minister as someone with previous work experience.
Critics have said she has made Mr Kwarteng a scapegoat for the policies she based her campaign on to become the next prime minister.
The government had already been forced to make a very damaging climb down after announcing it would abolish the 45p income tax on those earning more than £150,000.
Many MPs, even conservatives, said this was a bad choice, given the cost of living that is rocking the country.
In a news conference on Friday, she told the nation she was scrapping its corporate tax freeze plan — and that it will rise from 19 percent to 25 percent as previously planned.
The measure will save the government £18bn a year, but is no end to the problem, as OBR forecasts delivered to No. 10 today show a looming £60bn black hole in UK finances, according to reports.
It was unclear late Friday whether such drastic action could be enough to keep her in Downing Street, as markets remained jittery and reports of Tory MPs colluding intensely to replace her.
After three weeks of financial market turmoil in the wake of Kwasi Kwarteng’s £43 billion mini-budget, Ms Truss ended days of frenzied speculation by forcing her friend to resign and dropping her pledge to drop the planned increase, to nullify. in Corporation, a central part of its leadership campaign.
The U-turn will especially hurt Mrs. Truss, as it means that the plan of Rishi Sunak, her rival in the lead, will go through.
During the brief press conference in Downing Street on Friday, she had rejected calls for her resignation, saying she was “absolutely determined to deliver on what I promised”.
It came as she also signaled new pressures on government spending that “would grow less rapidly than previously planned” ahead of the medium-term budget plan on October 31 – when Mr Hunt will now set out how he plans to keep public finances in check. to get back on track.
“Obviously parts of our mini-budget have moved further and faster than the markets expected, so the way we run our mission now needs to change,” she said.
“We will do whatever it takes to ensure that debt as a share of the economy declines in the medium term.”
Mr Kwarteng has sent a letter to the public to Liz Truss after he was forced to leave, saying he was “asked to resign”.
The letter pointed out that he has always supported ‘your vision’ for the UK, a thinly veiled jab at the decision to replace him with policies he made directly with the Prime Minister.
Former Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt is now stepping into the role, which some Tory MPs say is a ‘safe’ choice, but the public is still unconvinced.
In a quick poll Friday night, YouGov found that two in five Britons believe Mr Hunt will do poorly, while just 14 percent expect him to do well.
Potential runners and riders to replace Liz Truss: (LR, top line first) Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson, Ben Wallace, Kemi Badenoch and Theresa May
Britons won’t have long to wait to judge, as the new chancellor is expected to conduct a round of interviews on Saturday to outline the government’s new plans.
Some MPs, including cabinet ministers, are already holding informal talks about the possibility of installing a new leader with ‘consensus’.
One said, ‘If this is going to work, we need to make it less about the leader – be it Rishi. is [Sunak] or Penny [Mordaunt] or anyone else – and more about the team.
“We must try to form a united front and put together a team of all talents. And we have to avoid a competition.’
Miss Truss’ actions yesterday, coupled with her clumsy demeanor during a perfunctory press conference, seemed to harden the opposition. A former cabinet minister told the Daily Mail: ‘You can’t fire your chancellor for carrying out your own policies and then try to pretend the mess you’ve made has nothing to do with you.’
Another former MP said: ‘I have not found a single colleague who now thinks that Liz Truss should stay.’
Former leader William Hague claimed the prime minister’s presidency “hangs by a thread” after a “catastrophic episode”.
A Savanta ComRes poll last night found that 52 percent thought the prime minister was right to fire her chancellor, but 71 percent thought she would be unable to regain public trust.
Loyal MPs on Friday night urged party colleagues to reconsider attempting to oust Ms Truss, who is theoretically safe for another year from a leadership vote under the rules of the backbench 1922 committee.
But there is speculation that conspirators may promote a candidate for unity and avoid a competition or even convince the head of the 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady, to tell Mrs Truss it is time for her to go.
The Welsh Minister Sir Robert Buckland, appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions programme, warned: “I think if we start leaving gays, and throw another prime minister to the wolves, we’ll have to deal with get more delay, more debate, more instability.”
But even staunch MP Sir Christopher Chope had some harsh words for his party leader after defending her on Thursday and ruling out any reversal. “I feel let down, very much let down.
And I expressed my disbelief at what I heard today because it totally contradicts everything the Prime Minister stood for when she was elected,” he told BBC Newsnight.