Kwasi Kwarteng sacked as Chancellor by Liz Truss
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After weeks of political turmoil following the unveiling of Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget, the Prime Minister has sacked the Chancellor after just 38 days in the role. His Growth Plan 2022 was only unveiled on September 23 and forced an unprecedented Bank of England (BoE) intervention to save the collapsing pound.
It was criticised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Amid the lowest polling numbers witnessed by the Conservative Party in more than two decades, last Monday the Chancellor U-turned on his highly controversial proposal to scrap the 45 percent rate of income tax.
As rumours of a rebellion within Tory ranks grew ever-louder, many believe Ms Truss was left with little choice, but do you think the Prime Minister was right to fire the Chancellor? Vote in our poll.
On Friday, Mr Kwarteng reportedly left the annual meeting of the IMF in Washington DC early so he could fly back to London for a meeting with the Prime Minister. A further U-turn on one of the Government’s tax-cutting policies was expected, but the Chancellor was sacked instead.
Ms Truss’s move was seen as a bid to save her premiership, as just days after Jacob Rees-Mogg held a meeting with Tory MPs to persuade them not to side with Sir Keir Starmer in the fracking debate, plots to replace her with Rishi Sunak or Penny Mordaunt surfaced from the backbenches.
The Chancellor had been due to publish the Government’s medium-term fiscal plan on October 31 – which was expected to outline how the Conservatives would fund the tax cuts set out in the mini-budget.
Returning to the backbenches, the MP for Spelthorne in Surrey becomes the second-shortest serving chancellor in modern times – lasting a matter of weeks longer than Iain Macleod who died of a heart-attack after just a month in the role in 1970.
This comes as the latest YouGov polling, conducted earlier this week, showed the Tories trailing Labour by 27 points, on 23 percent to 51 percent – only a slight improvement on the record-breaking deficit found two weeks ago.
READ MORE: Jeremy Hunt appointed new chancellor as Truss overhauls top team
In his resignation letter, Mr Kwarteng wrote: “When you asked me to serve as your Chancellor, I did so in full knowledge that the situation we faced was incredibly difficult, with rising global interest rates and energy prices.
“However, your vision of optimism, growth and change was right.” He added that “following the status quo was simply not an option.” The letter ends: “Your success is this country’s success and I wish you well.”
The Prime Minister’s reply, published shortly afterwards, called Mr Kwarteng a “long-standing friend and colleague” before emphasising his achievements in Number 11, saying: “The Energy Price Guarantee and the Energy Bill Relief scheme, which made up the largest part of the mini-budget, will stand as one of the most significant fiscal interventions in modern times.
“Thanks to your intervention, families will be able to heat their homes this winter and thousands of jobs and livelihoods will be saved.”
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Former Health Secretary and Conservative leadership contender Jeremy Hunt will take Mr Kwarteng’s place. The appointment of the MP for South West Surrey – who backed Liz Ms Truss’s rival Rishi Sunak during this summer’s Conservative leadership race – has been interpreted as a bid to restore stability.
However, speaking about Mr Kwarteng’s departure, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “Changing the Chancellor doesn’t undo the damage that’s already been done. It was a crisis made in Downing Street.”
Ms Truss announced yet another key component of the former Chancellor’s mini-budget – the scrapping of next year’s planned corporation tax hike – had also been withdrawn.
So what do YOU think? Was the Prime Minister right to sack Kwasi Kwarteng? Vote in our poll and join the debate in the comment section below.
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