Tory MPs predict Jeremy Hunt to become ‘caretake Prime Minister’

Liz Truss announces Jeremy Hunt as the new chancellor

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Liz Truss dramatically sacked chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and ditched one of his key tax-cutting measures as she attempted to shore up her faltering premiership. After three weeks of turmoil on the financial markets in the wake of Mr Kwarteng’s £43 billion mini-budget tax giveaway, the Prime Minister acknowledged “the way we are delivering our mission right now has to change”. But the Spectator deputy political editor Katy Balls has revealed Jeremy Hunt may become the leader in the “most likely outcome”.

Speaking to The News Agents podcast, Ms Balls said: “I think you can look at what’s happened to Kwasi Kwarteng and there’s a question whether not establishing your own power base.

“It doesn’t really serve Kwasi Kwarteng really well.

“Is Jeremy Hunt an experience operator, an experienced former cabinet minister going to behave differently, what loyalty does he have to Liz Truss.”

She added: “I was getting messages from Tory MPs saying they now think the most likely outcome if this all ends is Jeremy Hunt is caretaker Prime Minister because he’s in that position.”

While Mr Hunt’s appointment was welcomed by some Tory MPs as “an experienced pair of hands”, some questioned why Mr Kwarteng was the one who had to go when he was pursuing policies Ms Truss advocated in her leadership campaign.

At a hastily arranged news conference in Downing Street, Ms Truss dismissed calls for her resignation, saying she is “absolutely determined to see through what I have promised”.

As had been widely predicted, she announced she is abandoning Mr Kwarteng’s commitment to drop the planned rise in corporation tax from 19 percent to 25 percent – even though it was a central plank of her leadership campaign – saving the Exchequer £18 billion a year.

She also signalled a new squeeze on public spending which would “grow less rapidly than previously planned”.

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Ms Truss described it as a “down payment” on the medium-term fiscal plan on October 31 – when Mr Hunt will now set out how he intends to get the public finances back on track – suggesting further measures to plug the estimated £60 billion black hole created by the mini-budget will have to follow.

“It is clear that parts of our mini-budget went further and faster than markets were expecting, so the way we are delivering our mission right now has to change,” she said.

“We will do whatever is necessary to ensure debt is falling as a share of the economy in the medium term.”

Voters appeared to endorse her decision, with a snap poll by YouGov revealing that 49 percent of voters said that Ms Truss was right to sack her chancellor.


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Publicly too, Cabinet ministers tweeted support for Ms Truss and her new chancellor.

Welsh Secretary Sir Robert Buckland, during an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions programme, was laughed at by the audience when he called the current situation “difficult”.

“I think if we start with gay abandon, throwing another prime minister to the wolves, we’re going to be faced with more delay, more debate, more instability,” he warned.

But the reaction from party grandees was withering, with former leader Lord Hague warning that Ms Truss’s premiership “hangs by a thread”.

“It’s been a catastrophic episode,” he told Times Radio.

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