Kwasi Kwarteng swipes that Truss has bought herself ‘weeks’ as PM

Kwasi Kwarteng sacked as Chancellor by Liz Truss

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Kwasi Kwarteng has hit out at Liz Truss, saying she’ll last a matter of “weeks” as Prime Minister after she sacked him on Friday. It came as the PM performed a sensational U-turn on then-Chancellor Kwarteng’s much maligned mini-budget. It remains unclear whether such drastic actions could be enough to keep Liz Truss in Downing Street, with the markets remaining jittery and reports of Tory MPs plotting intensely to replace her. After three weeks of turmoil on the financial markets in the wake of Mr Kwarteng’s £43 billion tax giveaway, Ms Truss ended days of frenzied speculation by forcing her friend out of office and scrapping her commitment to drop the planned rise in corporation tax from 19 percent to 25 percent, a central plank of her leadership campaign.

In a swipe at the Prime Minister, Mr Kwarteng has reportedly told a close ally of his that Ms Truss now only has a “few weeks” before she will be forced to resign. 

Jeremy Hunt, twice a Tory leadership contender and a former foreign secretary, has been parachuted in as a safe pair of hands in Number 11.

Later on Saturday, he will make his first set of media appearances as he seeks to shore up political and economic confidence in the administration.

Allies of Mr Hunt on Friday were suggesting that he would now be the “chief executive” in Government – making Ms Truss “chairman”.

At a brief news conference in Downing Street on Friday, she had dismissed calls for her resignation, saying she is “absolutely determined to see through what I have promised”.

It is still to be determined whether Friday’s embarrassing U-turn will be enough to turn things around, with multiple reports of Tory MPs and Conservative grandees plotting moves to force her from office even as Cabinet ministers remained publicly loyal to the Prime Minister.

The Times newspaper even cited a source apparently close to Mr Kwarteng suggesting that Ms Truss may only have bought herself a few more weeks in office.

The source said: “Kwasi thinks it only buys her a few more weeks.

“His view is that the wagons are still going to circle.”

To many observers, it appeared that the end could be nigh for the Prime Minister after only a few weeks in the job.

Former leader Lord Hague warned that Ms Truss’s premiership “hangs by a thread”, while Conservative former chancellor Lord Hammond said the events of the past weeks had wrecked the party’s reputation for fiscal discipline.

Loyal MPs on Friday night were urging party colleagues to think again about any bid to oust Ms Truss, who is theoretically safe from a leadership vote for another year under the rules of the backbench 1922 Committee.

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Welsh Secretary Sir Robert Buckland, appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions programme, warned: “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.”

But even the staunchly loyal 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 badly let down. And I expressed disbelief at what I heard today because it’s totally inconsistent with everything that the Prime Minister stood for when she was elected,” he told BBC Newsnight.

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