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Chancellor Hunt announced by No 10 Downing Street in big reversal of Truss economic policy

14 Oct 2022 3 minute read
Jeremy Hunt picture by No 10 (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Former foreign secretary and Conservative leadership contender Jeremy Hunt has been named Chancellor, Downing Street said.

It comes after Kwasi Kwarteng said he has accepted Prime Minister Liz Truss’ request he “stand aside” as Chancellor.

The move means that there have now been four Chancellors this year, with Rishi Sunak, Nadhim Zahawi and Kwasi Kwarteng all also in post.

A more centrist figure, Mr Hunt is unlikely to share Mr Kwarteng and Ms Truss’s ideological free market commitment to tax cuts.

Mr Kwarteng’s dismissal follows weeks of turmoil after his £43 billion package of unfunded tax cuts spooked the financial markets.

His departure may give Ms Truss some brief breathing space as she seeks to shore up her battered authority – but it will also raise fresh questions about her chances of survival.

The Prime Minister is closely linked to Mr Kwarteng’s tax-cutting agenda having strongly defended his plan to get the economy going again.

The commitments to reverse a hike in national insurance rates and ditch a planned rise in corporation tax, without explaining how they would be paid for, were the key planks of her leadership election campaign.

But after the financial markets took fright – with the pound plummeting against the dollar and the cost of government borrowing soaring – the Conservatives have seen their opinion poll ratings tank.

‘Agitated’

For Labour, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the whole Government had to go.

“Changing the chancellor doesn’t undo the damage that’s already been done,” she said.

“It was a crisis made in Downing Street. Liz Truss and the Conservatives crashed the economy, causing mortgages to skyrocket, and has undermined Britain’s standing on the world stage.

“We don’t just need a change in chancellor, we need a change in Government.”

Even before Mr Kwarteng’s sacking there were reports that Tory MPs were plotting to get rid of the Prime Minister amid fears she was set to lead them to certain defeat at the next general election.

There were reports that some MPs were looking to install her main rivals for the leadership – Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt – on a joint ticket at the head of a new administration.

The manoeuvring was condemned by former culture secretary Nadine Dorries who angrily accused Mr Sunak’s supporters of agitating to get rid of the Ms Truss.

She tweeted: “They agitated to remove Boris Johnson and now they will continue plotting until they get their way. It’s a plot not to remove a PM but to overturn democracy.”

Mr Kwarteng appeared to be unaware of his impending fate when he spoke to broadcasters in Washington on Thursday.

Asked if he would still be in office in a month’s time, Mr Kwarteng replied “Absolutely 100%”, adding: “I’m not going anywhere”.


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Robert Williams
Robert Williams
1 month ago

The captain has thrown the first mate to the sharks. But they’ll want more blood.

Ihumphrys
Ihumphrys
1 month ago

Hers.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

One creep gets slung overboard, only to be replaced by another creep of a slightly different political leaning. Truss must be wishing she’d never opened her big mouth.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Wow, 4 prime ministers in 6 years and God only knows how many chancellors. I cannot say I am a fan of the gang in the Senedd but they are more stable than the ones in Westminster. It is a complete shambles and they still think they are something special!!! Hurry up with independence please so we can get completely away from these inept politicians before they ruin everything. Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland should unite in the call for independence.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Here today, gone tomorrow.

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