Kwasi Quarting has been sacked as Britain’s finance minister after weeks of turmoil over his mini-budget. He will be replaced by former Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt. The question is whether the position of Prime Minister and Quarting’s spiritual colleague Liz Truss can be defended for much longer.
Unexpectedly, Kwarteng returned to London from Washington, D.C. Thursday night for an emergency meeting with Truss. The prime minister planned to withdraw a significant portion of Kwarteng’s controversial small budget again, this time promising to roll back a planned corporate tax increase. The press will address this matter later today. With the budget adjustment, there is little left of the economic policy of the Truss government, which took power at the beginning of September. Truss campaigned in the run-up to the Conservative leadership election promising to cut taxes.
In a resignation letter addressed to Truss, Kwarteng continues to support his fiscal policy. “Following the status quo was not an option,” he writes. “This country has been haunted by low growth rates and high taxes for too long – this must change if this country is to succeed.”
He just took over as UK chancellor and is already controversial: Who is Kwasi Quarting?
On Friday afternoon, Jeremy Hunt was immediately appointed as the new finance minister. He is the fourth person to hold this position in three months. Hunt previously headed the departments of State, Culture and Health.
Quarting’s departure makes Truss’s premiership very unstable. Truss and Kwarting have been good friends and soul mates for years. The budget that caused a stir in the bond market was a joint venture. It is unclear how Truss will recover from this political defeat. A coup is already being prepared within the Conservative Party, with the appointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister. This former Treasury secretary often warned of Truss’s extremist plans and was her main contender in the leadership election.
As the Conservative Party discusses plans to get her out, Truss is looking for a new Treasurer, the fourth in three months. Former ministers Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid are named. The departure of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (official title: Second Lord of the Treasury) usually has dire consequences for the Prime Minister (First Lord of the Treasury). In early July, the resignation of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak led to the downfall of Boris Johnson.
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