Kwasi Kwarteng out as UK Chancellor
Kwasi Kwarteng is no longer chancellor, the BBC has reported.
This comes after speculation that the British Prime Minister, Liz Truss will on Friday announce a U-turn on parts of the mini-budget.
With his sacking, it means Kwarteng is the second shortest-serving UK chancellor on record.
The shortest serving chancellor, Iain Macleod, died of a heart attack 30 days after taking the job in 1970.
Since 2019, the UK has had four chancellors, including Nadhim Zahawi who served the third shortest tenure with 63 days during a short-lived reshuffle under Boris Johnson, and Sajid Javid who served 204 days – the fourth shortest tenure since the Second World War.
Here’s a quick recap of his political career:
- Like Truss, a member of the “class of 2010”, elected into Spelthorne, Surrey, when the Conservatives gained power in the general election that year
- Co-authored a controversial 2012 book, Britannia Unchained, with Truss and others, which suggested British workers were “idlers” – a view from which he later distanced himself
- Backed Leave in the 2016 EU referendum
- Became business secretary in the government of Boris Johnson, which was seen as a reward for backing Johnson’s leadership bid
- Also backed Liz Truss in her own 2022 leadership campaign and was described as the PM’s political soulmate before being made her finance minister
- Presented a mini-budget on 23 September which pledged £45bn of tax cuts, funded by borrowing, which was followed by market turbulence and an intervention from Bank of England
Analysis: PM will want to appoint new chancellor before facing questions
Superlatives get overused in political reporting, but this is genuinely astonishing.
Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng are old friends, and from the same wing of the Conservative Party.
What they have attempted in policy terms is at the core of their outlook on politics.
And yet their entire political programme rests above the shredder, and now the chancellor is out.
Out after less than 40 days.
And a news conference in Downing Street beckons, at a time of financial instability, and the UK does not have a chancellor of the exchequer.
The prime minister will not want to face questions until she can answer the one about who runs the Treasury.
Some in the party are arguing that the key thing she should be looking for in a new chancellor is instant credibility, to steady the markets.
There are two people who are former chancellors on the Conservative backbenches.
But one is called Rishi Sunak, so we can rule him out of wanting to come back, and the other is Sajid Javid.
But Truss may go for a close ally – what about the Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey, or Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke?
Anticipating Kwasi Kwarteng’s sacking last night, one senior figure cautioned against it.
“If as prime minister you remove a lightning rod, don’t be surprised if rather more flashes of it end up striking you instead.”
Let’s see what happens next.
Pound falls sharply on Kwarteng news
Money & Work reporter
The value of the pound has fallen sharply in the past half an hour after reports emerged that Kwasi Kwarteng is no longer chancellor.
Sterling is now back below $1.12, trading 1.3% lower than it was.
The pound rallied strongly yesterday after rumours of a planned U-turn on elements of Kwarteng’s so-called mini-budget.