Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng has been sensationally sacked as Chancellor, just thirty-eight days after being appointed.
His tenure is reported to be among the swiftest in British political history despite many correctly predicting his eventual demise, with many also believing that the Prime Minister herself could be next.
After a disastrous and humiliating U-turn of the proposed mini-budget, many MPs had already made up their minds that Kwarteng was simply not the man for the job. His ideas proved to be too unpopular for most Tory MPs and for the markets.
Initially, the Treasury was happy with his plans but a fierce backlash followed soon after, which eventually descended into open revolt against the former Chancellor, it also resulted in a record surge in Labour votes.
The mutinous atmosphere was reportedly mainly due to Kwarteng’s seemingly tone-deaf response to political reality (such as proposing more tax cuts) and his stubbornness towards altering his plans.
According to the Times, Kwarteng flew back to the UK from Washington not knowing he was about to be sacked, having read about his demise from the Times themselves before Liz Truss formally informed him, since then, Jeremy Hunt has now taken the position of Chancellor.
The Conservative implosion continues
The speed at which Kwarteng’s sacking came perfectly encapsulates the imploding Conservative Party. Make no mistake about it; it was a matter of when, and not if, Kwarteng would be given his marching orders.
Within six weeks, a replacement for arguably the third most powerful position in the country has already been made. It is a testament to how truly shambolic the Conservative Party has been in recent months, Kwarteng was undone by his tone-deaf policies and his unwillingness to change them. His decision to scrap the 45p tax rate in itself was ill-timed at best, at a time when energy bills are skyrocketing and the cost of living crisis is affecting so many.
Since Jeremy Hunt has come in, he has immediately reversed all previous tax cuts that Kwarteng made. Many consider him to be not only the right man for the job, but the de facto Prime Minister, as Liz Truss’ ratings continue to plummet, it would be interesting to find out who actually considers Truss to be in charge, irrespective of her actual position.
Truss and Kwarteng’s political leanings are, for the most part, identical. They have been close friends for many years. If one has gone, it would only make sense for the other to go as well. Of course, it’s not as easy to simply sack a Prime Minister. There are steps to be taken before that stage, but many MPs have already started to revolt.
Truss could not even make it to PMQ’s in mid-October (leaving Penny Mordaunt to defend her) where she was accused of ‘dodging questions’ by Sir Keir Starmer, for Rishi Sunak his team and his voters, this is vindication.
Can the Conservatives survive?
Simply put, Liz Truss has to either own her mistakes and proceed with the tasks at hand or resign with immediate effect.
Her Cabinet’s recent blunders and U-turns, combined with a lack of faith from members of her party, make her position seemingly untenable.
Truss looks timid and unsure of herself. Within six weeks of taking office, her plans have been reversed and, if recent reports are to be believed, more than 100 MPs are preparing to sign a letter of no-confidence in her leadership.
Liz Truss’ current position is hanging by a thread of uncertainty that reflects years of internal conflict within the Conservative party. Tory MPs are sceptical of the prospect of another lengthy leadership race within the party. Ben Wallace, Penny Mordaunt, and former PM candidate Rishi Sunak are names that have been floating about on social media to replace Ms. Truss’ as Prime Minister.
However, their candidacy would also prove difficult amidst the turmoil within the membership. Robert Halfon a senior Conservative backbencher has warned that a general election would result in a “bloodbath” for this party, the Conservative Party must get its act together if it wishes to remain in power.