Is Prime Minister Liz Truss still in charge of the UK government?


Britain’s new finance minister scrapped the remaining elements of Prime Minister Liz Truss’s tax policy on Monday, a move that appeared to have reassured markets but left many wondering who is now in charge of the government.

Truss remained on the sidelines while Jeremy Hunt – a political rival chosen on Friday for a higher cabinet position – announced that the government would not cut taxes, but instead allow them to increase.

Truss left it to Commons leader Benny Mordaunt, another contender, to defend the government’s vicissitudes in Parliament, as opposition MPs and some rebellious politicians from the ruling Conservative Party called on the prime minister to resign after just six weeks. Desk. It was another disastrous day for Truss.

Liz Truss sacks finance minister while reversing policies that have flooded the British pound

Labor leader Keir Starmer defended that Truss was “in office but not in power”.

“Where’s the prime minister?” Starmer asked rhetorically. “Hide, evade questions, afraid of her shadow.”

Some commentators are talking about when she will leave, not if. A British newspaper is broadcasting live on the head of iceberg lettuce It is placed next to a picture of gears and asks which one will last longer.

An editorial in the Sunday Times declared: “Terse has shattered the Conservative Party’s reputation for fiscal competence and humiliated Britain on the international stage.”

The editorial continued, “Top Conservatives must now act in the national interest and get her out of Downing Street as quickly as possible,” while also calling Hunt “the de facto prime minister.”

Hunt is a moderate conservative who is considered a safe pair, although he lost twice in contests to lead his party. He assured the country that Truss was “in charge”.

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“It is the most challenging form of leadership to accept the decision you have made that must be changed,” he told Parliament. “And the Prime Minister did that, and she did it because she understands the importance of economic stability, and I respect her for that.”

Why compare Britain’s prime minister to lettuce?

Truss has been installed in Downing Street as the choice of the 160,000 due-paying Conservative Party members – about 0.3 per cent of the population. The plan to grow through tax cuts that helped advance her candidacy, and drew admiring comparisons to Margaret Thatcher, is now utterly destroyed.

Tax cuts for the wealthy have not gone down well with the public facing record inflation and soaring bills. But the government’s turnaround had much more to do with bond traders, who were horrified by the level of borrowing the plan required.

Hunt came after two of the most controversial parts of the plan were scrapped. And he’s still pumping the brakes hard, assuring that debt and spending will be the new passwords.

“We will reflect nearly all of the tax measures announced in the growth plan three weeks ago,” Hunt said. “I’m afraid there will be more difficult decisions on both taxes and spending as we deliver on our commitment to declining debt as a share of the economy over the medium term.”

Hunt also announced that the People’s Government’s plan to help pay household energy bills – a “historic policy that supports millions of people during a difficult winter” – would not last for two years but only until April. The government would then move to a “new approach” that would “cost the taxpayer much less”.

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Markets were accepting the government’s backtracking. The falling British pound stabilized. The country’s leading stock index, the FTSE 100, is up. And the cost of government borrowing has been dropping – though still higher than it was before Truss took over.

But British politics remains in turmoil.

With no general election in sight, two polls published on Monday showed Labor with a more than 30-point lead over the Conservatives.

“Who voted for this?” Banners appeared at the protests and in the social media channels of opposition deputies.

There is resentment among conservatives, too.

“Her political position is absolutely untenable,” said Jonathan Tong, professor of politics at the University of Liverpool. “In any reasonable democracy it would have gone now.”

“She campaigned on a program of tax cuts, a rush of growth and supply-side reform — every element of that was unpacked by Jeremy Hunt,” he said. If Truss survives, “it’s only because the Tory greats can’t agree on a replacement.”

Conservatives are known for mercilessly abandoning their leaders. Boris Johnson won a landslide victory in the 2019 general election, but after scandals – and the Conservatives plummeting in the polls – he was forced to resign. Truss’s personal poll ratings were worse than they had ever been, and her party’s poll ratings were down.

People would look “extremely confused” if the party organizes another leadership contest soon, prominent Conservative Damian Green admitted on BBC Radio 4. But asked if he wanted to lead the party’s cogs when the next general election was held, Green offered only back support. “If it leads us to the next election, it means that the next two years have been much more successful than the past four weeks.”

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Getting the governors to wrap themselves around someone to replace Gears can really be a challenge.

Although Hunt has had a solid role, he’s hardly a rising star inside the party. He was badly beaten by Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership contest and was eliminated in the first round of voting last summer after receiving just 18 votes from his fellow lawmakers.

A Conservative wing would like to see the top job pass to former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, runner-up in the summer leadership contest. Many of his economic predictions turned out to be wise. But Johnson’s loyalists hate him and accuse him of leading the revolution that toppled the last prime minister. Conservative lawmakers may invite other problems if they undermine the party’s grassroots base by promoting the snack.

Mordaunt, the most popular among the grassroots, is discussed as another contender. I wrote In the Sunday TelegraphHowever, this was not the time to change prime ministers. “Our country needs stability, not the TV series,” she said.

Over the weekend, a reporter asked President Biden what he thought of Truss’ plan he had to back off.

Usually, US presidents don’t comment on an ally’s budget, but Biden puts his weight on it, saying, “Well, that’s to be expected. I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a mistake.”

He added: “I think the idea of ​​cutting taxes on the wealthy at a time – anyway, I just think – I disagree with the policy, but it’s up to Great Britain to make that judgment, not me.”

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