LONDON - 14 October 2022: British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Friday dismissed her finance minister, forcing Kwasi Kwarteng to carry the can for turmoil sparked by her right-wing economic platform as restive Conservatives plotted her own demise, the Guardian reported.
The chancellor of the exchequer was dismissed in person by Truss after he rushed back early from international meetings in Washington, multiple media reports said, and she was due later to hold her first Downing Street news conference.
There was no immediate announcement of his successor, who will become Britain’s fourth finance minister this year.
Financial upheaval sparked by the new government’s September 23 plan to slash taxes — financed via billions in more borrowing — has subsided somewhat since the Bank of England intervened in bond markets.
But the central bank was adamant it would end its bond-buying spree on Friday, and market analysts said only a bigger climbdown by Truss following Kwarteng’s disastrous budget announcement last month would avert fresh panic.
No timing was given for Truss’s news conference, but the announcement underscored the sense of peril as some Conservative MPs reportedly mobilized to unseat the new leader just five weeks since she succeeded Boris Johnson.
Kwarteng was due to conclude annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington this weekend, after earning a rebuke from IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva on the need for “coherent and consistent” policies.
A Treasury spokesman confirmed Kwarteng had cut short the trip “to continue work on his medium-term fiscal plan” due on October 31, after Truss held hurried meetings with her own financial advisors on Thursday in his absence.
As UK broadcasters showed live footage of Kwarteng’s British Airways plane landing at Heathrow airport, government bond yields eased in a sign that markets did expect a volte-face.
Speculation was rife that Truss would row back on planned changes to corporation tax, having already changed her mind about cutting income tax for the highest earners