Liz Truss in agonising pause before trying to justify sacking her chancellor
The former Tory leader said she had to push out Kwasi Kwarteng to “indicate that things were different” as she received “very serious warnings” from her officials that a potential market meltdown was imminent.
In a filmed interview with The Spectator, the magazine’s editor Fraser Nelson asked why Kwarteng had to go if he and Truss “didn’t disagree on anything”.
Truss replied: “You know, I’m… I can’t say it was anything but extremely difficult. But he was in Washington at the time, at the IMF meeting and I was getting some very serious warnings from senior officials that, you know, there could be a potential market meltdown the following week, if I didn’t take action.
Liz Truss: I agreed with everything that Kwasi Kwarteng did.
Reporter: Why did you sack him?
Liz Truss: … pic.twitter.com/CcZlBR0WVl
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) February 6, 2023
“And I needed to do as much as I could to indicate that things were different and that’s why I took the decision I did.
“And I weighed it up, I weighed it up in my mind about whether I needed to do that. But the reality was I couldn’t in all conscience risk that situation.”
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It comes amid what is being seen as an attempted political comeback for Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister, who was forced out after just 49 days.
She dismissed Kwarteng, with whom she had cooked up her disastrous financial plans, on October 14 – and resigned just under two weeks later.
The former chancellor’s sacking was a dramatic move and came after his mini-budget which promised tax cuts funded by government borrowing and which was announced, unusually, without an independence financial forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility.
This spooked markets and saw a sharp fall in the value of sterling against the dollar and almost all of its contents were scrapped by the current Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt.
Truss railed against the “powerful economic establishment” and blamed other forces such as a “lack of political support” from Conservative MPs for her failed turn as PM in a 4000-word essay penned for The Sunday Telegraph.