Truss makes ‘last throw of dice’ as PM desperate to ‘buy more time’

Liz Truss: Today's actions were 'last throw of the dice' says Rigby

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The Conservative mini-budget has sparked chaos in the markets and huge backlash from the opposition as well as murmurs of a revolt within the Tory Party itself. In a pivotal moment amid the economic turmoil, the Prime Minister has removed Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor and replaced him with influential backbencher Jeremy Hunt. Political commentators have described the decision as the “last throw of the dice” for Liz Truss as she hopes to drive party unity and stabilise the turbulent UK economic situation.

Speaking on Sky News, political editor Beth Rigby said: “In terms of her survival, what we saw today was the last throw of the dice for her to try and survive.

“From a Downing Street perspective, her supporters are saying Jeremy Hunt being appointed Chancellor buys her some time. 

“He is considered a safe pair of hands, a more experienced Cabinet Minister and he could steady the ship.

“There are also people talking about the idea that he can rein her in, or that he is effectively like the Chief Executive of the Government, while she is the Chairman.”

Kwasi Kwarteng had become the figurehead of the disastrous mini-budget announcement and reports suggested the Prime Minister had moved to reassure market forces by sacking her “long-standing friend and colleague”.

In a letter to Liz Truss, Mr Kwarteng confirmed he had been asked to “stand aside” as Chancellor after, what he described as, the economic environment having “changed rapidly”.

Shortly after the news broke, Downing Street confirmed Jeremy Hunt had been appointed as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Hunt has previously served as Health Secretary and backed the Prime Minister’s rival, Rishi Sunak, in the Tory leadership contest across the summer.

Read more: Liz Truss makes u-turn on tax cuts – market reaction

During a Downing Street press conference today, Liz Truss confirmed the second U-turn of her short premiership as another core element of Mr Kwarteng’s mini-budget was scrapped.

The planned Corporation Tax rise to 25 percent next April will now take place, as was originally planned under Boris Johnson’s Government.

Discussing whether the measures would soothe economic backlash, Beth Rigby reported: “A lot depends on what happens in the markets in the coming days. If things don’t settle, and it’s made harder by this sense of ongoing political crisis, then she could be in real political trouble.

“The other thing to say is, regardless of the optimism from her team, every single MP, Cabinet Minister and former minister I have spoken to today has told me it is a question of when, not if, she has to go.”

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The Sky News political editor claimed sources within the Tory party had warned a “substantial number of letters” had been sent to Sir Graham Brady declaring a lack of confidence in Liz Truss.

Sir Graham Brady is Chairman of the 1922 Committee which holds the power to demand a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister, although existing rules state only one such contest can be held in a 12 month period, meaning the position of Liz Truss remains safe.

However, amid heightened frustrations in the Conservative Party, there has been suggestions that the influential committee of backbench MPs could change the rules to enable a confidence vote to take place.

Under standard rules, it requires 15 percent of the parliamentary party to force a vote, meaning 53 MPs would have to submit official letters to Sir Graham Brady outlining their concerns in the Prime Minister’s leadership.

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