Liz Truss ‘will be judged at an election’ says Jeremy Hunt
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Tory members are demanding the return of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister as his successor Liz Truss faces a turbulent first term in office. The Prime Minister won the leadership contest to replace Boris Johnson on a platform of big tax cuts to stimulate growth, which Kwasi Kwarteng duly announced last month. But the absence of any details of how the cuts would be funded sent the markets into meltdown.
She has now ditched plans to cut tax for high earners, and said a levy on business would increase, abandoning her proposal to keep it at current levels. But it is not clear if that has gone far enough to satisfy investors.
In an attempt to appease financial markets that have been in turmoil for three weeks, Truss fired Kwasi Kwarteng as her chancellor of the exchequer on Friday and scrapped parts of their controversial economic package.
With opinion poll ratings dire for both the ruling Conservative Party and the prime minister personally, and many of her own lawmakers asking, not if, but how Truss should be removed, she has turned to Hunt to help salvage her premiership less than 40 days after taking office.
A Techne UK poll for Express.co.uk revealed that voters would prefer Boris Johnson to Ms Truss while in another poll Express readers say they want the former PM back.
A petition by Claire Bullivant, founder and Editor of Conservative Post, is now calling for Boris Johnson to be reinstated as Prime Minister.
Ms Bullivant said:“After being voted for by 14 million people and giving our party an 80 seat majority, our democratically elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson was undemocratically ousted by a small cabal of MPs.
“As a publication we have supported Liz and respect her greatly but look at the polls. We need Boris back. He’s the only one that can save the party from electoral catastrophe.
“The party need supporters to deliver their leaflets, knock on doors and vote for them. And it’s Boris the people want and go the extra mile for. The support for Boris is immense.
“The people have spoken and now it’s up to the party to listen.”
Newly appointed Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said on Saturday some taxes would go up and tough spending decisions were needed, signalling further reversals from the Prime Minister.
“We will have some very difficult decisions ahead,” Mr Hunt said as he toured TV and radio studios to give a blunt assessment of the situation the country faced, saying Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng had made mistakes.
READ MORE: Boris Johnson can’t return soon enough, poll of readers finds
“The thing that people want, the markets want, the country needs now, is stability,” he said. “No chancellor can control the markets. But what I can do is show that we can pay for our tax and spending plans and that is going to need some very difficult decisions on both spending and tax.”
Mr Hunt is due to announce the government’s medium-term budget plans on October 31, in what will be a key test of its ability to show it can restore its economic policy credibility. He said further changes to Truss’s plans were possible.
“Giving certainty over public finances, how we’re going to pay for every penny that we get through the tax and spending decisions we make, those are very, very important ways that I can give certainty and help create the stability,” he said.
He cautioned spending would not rise by as much as people would like and all government departments were going to have to find more efficiencies than they were planning.
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Mr Kwarteng’s fiscal statement prompted a backlash in financial markets that was so ferocious the Bank of England (BoE) had to intervene to prevent pension funds being caught up in the chaos as borrowing costs surged.
Mr Hunt, an experienced minister and viewed by many in his party as a safe pair of hands, said he agreed with Truss’s fundamental strategy of kickstarting economic growth, adding that their approach had not worked.
“There were some mistakes made in the last few weeks. That’s why I’m sitting here. It was a mistake to cut the top rate of tax at a period when we’re asking everyone to make sacrifices,” he said.
It was also a mistake, Mr Hunt said, to “fly blind” and produce the tax plans without allowing the independent fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, to check the figures.
The fact that Hunt is Britain’s fourth finance minister in four months is testament to a political crisis that has gripped Britain since Boris Johnson was ousted following a series of scandals.
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