Truss quits, Tories begin hunt for new PM - GulfToday

Truss quits, Tories begin hunt for new PM


Liz Truss.

Political pundits can now say with confidence that they knew that Liz Truss who won the Conservative Party leadership contest only last month, had to admit that her economic programme failed and she had lost the confidence of the Conservative Party in the House of Commons. The short duration – 44 days – of her prime ministerial term was quite rocky ever since her first finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng presented a budget with its tax cuts, especially for those in the higher income bracket had spooked the British markets, pulling down the British pound to dangerous lows. The reason behind the market panic was the fact that the tax cuts were not backed by any proof of how the government would manage with empty coffers. She was, however, committed to give relief to the people on their energy bills by increasing the subsidy. But again, this promise was not backed by proof of how government intended to fulfil the promise. It looked like that Truss went headlong into the vortex of an economic crisis hoping to come out of it miraculously. It was a gamble and it failed.

It is easy to explain as to why Truss failed to do her job as prime minister and head of government. She seemed too sure that as a self-proclaimed Conservative she knew exactly what is to be to fix the economy. The standard Conservative solution of lowering taxes, especially for those who are rich, is standard laissez faire economics, and the argument is based on the assumption that the big businesses with the money in their pockets because of the tax rebates would spend it on new investments and ventures, create jobs and help the economy grow. But the people most angry with this Conservative abracadabra were the Conservatives themselves. At the Conseravtive Party conference held soon after the Budget was announced, party members went into a paroxysm as it were at what seemed Truss’ irrational exuberance. Unable to face the wrath of fellow-Conservatives who had voted for her weeks before, she sacked her finance minister Kwarteng. She seemed to have believed that she had to serve up Kwarteng as the sacrificial goat as it were to save her job. The replacement of Kwarteng, Jeremy Hunt, a supporter of Rishi Sunak, the finance minister in former prime minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet, had seemed to literally throw Truss to the wolves by his arrogant statements that all that the Truss did was wrong and it had to be scrapped. A man brought in to save the government turned out to be its demolition man.

Truss has not ground to stand on, and it was inevitable that she had to announce her resignation. But she remained forthright and honest. She told Parliament that she made mistakes. Candour and honesty have not really helped her. The fact that she was only too willing to retrace her steps should have saved her from the fall. And Hunt should have remedied the situation and saved the Truss government. It looks like that Hunt came into the government to undermine the Truss government and he did. But then politics is a cruel game. It should not come as a surprise if the British media were to dig up facts to show how Hunt, backed by Sunak, had planned the fall of Truss, and how quickly he succeeded. There is speculation that the contest will be between Sunak and Penny Mordaunt to succeed Truss, and it is not being ruled out that Johnson may contest for the election as leader of the party once again. The Conservative merry-go-round is not amusing either to the people of the United Kingdom or to the Western world facing economic turmoil.


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