Truss Government Teeters on the Brink

A week after the sacking of Kwasi Kwarteng, chaotic scenes in the House of Commons last night suggest political change is imminent

Alliance News 20 October, 2022 | 9:45AM
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Liz Truss outside Downing Street

UK prime minister Liz Truss's government is teetering on the brink of collapse after another chaotic day which saw the acrimonious resignation of her home secretary, mayhem in the Commons over a fracking vote, and confusion over whether the chief and deputy chief whip had quit.

Suella Braverman lashed out at Truss's "tumultuous" premiership as she quit as home secretary and accused the government of "breaking key pledges".

The exodus appeared to continue with speculation that chief whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker walked out after a last-minute U-turn on a threat to strip the whip from Conservative members of Parliament if they backed a Labour challenge over fracking. Labour's motion was defeated by a 96 MP majority.

The farcical scenes in the House of Commons, with allegations of manhandling and intimidation by Tory whips, have been condemned as "inexcusable" and an "absolute disgrace", by Charles Walker, a former vice-chair of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs.

Sterling is weaker again against the dollar on Thursday morning, while gilt yields are back up again. The 10-year yield is at 3.96% and the now closely watched 30-year yield is at 4%. UK markets are largely unchanged on yesterday's close.

Ratings agency DBRS Morningstar has put UK government debt Under Review with Negative Implications. It cited "the absence of clarity on the UK fiscal plans, concerns about UK policies, ongoing and considerable turmoil in the UK government bond market". A downgrade to the current AA (high) rating could occur if "the recent deterioration in the UK government’s policy credibility and predictability has a lasting impact, additional shocks have a more material adverse impact on the economy and fiscal accounts, diminishing the UK’s financing flexibility, or (3) the likelihood of a break-up of the UK materially increases", DBRS said.

Exit Braverman

Her exit comes just five days after Truss sacked Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor, meaning she has lost two people from the four great offices of state within her first six weeks in office.

Braverman, a former attorney general, only became home secretary on September 6 when Truss brought her in to replace Priti Patel.

Her tenure as home secretary has been controversial, having accused Tory critics who successfully forced Truss into U-turning over plans to scrap the top rate of income tax of a "coup".

Grant Shapps, who has taken over as home secretary, was one of the leading voices urging the prime minister to backtrack on the widely criticised plan during the Tory party conference earlier this month.

Braverman, a former attorney general, only became home secretary on September 6 when Truss brought her in to replace Priti Patel.



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