British Prime Minister Liz Truss speaks amid crisis of confidence

British Prime Minister Liz Truss speaks amid crisis of confidence

In the hot seat after just 38 days in power, British Prime Minister Liz Truss is set to hold a press conference on Friday afternoon after her finance minister rushed back to London amid a crisis caused by the government’s controversial budgetary measures.

The prime minister, whose government appears poised to implode, will speak in a particularly tense context. According to the British press, some MPs from his own camp are already maneuvering to oust him amid disastrous polls that herald a crushing defeat for the majority ahead of the next general election scheduled for 2024.

As a sign of tension, late in the morning the permanent news channels broadcast live the landing of the British Airways plane at London’s Heathrow Airport, which was supposed to carry Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng.

The latter was in Washington for the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank but returned a day earlier than expected.

After “fruitful talks” he must “continue work on the medium-term budget planning,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance told the AFP news agency.

His budget announced on September 23, which envisages tens of billions of dollars in tax cuts without clear funding, has destabilized markets, dumped the pound and severely weakened Liz Truss’s government.

Mr. Kwarteng, who said on Thursday he would still be “100 percent” in a month’s time, normally has to explain on October 31 how he will finance his venture.

On Friday, the chairman of Parliament’s finance committee, Mel Stride, called for a speedy overhaul of his “mini-budget”.

“We have reached a stage where we need a very strong signal to the markets (to show that) fiscal credibility has returned firmly,” he told the BBC.

“Do it now,” he advised the Treasury Secretary, “and make sure it’s meaningful, firm, bold and persuasive.”

The withdrawal of a planned increase in corporate income tax is particularly in the crosshairs.

Political confidence is also at an all-time low.

– “Disastrous Idea” –

While the Conservative Congress was already riddled with internal tensions and disagreements earlier this month, some elected Conservatives are now privately naming names for Liz Truss’s replacement.

A Rishi Sunak-Penny Mordaunt ticket, two candidates Ms Truss beat in the Downing Street race would be mentioned, according to the press.

Mr Sunak, a former finance minister, was the Tory MPs’ preferred candidate but the final decision rested with party members, who elected Ms Truss in early September, who then ousted the Sunak camp from government.

Brits, who have faced skyrocketing mortgage rates in recent weeks, are losing confidence and patience.

50% want the Conservative Party to replace Ms. Truss. Almost half (43%) of voters who voted for the Conservative Party in the last election also want a new prime minister. According to a YouGov poll for The Times published Thursday night, 66% believe party members made the wrong choice.

On Friday morning Downing Street appeared ready to do nothing and Trade Secretary Greg Hands said there was “absolutely no plan to change anything on the mini-budget”.

“The Prime Minister and Finance Minister are absolutely committed to sticking with their growth plan,” he said on LBC radio.

“A change in leadership would be a politically and economically disastrous idea,” Secretary of State James Cleverly warned on Thursday.

One of the Labor opposition leaders, Ed Miliband, meanwhile, has criticized a “collapsing government and torn economic policies”. “Honestly, I think the Conservative Party should be ashamed of what they are doing to the country,” he told Sky News.

Reference: www.guadeloupe.franceantilles.fr

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