New shocks for Liz Truss with the resignation of her Home Secretary
After six weeks at Downing Street, British Prime Minister Liz Truss entered a new zone of turmoil on Wednesday with the surprise resignation of her Home Secretary and a feverish outburst in Parliament.
Rejected by public opinion, contested by her own majority, the Conservative leader, who claims she wants to remain in office despite abandoning her economic programme, once again finds her credibility and authority weakened after a day of great nervousness in Westminster.
Less than a week after she had to sack her finance minister and close friend Kwasi Kwarteng, she lost the far-right head of the “Interior Ministry” in charge of the sensitive file on illegal Channel crossings, which are reaching record highs.
Suella Braverman, 42, said she resigned because she used her personal email address to send official documents, breaking the department code. While making her mea culpa, she made a serious charge against the Prime Minister.
In her resignation letter, Suella Braverman expressed her “serious concern” at the government’s policies, which she says are backing down on promises, particularly on the Migration Act.
She was replaced by Grant Shapps, Minister for Transport under Boris Johnson. Naming a supporter of her former opponent in the race for power – and potential candidate to replace her – Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss uses this new chaotic episode of her mandate to show an opening she has since been accused of missing have arrival in power.
– “harassment” –
Adding to that intense story was a heated slap in Parliament that evening over a government-winning vote to controversially lift the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial technique used to extract shale gas.
One Labor MP, Chris Bryant, called for an inquiry to be opened, saying he had witnessed scenes of forced majority voting and “harassment”.
A restriction outside Downing Street in the evening, rejected by Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, made it clear that despite the noise that upset Westminster, a majority official and his deputy remained well at their posts.
Does Suella Braverman’s departure start the kind of bleeding within government that didom Boris Johnson in July?
In any case, things are going very badly for Liz Truss, who is trying to regain control after her new Treasury Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, broke the massive tax cuts she promised on Monday.
At midday, during the weekly scheduled questions in Parliament, Liz Truss was combative, defending her policies in the face of boos and calls for his resignation from the Labor opposition.
“I’m a fighter, not someone who gives up,” she pounded.
“What good is a prime minister whose promises don’t keep for a week?” cried Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer, listing all the measures Liz Truss had to abandon.
– inflation record –
The current political crisis goes back to the presentation of the “mini-budget” by then Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng on September 23, which raised fears that the state budget would slip.
The pound had fallen to an all-time low and long-term government bond yields had skyrocketed. The Bank of England had to intervene to prevent the situation from escalating into a financial crisis.
Jeremy Hunt, who is responsible for calming the markets, is now credited with getting the upper hand on Liz Truss. As well as rescinding almost all of the tax cuts promised by the prime minister, he warned of future austerity in public spending and stoked fears of a return to austerity after the 2008 financial crisis.
The social context is already explosive and inflation hit a 40-year high of 10.1% in September.
According to a YouGov poll, just one in ten Britons has a positive opinion of Liz Truss, compared to one in five Conservative Party voters. And 55% of members of the majority party believe Liz Truss should resign, two years ahead of the general election in which polls show the Labor opposition would defeat the Conservatives.
Six MPs from her party have now publicly asked Liz Truss to leave. However, in the absence of an apparent successor, the Conservatives are reluctant to embark on a new and long process to appoint a new leader and are looking for consensus to agree on a name, but appear far from reaching it.
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