‘The Shelf Life of a Salad’: Truss’ Downing Street nightmare

‘The Shelf Life of a Salad’: Truss’ Downing Street nightmare


‘The Shelf Life of a Salad’: Truss’ Downing Street nightmare

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‘The Shelf Life of a Salad’: Truss’ Downing Street nightmare
Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng have had a turbulent few weeks since taking office


British Prime Minister Liz Truss has had the shortest political honeymoon since Boris Johnson took office.

Truss had factored out the ten days of mourning Queen Elizabeth II and had just a week to get events under control before her political platform imploded and resulted in the sacking of her Treasury Secretary.

“That’s the shelf life of a lettuce,” commented The Economist magazine this week.

– 5th September –

Truss wins a vote from Conservative Party members by 81,326 votes to 60,399 votes for Johnson’s former Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak.

Truss has a weak mandate to push through their economic reforms


As the new leader of the largest party in Parliament, that makes her Prime Minister – with support from less than 0.2 per cent of British voters and only a minority of her own MPs.

The next day she is confirmed by the Queen as Prime Minister.

Despite her weak mandate, Truss ousted all Sunak supporters from her new cabinet and installed like-minded Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor of the exchequer.

– September 8th –

Truss reveals a costly scheme to cap household energy bills in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But the dramatic announcement is overshadowed by the Queen’s death, which has suspended all government business for 10 days.

– September 23rd –

Kwarteng announces a “mini-budget” detailing the price of the energy plan – £60 billion ($67 billion) over the next six months.

The unfunded mini-budget for tax cuts caused turmoil in the financial markets due to fears of rising national debt


But there are no measures to raise funds.

Instead, he announces massive new borrowing to finance sweeping tax cuts, including for top earners, and the removal of a cap on bankers’ bonuses.

The announcement immediately draws political fire because it is unfair. But markets reserve the harshest judgment in their reaction to the new borrowing – pushing the pound towards parity against the dollar.

Two days later, on a Sunday, Kwarteng vowed to “come more” on tax cuts. The next day, when markets reopen, the pound plunges to new lows.

The budget is being dubbed “Kami-Kwasi” by the media, which are beginning to report on tensions between Kwarteng and Truss and deep unrest among Tory MPs, including Cabinet ministers.

– September 28th –

With bond market turmoil putting UK pension funds at risk, the Bank of England announces a two-week long-dated UK bond-buying program initially capped at £65bn “to restore orderly market conditions”.

– September 29th –

Pollsters YouGov are reporting that the main opposition party, Labor, has a 33-point lead over the Tories – the widest margin since former Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair’s heyday in the late 1990s.

Other polls also point to an election disaster for the Conservatives. But hours before his keynote address at the party’s annual conference in early October, Kwarteng vowed to “stay the course.”

– October 3 –

Kwarteng and Truss are forced into a humiliating about-face as civil war engulfs the convention and scraps the proposed top tax rate cut after hasty late-night talks.

Both Truss and Kwarteng had vowed to move forward with their proposals


In her own Oct. 5 conference speech, Truss vows to continue pursuing her “grow, grow, grow” agenda, but fails to calm party rebels and nervous markets.

UK government bond yields continue to rise, causing even more pain to UK households as mortgage rates rise.

– October 10th –

In another U-turn, Kwarteng announces that he will release a medium-term financial plan along with independent budget projections on October 31 – Halloween – rather than at the end of November as originally planned.

But on Oct. 12, Truss rules out any public spending cuts, though she vowed not to make any further U-turns on the remaining tax cuts, adding to the perception of a government in chaos.

– October 14 –

With markets still shaken and Truss under pressure, the Prime Minister ousts Kwarteng after just 38 days in office, fueling further rumors that her party is about to attempt its own ouster.

Former Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt has been appointed Treasury Secretary


Kwarteng defended the economic program in a letter to Truss, insisting it was necessary because “the status quo just wasn’t an option.”

In his place, she appoints former Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt.


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