Prime Minister Liz Truss of Britain, who is fighting for her political survival after the failure of her economic agenda, suffered another heavy blow on Wednesday when she was forced to fire one of her most senior cabinet ministers. This was the second major removal in a six-week-old government that has fallen into chaos.
Ms. Truss dismissed the chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, on Friday of last week. Kwarteng was the architect of the huge tax cuts that shook the financial markets and put the British pound into a tailspin. The subsequent reversal of those policies by the government has cast doubt on Ms. Truss’s ability to maintain her hold on power. This image was strengthened by Ms. Braverman’s frank criticism of the government as she was leaving her position.
Both of these guys were vocal in their support for Ms. Truss’s opponent, Rishi Sunak, a former chancellor who campaigned against her and warned that her economic vision was nothing more than a fairy tale. And because of Mr. Shapps’s backing for Mr. Sunak, Ms. Truss did not give him a position in the government when she took power after she was elected.
Ms. Truss was able to disclose yet another about-face in the direction that the government’s strategy is heading while being grilled by members from the opposition party. On Tuesday, top officials gave indications that the promise made by Downing Street before the election to enhance state pension payments to keep up with both the rise in average salaries and the rate of inflation, which is now at 10.1 percent, may no longer be honoured by the government.
Legislators from her own party were openly wondering about how long Ms. Truss could continue to serve in her position. According to one of them, Steve Double, who spoke with the BBC, she has until the end of the next week to persuade her coworkers that she should continue in her role.
It is possible that the most important factor working in her favour is the fact that there is no sign yet of consensus on a successor, and some lawmakers are hesitant about rushing into another leadership contest so soon after the last one produced an outcome that the majority of Conservative lawmakers now seem to regret.
One of the arguments that is circulating among Conservatives is that they should wait until after October 31, which is the date on which Mr. Hunt is scheduled to present a new plan that is likely to involve significant cuts to government spending programmes. This is the date on which Mr. Hunt is scheduled to present his plan.
According to this line of reasoning, the state of Britain’s economy has deteriorated to such a degree during Ms. Truss’s limited time in office that it makes political sense to let her take the fall for the unfavourable repercussions before deciding whether or not to replace her.
On the other hand, there are legislators who are of the opinion that the more time that Ms. Truss spends in power, the more harm will be done to their already damaged reputation. When William Wragg joined the tiny group of Conservative legislators openly called on her to step down, he said that he was “personally ashamed” of the events that surrounded the unveiling of the tax-cutting plan. This caused the group to grow.
Few people want to see a rematch of the race that Elizabeth Truss won by being nominated by party members from a shortlist of two candidates chosen by Conservative parliamentarians. In the event that Ms. Truss is removed from her position, members of Parliament want to have a greater say in the matter, and Mr. Brady’s committee may alter the rules in an effort to reduce the influence of activists.
While Ms. Truss was fighting for her job, her ministers were dealing with two international crises that were on the verge of escalating: fears of a Russian escalation in the war in Ukraine, and a diplomatic clash with China over the violence that erupted during a demonstration outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester on Sunday. Ms. Truss’s job was in jeopardy, and her ministers were struggling to find a solution to both crises at the
Ben Wallace, the defence minister for the United Kingdom, made an unannounced trip to the United States capital on Tuesday in order to have a meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III in response to Russia’s brutal artillery strikes on Ukraine. Mr. Wallace’s deputy, James Heappey, suggested that they had addressed threats made by Russian President Vladimir V. Putin to deploy a nuclear weapon by stating that the reason for the conversations was “beyond imagination really.”