Kwasi Kwarteng sacked as UK chancellor

Kwasi Kwarteng is no longer chancellor of the Exchequer after meeting Prime Minister Liz Truss at Downing Street, the BBC has reported.

This means Kwarteng is the second shortest-serving UK chancellor on record.

The shortest-serving chancellor, Iain Macleod, died of a heart attack 30 days after taking the job in 1970.

Letter of Liz Truss
Letter from Liz Truss

Since 2019, the UK has had four chancellors, including Nadhim Zahawi who served the third shortest tenure, with 62 days during a short-lived reshuffle under Boris Johnson, and Sajid Javid who served 204 days – the fourth shortest tenure on record.

Truss will hold a news conference later, as speculation builds that the government could reverse more of the tax cuts announced in its mini-Budget.

Kwarteng flew back to the UK for urgent talks with Truss this morning (Friday 14 October 2022) after cutting short a meeting with international finance ministers in Washington, DC.

Kwasi Kwarteng's letter of acceptance
Kwarteng’s letter of acceptance

Here’s a quick recap of Kwarteng’s political career:

  • A member of the “class of 2010” (like Truss), he was elected MP of Spelthorne, Surrey, when the Conservatives gained power in the general election that year
  • Co-authored a controversial 2012 book, Britannia Unchained, with Truss and others, which suggested British workers were “idlers” – a view from which he later distanced himself
  • Backed Leave in the 2016 EU referendum
  • Became business secretary in the government of Boris Johnson, which was seen as a reward for backing Johnson’s leadership bid
  • Also backed Liz Truss in her own 2022 leadership campaign and was described as the PM’s political soulmate before being made her finance minister
  • Presented a mini-Budget on 23 September which pledged £45 billion of tax cuts, funded by borrowing, which was followed by market turbulence and an intervention from the Bank of England
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