British Prime Minister Liz Truss fought on Tuesday to save her post after a financial crisis prompted her to make humiliating U-turns on tax measures, casting doubt on her ability to continue as leader.
It’s difficult to imagine a greater serious political and economic crisis in recent memory than the one that Britain is currently experiencing, according to an editorial in the right-wing broadsheet The Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper, which had previously backed Truss, stated that unless her own MPs allowed her “breathing space,” she faced “the ignominy” of being the nation’s second-shortest-serving prime minister in history.
On Tuesday, Truss was scheduled to meet with her cabinet and make an effort to win over Conservative lawmakers after several of them stated in the open that she had no chance of becoming prime minister.
On Wednesday, she was scheduled to appear before the legislature for Prime Minister’s Questions.
The left-wing tabloid The Mirror referred to the situation as a “catastrophic humiliation,” while the right-wing Sun referred to Truss as “The Ghost PM” on Tuesday.
A month after taking office, the embattled prime leader apologized for pushing reforms “too far and too quickly” in a BBC interview on Monday.
This happened after her new finance minister, Jeremy Hunt, slashed almost all of the debt-fueled tax cuts announced last month in a budget by his ousted predecessor, Kwasi Kwarteng, in a brief broadcast announcement on Monday.
With a grim-faced Truss by his side, Hunt informed parliament that he and Truss “decided yesterday to revoke practically all the tax proposals proposed in the growth plan three weeks ago.”
The decision was made at a time when Truss’s ruling Conservative party was losing ground in the polls due to the turnabouts and Britain’s escalating cost-of-living crisis.
Very British coup
Hunt’s abrupt involvement was compared to a coup in British media, with The Telegraph cartooning him as a bemused Generalissimo “taking temporary control to stabilize the situation.”
“This coup was extremely British. So kind you almost missed it, according to left-wing newspaper The Guardian.
In light of the several MPs who publicly encouraged Hunt to resign and the alleged plots to unseat her, Conservative MP Roger Gale claimed that Hunt had become the “de facto prime minister.”
According to Conservative MP Charles Walker warning, “I think her position is untenable, If she doesn’t go right now, it will not be her decision,”
On Tuesday morning, British media were given assurances by the defense minister, James Heappey, that Truss had “owned” her error while also acknowledging that she could not make similar mistakes again.
Heappey argued when asked by Sky News if Truss was “prime minister in name only”: “She’s been quite frank about the mistake that was made and she has apologized for that. There is leadership in doing that.”
The politician did, however, admit that “given how skittish our politics are… I don’t think that there’s the potential to make any more mistakes.”
After their tax-cutting budget sent bond yields soaring and the pound plunging to a record low against the dollar due to concerns about the UK’s spiraling debt, Truss fired her close friend Kwarteng on Friday, igniting intense speculation about her political future just one month after taking office.
Truss has previously pulled off two humiliating budget U-turns, eliminating tax breaks for the wealthiest individuals and corporations.
Truss’s stated £2,500 cap on energy costs for all British citizens was one of Hunt’s strategic reversals. He reduced the cap from two years to six months and then promised a new strategy.
After analysts predicted the government faced a £60 billion black hole, Hunt projected the tax adjustments would raise approximately £32 billion ($36 billion) year. He also foresaw drastic spending cuts.
The British pound soared against the dollar and the euro as a result of Hunt’s moves on Monday, and bond yields decreased.