London Daily

Focus on the big picture.
Sunday, Apr 02, 2023

How big-bang economic plan and political turmoil sank Liz Truss

How big-bang economic plan and political turmoil sank Liz Truss

Liz Truss came to power promising a new economic and political era. It is 45 days since she became PM - the shortest premiership in British history.

Yet that period saw an historic economic gamble, an almost unthinkable number of U-turns and the junking of an entire political programme. It's been short. But not simple.

Over the summer, it all felt very different. As we travelled around the UK for hustings, it was clear Ms Truss was highly popular with Conservative members.

Her promises to slash tax and govern as a Conservative were exactly what they wanted to hear. She wasn't a flawless media performer, but she knew how to work a friendly crowd.

There were warnings from former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and his supporters that her economic plans were risky and could backfire. Some said it would be electoral suicide. But they lost the argument in the Conservative Party.

With victory imminent, along with her close friend and political ally Kwasi Kwarteng, Ms Truss got to work on formulating a plan for power which would be radical and bold.

They decided they had to rip up the rules, which had been followed by previous Tory prime ministers. The economic "orthodoxy" was to go out the window. The pair prepared what aides called a "big bang" of measures - to hit the ground running.

"We are not going to be tinkering at the edges," a senior figure in Team Truss boasted.

Ms Truss defeated former Chancellor Rishi Sunak in a Tory leadership contest


Ms Truss modelled herself on former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Her allies said that like the former prime minister, Ms Truss would be resolute in power; the lady wasn't for turning.

They made it clear she would make unpopular decisions and stick with them, whatever happened. Ms Truss wanted to be the new Iron Lady.

Within 48 hours came the first of a series of bold economic gambles, which went considerably further than almost everyone expected.

First there was the energy support package, which promised to cap the unit price for two years. For a candidate who had said there would be no more handouts, political reality had hit and the cheque book had been opened.

But within hours of being in Downing Street, politics had to take a back seat.

Ms Truss was told in the House of Commons that the Queen was ill. By the end of the day, a prime minister in office for two days was on the steps of Downing Street paying tribute to the longest-serving monarch in British history. Over the next few days, the government's focus was firmly on national mourning.

The late Queen Elizabeth II was succeeded by her son, King Charles, two days after Ms Truss took office


After the Queen's funeral though, Ms Truss had to make up for lost time. She went on her first and only major diplomatic trip to the United Nations in New York, where she told broadcasters she was prepared to make difficult decisions in pursuit of economic growth.

On her return came the economic "big bang" she had been thinking about for years.

Her mini-budget - which was anything but mini - was the most radical in recent history; taxes were slashed, particularly for the higher paid. It would be funded by borrowing, despite warnings that could make inflation worse.

Senior figures in Number 10 believed they were about to launch a bright new era for the UK economy. Economic libertarians had their chance and they were determined to take it.

One told me: "Something different and bold needs to be done."

Ms Truss's mini-budget was announced by her former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng


Team Truss believed the markets would give the country space to restructure the economy. But within days - it became clear they had been wrong and the wheels started to fall off their economic experiment.

There were few details on how the government would fund the package, which left financial markets reeling, sent the pound plummeting, and forced the Bank of England to bail out pensions funds.

Tory MPs began to panic quickly. Within 72 hours of the mini-budget, many were making it clear that they were unhappy. Conservative MPs spoke privately of the government already provoking a political crisis.

Over the coming week, that would only increase until a full-blown crisis emerged at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham. By the time Ms Truss arrived, it was clear there was a significant rebellion brewing on the decision to scrap the 45p top rate of tax.

Under pressure from backbench MPs, Ms Truss buckled. The same day, she told the BBC she would not change her mind - she did. She sent the chancellor out to explain the decision.

The U-turn was supposed to show that Ms Truss was listening. Number 10 believed it would allow rebellious MPs to move on. Instead, it did the exact opposite; rebels smelled blood. "It feels like the last days of Rome," remarked one former minister.

Over the next few weeks, Ms Truss's authority collapsed completely.

Jeremy Hunt junked most of Ms Truss's economic plan


She sacked her chancellor and scrapped a plan to keep corporation tax down. She appointed Jeremy Hunt to run the Treasury - someone who had backed Mr Sunak.

Mr Hunt decided on Saturday that the whole economic strategy had to go and told the prime minister at Chequers the next day. Weakened by events, she had little option but to agree.

"Jeremy Hunt is de facto PM," said one MP, speaking for many. "I don't see the point of her," added another.

By Sunday, the wheels were in motion for the end of Ms Truss's premiership. The BBC contacted many MPs and the mood was dark. Nobody was suggesting Ms Truss's authority would recover. One Ms Truss loyalist told me: "We've lost".

A senior party figure added as the mood turned: "People know that this is over. It's a question of how and when."

There was however, still a ray of hope for Ms Truss.

Some MPs were nervous about bringing the prime minister down without having a unity candidate to replace her. They feared it would mean even more chaos, which nobody would be able to control.

Some of the PM's internal critics urged caution. As one senior figure put it to me: Ms Truss's future might be decided by what her opponents can't do at this stage.

But what followed was even more humiliation.

On Monday, Mr Hunt took control and junked the economic plan. The prime minister was widely ridiculed for not speaking herself in Parliament. She dodged an urgent question from the Labour leader, then sat beside the chancellor briefly as he ripped up her economic plan in the Commons.

A couple of days later, the home secretary resigned over a breach of the ministerial code - but launched a blistering attack on the prime minister and her programme.

Suella Braverman launched a withering attack on Ms Truss in her resignation letter


There was trouble brewing on the right of the party, which had campaigned so vigorously for Ms Truss over summer. And yet Prime Minister's Questions had ended without disaster, buying Ms Truss at least a few more hours.

The final straw for Conservative MPs was the chaos over a vote on banning fracking. MPs were told it was confidence vote - that by not voting with the government, they were saying they didn't want it to continue. Then they were told it wasn't a confidence issue. Then they were told it was - and those who rebelled would be disciplined.

It all meant that by Thursday morning, the Conservative Party had decisively turned. When the prime minister summoned Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee, to test the mood of the party, it was game over.

The new economic era was over. Twenty-four hours after saying she was a fighter, she had resigned. Ms Truss had failed, her "big bang" plan in tatters.

Turmoil has defined Ms Truss's time in office. But it has also helped define 2022. In less than one year, there have been four chancellors, and by next week there will have been three prime ministers.

The Conservatives now have to choose a leader they think can bring stability. Whoever it is will want to last a lot longer than Ms Truss.

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
Close
0:00
0:00
The G-7 aims to make global crypto regulations tougher
You Are So Beautiful
Russia arrested an American reporter for the Wall Street Journal on espionage charges
Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Don’t Dismiss China’s Peacemaking Bid
An old French tune (by Georges Brassens) Pomplamoose ft. John Schroeder
Austrian Parliament members walk out when Volodymyr Zelensky begins speaking.
Sattahip Motor Show 20
Father obliterates council members following viral TikTok of biological male masturbating in women’s bathroom..
SONATE AU CLAIR DE LUNE - Moonlight sonata
Tsai Ing-wen received a "warm welcome" from the Chinese people in the US.
A kiss to build a dream on
EU's von der Leyen: "We know this is an era where we rely on one single supplier. China. 98% of our rare earth supply."
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
China and Brazil have signed a new deal that will allow them to trade in their own currencies, bypassing the US dollar as an intermediary
Mean Blues
Elon Musk and Others Call for Pause on A.I., Citing ‘Profound Risks to Society’
La Chansonnette
Nashville style execution
Pattaya Addicts
“We've had evidence prior to the pandemic that masks were largely ineffective at preventing community transmission of influenza “
Franz Liszt - Liebestraum - Love Dream
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz:
Dream a little dream of me
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz rejects being labeled a "billionaire"
Unchained Melody sung like you've NEVER heard!
Jamie Dimon is being deposed over JPMorgan Chase role in Epstein lawsuits
Dave Brubeck - Take Five
This is how an electric car saves all the energy that he would have spent if he had lived 50 years longer.
Édith Piaf - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Sofie)
Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
Rondo Alla Turca
Social Media censoring users for saying the true
Kiss of fire
Smart Iranian fashion designer teaching dummy TV anchors lesson about reality
Tom Jones - I´ll Never Fall In Love Again 1967, 1989, 2001
AMERICA, 2023
Israel Cachao López - Guajira Clásica
U.S. charges FTX's Bankman-Fried with paying $40 million bribe
Edward Maya - Stereo Love (feat. Vika Jigulina) (Extended Mix)
Fallen 'Crypto King' Who Owes Millions to Investors Was Kidnapped and Tortured
Strauss - Radetzky March - Karajan
Regulators blame social media for SVB's rapid collapse: 'Complete game changer'
La vie en rose
AOC explains why she opposes banning TikTok
The Temptations - My Girl (Smokey Robinson Tribute) 2006 Kennedy Cent
UK: Humza Yousaf replaces Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and first minister in Scotland
Orlando Cachaito Lopez Redencion
In a dramatic U-turn against His Government: Judicial Reform Legislation Must Be Halted, Says Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Edith Piaf - NON, JE NE REGRETTE RIEN
Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel Corporation, died at 94
RADETZKY MARCH-2008-Wien, New Year Concert
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Only you (And you alone)
Bordeaux town hall set on fire in France pro democracy protest
Strangers In The Night
Police violence in Paris
Charles Aznavour - La Boheme
Paris: Some of the police are stepping down and showing solidarity with the protesters.
Summer time
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
Sting and Stevie Wonder - Fragile (from Sting's 60th birthday concert)
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Aux Champs Elysees
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Stand By Me - Ben E. King (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Home Secretary Suella Braverman tours potential migrant housing in Rwanda as asylum deal remains mired in legal challenges
La Mer (Beyond the Sea) – Avalon Jazz Band
Goldman Sachs cuts outlook for European bank debt over Credit Suisse crisis
She
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
Nathalie Song by Enzo Petrachi Stjepan Hauser Cello
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
Shape of My Heart - Sting (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Orbán Viktor: the restructuring of the power relations in the whole of Europe is taking place
Radiohead - Creep
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Quizás,Quizás,Quizás - Andrea Bocelli - Jennifer Lopez
The BBC problem about China
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Multi-Couples
Strikes-Hit UK Pledges 94 Billion Euros In Cost-Of-Living Budget
Pentatonix Havana
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
Paula Cole - Autumn Leaves
"Will Fly Wherever International Law Allows": US Warns Russia After Drone Incident
Oscar Benton Bensonhurst Blues
UK face biggest fall in spending power for 70 years
OH NANANA vs ABUSADAMENTE
Jeremy Hunt insists his Budget will get young parents and over-50s back into work
Nina Simone - ”I Put A Spell On You”. Vezi aici cum cântă Jeremy Ragsd
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
NIGHTWISH - The Phantom Of The Opera
Announcing GPT-4
Motorshow 2016 Tanjay Negros Oriental
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
Monica Bellucci - Ti Amo
Drew Barrymore
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean Milena The Voice France 2018
China is calling out the US, UK, and Australia on their submarine pact, claiming they are going further down a dangerous road
Michael Buble (Help Me Make It Through The Night) feat Loren Allred
Memories Canon In D - Maroon 5 (Boyce Avenue piano acoustic cover)
Matteo Simoni - Marina
Maroon 5 - One More Night
Maroon 5 - Memories
Mark Knopfler - Brothers In Arms (Berlin 2007 Live)
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - Romeo And Juliet (Real Live Roadrunni
Marina, Marina - The LUCKY DUCKIES intimist live concert at Guimarães
Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On Mauranne The Voice France 2016
Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet - Joslin - Henri Mancini, Nino Rota
LoLa & Hauser - Love Story
Linkin Park Jay-Z - Numb Encore (Live 8 2005)
Hallelujah Mennel Ibtissem, The Voice France Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love
Leonard Cohen & Natasha Rostova - Dance me to the end of love
La casa de papel - Bella Ciao
La Camisa Negra
L'italiano (Toto Cutugno) - The Gypsy Queens
Juanes - La Camisa Negra
Jonathan and Charlotte - Britain's Got Talent 2012 Live Semi Final - U
John Powell - Assassin's Tango
Joe Cocker - You Can Leave Your Hat On (LIVE in Dortmund)
Joe Cocker - Unchain My Heart 2002 Live
Joe Cocker - A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Jay Z & Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind LIVE
Jason Mraz - Im Yours (live)
Jarrod Radnich - Bohemian Rhapsody - Virtuosic Piano Solo
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
James Blunt - You're Beautiful & Bonfire Heart (Live at The Nobel Peac)
If You Go Away - Helen Merrill & Stan Getz (Tribute to Virna Lisi)
I'LL BE MISSING YOU
I Say a Little Prayer
Hotel California ( Eagles ) 1994 Live
Historia de un amor - Luz Casal. Vezi interpretarea Biancăi Sumanariu
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover) on Spot
Heart - Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin - Kennedy Center Honors
HAVANA by Camila Cabello Zumba Pre Cooldown TML Crew Kramer Pastra
HAUSER and Señorita - I Will Always Love You
HAUSER - Waka Waka
HAUSER - Sway
HAUSER - Lambada
HAUSER - Historia de un Amor
HAUSER - Despacito
Great Pretender
Georgia May Foote & Giovanni Pernice Samba to 'Volare' - Strictly Come
Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues
GIPSY KINGS VOLARE Penelope Cruz
Fugees - Killing Me Softly With His Song
French Latino - Historia de un Amor
For A Few Dollars More The Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Live)
Flashdance • What a Feeling • Irene Cara
Filip Rudan - “Someone You Loved” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sez
Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight
Enya - Only Time
Enrique Iglesias - Bailando (English Version) ft. Sean Paul
Enrique Iglesias - Bailamos
Elena Yerevan Historia de un amor
Ed Sheeran - Shape of You (Official Music Video)
Ed Sheeran - Perfect Symphony [with Andrea Bocelli]
Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Official Music Video)
Easy On Me - Adele (Boyce Avenue 90’s style piano acoustic cover) on S
ERA - Ameno
ELENA YEREVAN- Cancion Del Mariachi-IN STUDIO-2017 DPR
Dust In The Wind - Kansas (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Despacito x Shape Of You - Pentatonix
Deep Purple - Child In Time - Live (1970)
David Foster When A Man Loves A WomanIt's A Mans World (SealMichael Bo
Dance me to the end of Love ( Pi-Air Design )
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise (feat. L.V.) [Official Music Video]
Conquest Of Paradise (Vangelis), played on Böhm Emporio organ
Cielito Lindo
Chico & The Gypsies - Bamboleo
Canción Del Mariachi - Antonio Banderas, Los Lobos • Desperado
Camila Cabello - Havana (Audio) ft. Young Thug
Camila Cabello - Havana ( cover by J.Fla )
California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas José Feliciano (Boyce Ave
Buster Benton - Money Is The Name of The Game
Hallelujah Pentatonix
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy (Official Music Video)
Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door Emilia The Voice Kids France
Besame Mucho - Cesaria Evora
Ben E. King - Stand by Me Sax Cover Alexandra Ilieva Thomann
Bella Ciao
Bella Ciao - INSTRUMENTAL
Beautiful in White x Canon in D (Piano Cover by Riyandi Kusuma)
Bad Romance - Vintage 1920's Gatsby Style Lady Gaga Cover ft. Ariana Savalas & Sarah Reich(1)
BELLA CIAO 2020 - KARAOKE ITALIANO
BAMBOLEO - Gipsy Kings • Antonio Banderas, Katya Virshilas
BAILANDO (original)
Awesome Ukrainian yodeler - SOFIA SHKIDCHENKO (with English subtitles)
Avicii - The Nights
Atom - The Great Gig in the Sky
Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Official Ly
Antonio Banderas - Cancion del Mariachi (Desperado)
André Rieu - Zorba's Dance (Sirtaki)
André Rieu - Can't Help Falling In Love
André Rieu & Mirusia - Ave Maria
Andrew Reyes Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down The Voice 2020 (
Andreas Kümmert Whiter Shade Of Pale The Voice of Germany 2013 Showd
And I Love You So
All About That Bass - Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Alan Walker - Faded (Piano Cover)
Ain't No Sunshine -- Bill Withers (cover by Canen 12 y.o.)
African music
Adriana Vidović - “Creep” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
Adriana Vidović - “Believer” Nokaut 3 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
A Fistful of Dollars - The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Tuva
4 Beautiful Soundtracks Relaxing Piano [10min]
2CELLOS - Whole Lotta Love vs. Beethoven 5th Symphony [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
2CELLOS - Smooth Criminal (Live at Suntory Hall, Tokyo)
2CELLOS - Smells Like Teen Spirit [Live at Sydney Opera House]
2CELLOS - Despacito [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
13 Year Old Girl Playing Il Silenzio (The Silence) - André Rieu
094.All About That Bass
00 - SADNESS PART 1
(Ghost) Riders In the Sky (American Outlaws Live at Nassau Coliseum, 1
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams (Boyce Avenue ft. Conn
What a wonderful world
Moon river
×