Boris Johnson is gone….
New Prime Minister Liz Truss has the ruling party’s headaches back in short order….
Her economic policy has the country on edge….
Spare a thought for British Conservative members of parliament.
The governing party of the United Kingdom thought they had it bad with scandal-stricken Boris Johnson wrecking their poll numbers and turning what was once called the natural party of government into an exploding clown car.
But having spent an enormous amount of energy removing a reluctant Johnson from office this summer, exhausted MPs say his replacement, Liz Truss – just 37 days into the job – seems hellbent on making the bad situation worse.
After her mini-budget – which proposed unfunded tax cuts, huge government borrowing and let energy companies off from a windfall tax – sent the pound tumbling and caused all manner of wider economic chaos, they are faced with the grim reality of having a leader they deem to be more damaging than Johnson but will be even harder to replace.
“Even if you think she’s awful, we can’t replace her this soon,” a former cabinet minister and Truss supporter tells CNN. “I am not optimistic about the future, but we need to try and ride this out and learn from the mistakes.”
The mistakes in question were, most MPs agree, terrible communications from the government and trying to do too many things too fast, without being adequately funded.
“They committed to huge spending, rightly, to help people with energy bills, then immediately started talking about tax cuts,”….
While getting rid of Truss – the Conservatives fourth leader in just over six years – seems very unlikely in the short-term, it is being discussed as a real possibility for the medium-term. Minds are currently focused on October 31, when Kwarteng will present a fiscal plan, explaining how he intends to balance the measures announced in the mini-budget.
“Ignoring the insane optics of doing this on Halloween, if they can present something coherent that calms markets then I think we have a bit of breathing space and can try to ride it out,” an influential Conservative backbencher told CNN.
But if Kwarteng fails to settle nerves, things could turn very fast. It is possible that MPs will call for him to be sacked. However, doing so could also be dangerous for Truss, who is ideologically tied to her Chancellor to such an extent that cutting him loose would be a tacit acceptance that she too has failed.
If the chaos continues, then MPs will have to make some very hard choices. They know that the optics of removing Truss so soon after she took office will not look good to voters….