Britain, Brexit, Liz Truss & Rishi Sunak 6 September-

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Britain Adrift
The UK’s Search for a Post-Brexit Role

May/June 2020

The Brexit effect: how leaving the EU hit the UK | FT Film
The UK’s recent disastrous “mini” Budget can trace its origins back to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The economic costs of Brexit were masked by the Covid-19 pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine. But six years after the UK voted to leave, the effect has become clear. In this film, senior FT writers and British businesspeople examine how Brexit hit the UK economy, the political conspiracy of silence, and why there has not yet been a convincing case for a ‘Brexit dividend’. (18 October)

Buffeted by Economic Woes, U.K. Starts to Look at Brexit With ‘Bregret’
Stung by inflation and bracing for tax increases, the country is in the midst of its gravest slump in a generation, leading many to wonder how much the split with the European Union is to blame.
(NYT) Six and a half years after voting to leave the European Union, three years after the formal departure, two years after signing a post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels and one month after installing its fourth prime minister since the 2016 referendum, Britain is caught in — what else? — another debate over Brexit.
Brexit may be in the history books, but “Bregret,” as the British newspapers have called it, is back in the air.
The cause of the remorse is clear: Britain’s economic crisis, which is the gravest in a generation and worse than those of its European neighbors. Not all — or even most — of the problems are because of Brexit, but Britain’s vexed trade relationship with the rest of Europe indisputably plays a role. That makes it a ripe target for an anxious public casting about for something to blame.

As British voters cool on Brexit, UK softens tone towards EU
(AP) — The British government on Sunday denied a report that it is seeking a “Swiss-style” relationship with the European Union that would remove many of the economic barriers erected by Brexit — even as it tries to improve ties with the bloc after years of acrimony.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay told Sky News “I don’t recognize” the Sunday Times report, insisting the U.K. was still determined to “use the Brexit freedoms we have” by diverging from the EU’s rules in key areas.
Switzerland has a close economic relationship with the 27-nation EU in return for accepting the bloc’s rules and paying into its coffers.
But despite the denials, the new Conservative government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wants to restore relations with the EU, acknowledging that Brexit has brought an economic cost for Britain. Treasury chief Jeremy Hunt last week expressed optimism that trade barriers between the U.K. and the EU would be removed in the coming years.

31 October
Rishi Sunak’s First Crisis: Turmoil Engulfing His Home Secretary
Suella Braverman has come under political fire for breaching security rules and for her handling of immigration issues.
Ms. Braverman admitted on Monday that she improperly sent government documents to her private email address on six occasions. That came on top of a previous security breach that forced her resignation from the same post under Mr. Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss. Ms. Braverman apologized again for the violations, but insisted they did not endanger national security.
At the same time, she is under intense pressure over the conditions at a processing facility for asylum seekers in Kent, in southeast England, where there are reports of violence and outbreaks of infectious diseases.

29 October
No 10 alarm as Boris Johnson plans to attend Cop27 climate summit
Ex-PM’s Cop27 visit is seen as snub to Rishi Sunak as Labour attacks government’s policy failures on environmental crisis
(The Guardian) A row over prime minister Rishi Sunak’s refusal to attend the Cop27 climate summit took an extraordinary twist on Saturday night as the Observer was informed that his predecessor but one – Boris Johnson – is planning to attend the event.
Several sources said they had been told that Johnson is intending to go to the crucial meeting of world leaders in Egypt to show his solidarity with the battle against the climate crisis.
Johnson’s involvement would be seen as both an implicit criticism of Sunak for not going and an attempt to maintain and bolster his profile just a week after he abandoned his own attempts at a dramatic comeback to No 10.
It remained unclear on Saturday night whether Johnson was planning to go as part of the official UK government delegation, which includes several MPs; as a guest of the incoming Egyptian Cop presidency; or as a guest of a non-governmental organisation or other national delegation.

25 October
As Winter Looms, Britons Bank on Warming Hubs
Rising energy prices are forcing UK authorities to assemble a network of “warm banks” to offer relief from costly home heating bills. Here’s how they’ll work.
(Bloomberg) While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent energy costs across Europe spiraling, UK residents have proved to be especially vulnerable. The International Monetary Fund predicts that the UK is likely to be worse hit by rising fuel costs than any other country in Western Europe, due substantially to a greater gap between high- and low-income households.
Already struggling with high inflation and risk of an imminent recession, many Britons face a winter of being both cold and hungry. … Even with state aid, Britain is still looking at a winter where heating could be an unaffordable luxury for many.
To meet the need, an ad-hoc network of heated havens has been taking shape. Some British supermarkets are offering hot drinks and an unlimited stay in their café spaces for just £1. Public and volunteer-run spaces to keep warm such as libraries and community centers, as well as less-official spaces such as unused backrooms in pubs, are springing up all over the country.

24 October
Jeremy Kinsman: Beleaguered Britain: Can Rishi Sunak Restore Sanity?
(Policy) Rishi Sunak’s first statement Monday emphasized the gravity of the economic challenge facing Britain. He will have to persuade the public that the priority now must be economic redress, not the further disruption of what would likely be a bitterly fought election.
The anxieties of most working Brits about the rising cost of living from inflation, higher mortgage rates, punishing surges in energy prices, plus a host of other griefs, from finding a family doctor to the perception of rising crime, make it probable they will give a new PM whose experience as the chancellor who navigated COVID a fair chance, to restore economic stability and the public life of “a great country,” as he has promised.
Restoring unity to his shattered party will be as great a challenge. Keeping the capable Jeremy Hunt as chancellor would be smart.
Can Britain can salvage its cratered reputation? People of goodwill everywhere, especially in the EU, will be hoping Sunak can bring it off.
Rishi Sunak makes history as newest UK prime minister. Can he calm a country in chaos?
By Atlantic Council experts
Livia Godaert: Sunak’s opportunity to reclaim UK international soft power

John M. Roberts: Sunak’s financial realism will collide with Brexit realities
The mantra is stability—and that means sticking to the financial policy reversals announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt seven days ago and, almost certainly, keeping Hunt himself on as chancellor in order to reassure the markets.
But beyond that, there is no indication how Sunak—who was himself chancellor until his July 5 resignation forced the collapse of the Johnson premiership—will switch from being the free-spending, debt-incurring figure who poured vast sums of cash into the British economy (to help get the country through the COVID-19 crisis) to a prime minister who now has to find savings after savings (or impose tax after tax) in order to balance the books.
He also faces a distinct problem in that there is increasing public debate concerning the damage that Brexit has done to the UK economy and the failure of Conservative governments to deliver anything that resembles what they call taking advantage of the benefits of Brexit.
Sunak is certainly an economic and financial realist, but his ability to maneuver to improve trade relations with Europe is strictly limited by a substantial wing of the Conservative Party that objects to anything other than a pure and total Brexit.
Hameed Hakimi: Sunak’s ascent shows that times are changing. But will his premiership do so too?

Rishi Sunak to become first British PM of colour and also first Hindu at No 10

Former chancellor has previously said his faith gives him strength and purpose and is part of who he is
Rishi Sunak is about to become the UK’s first prime minister of colour and the first Hindu prime minister, both milestones in Britain’s evolution as a multicultural and multi-faith society.
(The Guardian) He was named as the UK’s next leader on Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. It celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
Although there has been a marked increase in politicians of colour being appointed to senior cabinet roles, including the key posts of chancellor, home secretary and foreign secretary, the UK has never had a black or brown prime minister before.
Tariq Modood, professor of sociology, politics and public policy at the University of Bristol, said: “Whatever his political views, Sunak becoming prime minister is a historic moment for multiculturalism and racial equality. It has happened much sooner than anyone would have predicted even a few years ago – and nor would anyone have predicted that the first ethnic minority prime minister would be a Tory.”
Sunak to be confirmed UK’s PM on Tuesday: Downing Street
Sunak will be appointed Britain’s third prime minister this year on Tuesday after outgoing leader Truss submits her resignation to King Charles III, Downing Street has said.
Truss will hold a final cabinet meeting before delivering a statement outside Number 10 around 10:15am (09:15 GMT). Sunak will then be appointed by the king and make his own televised remarks around 11:35 am (10:35 GMT).
Rishi Sunak: A quick guide to the UK’s next prime minister
(BBC) … He’s thought to be one of the richest MPs
His wife is Akshata Murthy, the daughter of Indian billionaire Narayana Murthy. Mr Sunak himself has worked for investment bank Goldman Sachs and at two hedge funds. The Sunday Times Rich List estimates the couple’s fortune to be worth about £730m.
Inside the world of Rishi Sunak, our new Prime Minister
(Tatler) From head boy, to hedge funder, to chancellor of the exchequer, to PM. Rishi Sunak has long been talked up as a prime minister in the making – but has he risen too far, too fast, asks Ben Judah in an article that first appeared in the July/August 2020 issue

23 October
Sunak closes in on No 10 as Johnson pulls out of race
More than 165 MPs declare for ex-chancellor after Johnson said he would not run despite claiming he had 102 supporters
Boris Johnson Drops Bid to Return as U.K. Prime Minister
Pulling out of the race to succeed Liz Truss, the former prime minister eased a path for Rishi Sunak, his former chancellor of Britain’s treasury.
(NYT) Boris Johnson pulled out of the race to succeed Liz Truss as Britain’s prime minister on Sunday evening, ending a quixotic bid to reclaim a job he lost three months ago amid a cascade of scandals, and leaving his rival, Rishi Sunak, in a commanding position to be the country’s next leader.
Race to be next UK PM begins as momentum grows behind Boris Johnson
(Reuters) – Boris Johnson has been gaining momentum in his audacious bid to return as British prime minister, with his colleagues deeply divided over the potential comeback and some warning he would plunge the country into fresh chaos.
Former defence minister Penny Mordaunt became the first candidate to officially declare an intention to run to be the next leader of the Conservative party, but Johnson and Rishi Sunak, once his finance minister, led potential contenders as candidates canvassed support ahead of voting next week.


20 October
Jeremy Kinsman: The Spectacular Fall of Liz Truss
(Policy) When Liz Truss was chosen as leader of the Conservative Party of the UK and became Prime Minister only 44 days ago, the British public hardly knew her.
Within weeks, they decided they already knew enough.
Truss’s radical libertarian “growth, growth, growth” economic agenda, which contained big tax breaks for the wealthy and for corporations caused the markets to tank and the Conservative party’s standings in the polls to sink to unprecedented depths.
As the as-yet unelected prime minister’s authority and electability tanked, the likelihood of the Conservatives retaining the seats in the North and among working class Brits they had won from Labour was about zero. The libertarian budget casting British futures to market forces, with Reagan-era Laffer curve tax breaks for the rich, and cuts to social services, horrified most voters as much as they did the bond markets. With inflation hitting 10 percent, the worried British long for stability from the chaos of the last six years of political melodrama.
Yet, the rules of the party guaranteed newly-elected leader Truss a year without a leadership challenge.
The chair of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee, which judges leadership challenges, Sir Graham Brady, was bombarded with MPs’ letters asserting the necessity to change leaders immediately.
On October 19, Brady confronted the prime minister with a choice: persist in office, in which case a majority of MPs will likely vote to change the rules providing a safe year, and vote her out immediately, or alternatively, resign. Which she did in front of Number 10 the very next morning.

UK’s Liz Truss quits after turmoil obliterated her authority

(AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit on Thursday — bowing to the inevitable after a tumultuous term in which her policies triggered turmoil in financial markets and a rebellion in her party that obliterated her authority.
Making a hastily scheduled statement outside her 10 Downing Street office, Truss acknowledged that “I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”
She is the third Conservative prime minister to resign in as many years and leaves a divided party seeking a leader who can unify its warring factions. Truss, who said she will remain in office until a replacement is chosen, has been prime minister for just 45 days.
Bitterly divided Conservative Party lawmakers have just a few days to agree on a successor, or face another leadership contest, the third in three years. Potential contenders include former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, who lost to Truss in the last leadership contest, House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace — and Boris Johnson, the former prime minister ousted in July over a series of ethics scandals.
Lib Dems urge Tories to ban Johnson from standing for leadership again
The Liberal Democrats say the Conservative party should block Boris Johnson from standing again. In a statement the Lib Dem deputy leader, Daisy Cooper, said:
The fact that Conservative MPs are even considering putting Boris Johnson back in Number 10 shows how out of touch they really are. They think there’s one rule for them and another for everyone else.
Boris Johnson was forced to resign in disgrace after countless lies, scandals and failures. He shattered public trust in the government and plunged the UK into a political crisis. He must never be allowed near Downing Street again.
What’s next for U.K. politics?
(WaPo) The bitterly divided Conservative Party will now vote on who among its lawmakers should replace Truss.
“We’ve agreed that there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week,” Truss said in announcing her resignation. “I will remain as prime minister until a successor has been chosen.”
It is not clear whether the process will be limited to the party’s lawmakers in Parliament or whether grass-roots members will be invited to vote as well. The latter seems unlikely, given the short timeline.
Political figures such as former finance minster Rishi Sunak, who in September lost the contest for Conservative leadership to Truss, cabinet minister Penny Mourdant and even former prime minister Boris Johnson have been touted.
If they cannot decide within their party, Britain could go to a general election. This has been favored by the Labour Party, which has seen its popularity soar in recent weeks, thanks to Truss. It would also allow the public a democratic say, given that Truss was never elected by popular vote and was nominated by Conservative members.

19 October
EU-UK talks would continue during N.Ireland election campaign – minister
(Reuters) – The British government may be forced to trigger a Northern Ireland election next week but talks between London and Brussels on trade rules governing the region would not be frozen during campaigning, a government minister said. (Background Sinn Féin: Northern Ireland risks winter election as voters freeze – 3 August).
The pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) refused to join a compulsory coalition in Northern Ireland following the region’s May Assembly election in which Irish nationalist rivals Sinn Fein became the largest party for the first time.
The DUP says it will not join until its concerns about the post Brexit trading arrangements for the region as set out in the Northern Ireland Protocol are resolved.
Brussels says checks on trade between Britain and Northern Ireland have been agreed to by the British government and are needed to protect its single market as a land-border with EU member Ireland is impractical. It says it is open to easing some of the checks.
Don’t Blame Brexit
How tempting it is to trace Liz Truss’s economic fiasco to the decision to leave Europe. If only Britain’s malaise were that simple.
By Tom McTague
(The Atlantic) Put simply, things were bad in Britain long before Prime Minister Liz Truss blew up the economy. They were bad before Boris Johnson came to power and bad before Theresa May took charge. And they were bad long before the country voted to leave the EU in June 2016. Indeed, one of the reasons people voted to leave the EU was because things weren’t very good. The truth is that Britain’s economy has been struggling to recover from the global financial crisis that began in 2008—and with it, the political settlement that underpinned the country’s apparently golden years of Tony Blair’s premiership. From that point on, wages stagnated, public services deteriorated, and voters—understandably—got ever more angry.

17-19 October
Truss Jeered in U.K. Parliament as Home Secretary Resigns
Losing the secretary, Suella Braverman, added to the pressure on Prime Minister Liz Truss of Britain, who has seen her entire economic agenda repudiated.
Dismayed Tory MPs continue to plot to oust Liz Truss from No 10
Up to 100 letters sent to 1922 Committee as Michael Gove says PM’s departure is ‘a matter of when not if’
Andrew Coyne: Liz Truss’s populism smashes headlong into reality, with results that are horrible to watch
Even now, almost a month later, the question remains: why? Why did Liz Truss, the British Prime Minister, and her now-departed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, just days into their new jobs, present a mini-budget containing tens of billions of pounds in unfunded tax cuts?
The results are well known – the worst own goal in recent political and economic history. … There followed the political crisis: a massive backlash in the media, a cratering in public support for the Conservatives, the abrupt dismissal of Mr. Kwarteng, ending with this week’s near-total repudiation of the mini-budget by his successor, Jeremy Hunt. Ms Truss is now on political life-support, mocked and disowned by members of her own party. …
Ms. Truss won the Conservative leadership by telling the membership they could have tax cuts the country couldn’t afford and, in the bargain, stick it to those eggheads and scolds who told them it couldn’t be done. It was a fun thing to believe, for as long as it lasted. Alas, as the economist Edwin Cannan put it, “However lucky Error may be for a time, Truth keeps the bank, and wins in the long run.”
British PM Truss vows to carry on as her party support dwindles
Truss says she is sorry for mistakes
Says she is ‘sticking around’
Economic agenda that caused market rout scrapped
Some Conservative MPs calling on her to quit
(Reuters) – It was not clear whether the apology would quell a growing rebellion in her Conservative Party, with a handful of lawmakers urging Truss to quit just six weeks after she became prime minister.
A new YouGov opinion poll showed that even among Conservative Party members who backed her for prime minister, more than half of those polled said she should resign. A third wanted her predecessor, Boris Johnson, to return.
‘Bring back Boris’: division rages in Tories’ Essex heartlands
In Castle Point, the party has a 26,000 majority but local members are horrified at the chaos and disagree about the remedy
Jeremy Hunt shreds Truss’s economic plans in astounding U-turn on tax
New chancellor tells Commons there will be tax rises and spending cuts, as PM dodges urgent question
Jeremy Hunt has shredded Liz Truss’s economic plans in one of the most astonishing U-turns in modern political history, including slashing the energy price freeze which the prime minister had repeatedly championed.
The new chancellor dismantled almost all of the platform that Truss’s leadership victory had been built on, including the majority of her tax cuts, and hinted a new windfall tax was in his sights – a move the PM had previously said she would not countenance.

14-15 October
Why is Britain comparing its prime minister to a lettuce?
The gag began in an article by the Economist that earlier this week dubbed Truss “The Iceberg Lady,” bluntly predicting that her career would have “the shelf-life of a lettuce.”
Truss premiership ‘hanging by thread’ after Kwarteng sacking and latest U-turn
PM’s move to replace chancellor and commit to raising corporation tax fails to placate markets or Tory MPs
Liz Truss is desperately clinging to her premiership after she sacked her chancellor and ripped up the mini-budget but failed to calm the financial markets or furious Conservative MPs.
In a humiliating reversal, the prime minister backed down on plans to scrap an £18bn rise in corporation tax and replaced Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor with Jeremy Hunt.
She said staying in her position as prime minister would help to “reassure the markets of our financial discipline”, but the cost of government borrowing rose and the pound fell following her press conference announcing the changes.
Senior Conservative MPs are plotting how to remove her from office, with some mulling whether to publicly call for her to resign in the coming days.
Factbox: How could British PM Truss be removed, and how would she be replaced?

12 October
Progress on Brexit protocol talks could shelve Belfast election that ‘nobody wants’
Foreign Minister Coveney thinks negotiators can identify ‘way forward’ that gives UK wiggle room to avoid a Stormont election re-run.
(Politico) British and European negotiators are working to agree “a way forward” on post-Brexit trade arrangements that will give Britain enough political cover to avoid snap elections in Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Wednesday.
Speaking after he met four of the five main parties in Northern Ireland’s crippled legislature, Coveney suggested that a framework agreement on simplifying EU-required checks at local ports could be announced on or shortly before October 28.
That date is the last day under existing rules of Northern Ireland power-sharing for a new cross-community administration to be formed at Stormont, the government base overlooking Belfast.

9 October
Shaken UK Conservatives seek unity after Truss’ rocky start
(AP) The financial turmoil has helped the opposition Labour Party take a commanding lead in opinion polls. A national election does not have to be held until 2024, but many Conservatives fear the party is running out of time to close the gap.
… Despite the calls for unity, some Tory lawmakers are mulling ways to topple Truss, who was elected by the party after Johnson was forced out in July amid a welter of ethics scandals.
Most think that changing leader again so soon would be disastrous, but some allies of Johnson have hinted that he might consider making a comeback. Lawmaker Nadine Dorries, a backer of the former leader, told the BBC that Johnson’s return was “extremely unlikely,” but not impossible.

2 October
Britain’s financial meltdown carries a global warning
By Sebastian Mallaby, the Paul A. Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations
(WaPo) … Acerbic zingers aside, Truss’s performance is no joke. For 10 days, the British pound has swung dizzyingly from weak to extremely weak to merely weak again. Long-term government bonds, maturing in 50 years, shed one-third of their value at one stage, recovering from that unprecedented plunge only when the Bank of England stepped in. Foreign watchdogs from the International Monetary Fund to the rating agency Standard & Poor’s have condemned Truss’s unfunded tax cuts, which triggered the rout.
Clearly this is bad for Britain. Truss’s net approval rating has collapsed from negative 9 percent to negative 37 percent in the space of a week. But Truss’s predicament also reflects a larger issue. Across the supposedly advanced economies, the return of inflation has magnified the riskiness of extravagant political gestures. For the most part, however, politicians have not gotten the message.

28 September
Liz Truss’ honeymoon canceled as pound plummets and UK borrowing costs soar
Bank of England forced to issue emergency statement after UK leader’s mini-budget triggers market turmoil.
Humiliation for UK’s ‘Kami-Kwasi’ chancellor as central bank steps in to halt market rout
Just weeks into the job, Tory MPs are calling on new UK chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng to quit.
(Politico Eu) Increasing numbers of Tory MPs are now calling for Kwarteng and new Prime Minister Liz Truss to go – just three weeks into their new roles.
Friday’s announcement of debt-funded tax cuts — unveiled without the usual scrutiny from independent fiscal watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility — was followed by a plunge in the pound and sparked rare criticism from the International Monetary Fund.
Bank of England steps in to calm markets
By Daniel Thomas & Noor Nanji, Business reporters
(BBC News) The Bank of England has said it will step in to calm markets after the government’s tax-cutting plans sparked a fall in the pound and caused borrowing costs to surge.
It warned that if the market volatility continued there would be a “material risk to UK financial stability”.
The Bank will start buying government bonds at an “urgent pace” to help restore “orderly market conditions”.
It comes after the currency hit a record low on Monday following the chancellor’s mini-budget, which pledged $45bn worth of tax cuts, funded by borrowing, as part of a plan to boost economic growth.
Kwarteng sent stinging and unusual rebuke by IMF
Not only did the world’s most important international financial institution suggest the plan was economically risky, it said it was likely to increase inequality and recommended taking an “early opportunity” for a re-evaluation of the policies in the coming weeks, on a specific date.
The stinging rebuke from the International Monetary Fund reflected similar concerns from the world’s major finance ministries that a crisis brewing in the UK could spill over into a global slowdown.
The criticism from the Washington-based body was without a clear precedent in regard to a major G7 country and shareholder.

27 September
Paul Krugman: Why Is the Pound Getting Pounded?
It was already clear that the Truss government was going to have to increase spending in the short run, to aid families hit with higher energy bills stemming from Vladimir Putin’s de facto natural gas embargo. Rather than raising taxes to help cover this expense, however, Truss’s chancellor of the Exchequer — basically her Treasury secretary — announced tax cuts, notably a big reduction in taxes on the highest earners.
The parallel with Reaganomics was obvious. Interest rates duly rose. But in this case, rather than rising, the pound plunged: This wasn’t the market reaction you’d expect for an advanced economy. It was instead similar to what you often see in emerging markets, where investors worry that governments will cover increased deficits by printing more money, causing inflation to accelerate. …
So why the sudden run on the pound? One answer I liked came from the City of London economist Dario Perkins, who declared that the problem with the budget wasn’t that it was inflationary but that it was “moronic,” and that an economy run by morons has to pay a risk premium.

‘The jewel has lost its shine’: how the world reacted to the UK’s pound crisis
The turmoil stirred condemnation in the US, bitter memories in Greece and interest among holidaymakers in Singapore
(The Guardian) International reaction to the turmoil in the financial markets which saw the pound fall to its lowest level ever against the dollar is devastating in its condemnation of the new government’s policies, and the astonishment and shock focused in particular on the chancellor’s willingness to experiment with one of the world’s most stable economies.
Pound comes under new pressure after Bank of England fails to raise rates
Central bank stops short of emergency rate hike and instead says it will make full assessment in November
Tory MPs furious with Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng as pound crashes
Backbenchers express concern new leadership team has already lost them the next election
Pound’s plummet underlines Kwarteng schoolboy error
Q&A: what does the pound’s slump mean for the UK?
Conservative MPs were furious with Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng as the pound continued to crash on Monday, with some talking of a new leadership contest and others terrified that replacing her would lead to an early election.

16 September
Bill McKibben: Charles III and Climate Change in the U.K.
Not only is the new king supposed to stop pushing for green political policies; he faces a new Prime Minister who plans to reverse them.
it is worth noting that the newest occupant of the British throne, Charles III, understands in fairly deep ways the climate crisis now imperilling our career as a species.
It is, as he said at the Glasgow climate talks last year, an “existential threat” that requires the world to go on a “warlike footing.” His language showed him to be a man who had studied the problem deeply: “As we tackle this crisis, our efforts cannot be a series of independent initiatives running in parallel. The scale and scope of the threat we face call for a global, systems-level solution, based on radically transforming our current fossil-fuel-based economy to one that is genuinely renewable and sustainable.” Speaking to the assembled leaders, he said, “Many of your countries, I know, are already feeling the devastating impact of climate change, through ever-increasing droughts, mudslides, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, and wildfires.” He concluded, “I can only urge you, as the world’s decision-makers, to find practical ways of overcoming differences so we can all get down to work, together”
… Truss doesn’t even talk much about climate change—she gave a speech last week on energy policy in which, though she referred to clean and renewable technologies, she managed to not even mention the phrase, and also promised to increase oil and gas extraction. (It’s a sign of how far right the Tories have swung; Margaret Thatcher, who had trained as a scientist, was an early advocate of climate action.) Truss has called for ending the ban on fracking in the U.K., and she has appointed as her Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Member of Parliament who has wandered the fever swamps of climate denialism.

Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, with her husband, Hugh O’Leary, after giving her first speech, at Downing Street on Tuesday. Carl Court/Getty Images

Liz Truss clearly had a plan for her first week, but fate tore it up
However, in the few short days before all government business was effectively suspended, Truss was not idle. She managed to complete a relatively hitch-free cabinet reshuffle, announce a £100bn-£150bn package of relief on energy bills and replace almost the entirety of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street operation.
Truss had evidently prepared to a high degree as it became obvious she would triumph over her rival, Rishi Sunak. Over the last three weeks of the campaign, she spent much of her time planning for government with a clutch of close aides at her grace-and-favour retreat in Chevening.
… Truss had much of the logistics stitched up before she even entered No 10. She was also a diplomat; awkward conversations took place by phone over the course of the last week so that those who were departing would be prepared. Negotiations over positions for ambitious leadership rivals took place over days, sometimes weeks beforehand, ensuring there would be no standoffs in No 10 to set tongues wagging.
Truss will now have to contend with a break in her plans for government, using the time to take stock and work out the details of her energy bailout – which was published without an explanation for how it would be funded.
When business returns after 10 days of national mourning culminating in the Queen’s funeral, Truss will have a huge amount to get done in a compressed period of time, from a visit to the UN general assembly and an emergency budget, to a slew of policy announcements that will be expected at her first party conference.

7 September
UK leader Truss vows energy relief, rules out windfall tax
(AP) — Newly installed U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss told Parliament on Wednesday that she would tackle Britain’s “very serious” energy crisis while still slashing taxes, ruling out imposing a windfall levy on oil companies to pay for her plans to offset the soaring cost of heating and electricity.
Truss rebuffed opposition calls for a new windfall tax, even as she refrained from explaining how she would fund a plan meant to help the public pay energy bills skyrocketing because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the economic aftershocks of COVID-19 and Brexit.
EU braces for bruising battle with UK over Northern Ireland protocol
What could happen if Liz Truss triggers article 16 – and will it increase Brexit hostilities?
The EU is bracing itself for another tumultuous and bruising battle with the UK over Brexit, despite hopes and pleas for Liz Truss to be pragmatic and try to seal a deal on the protracted Northern Ireland issues.
Welcome to Liz Truss’ Britain. Everyone’s going on strike
Soaring inflation is triggering workers to walk out en masse, just as Britain’s new prime minister takes the reins.
(Politico Eu) Across the country, rail workers, barristers, dockhands, bus drivers, garbage collectors, Amazon employees, and even journalists at the infamously anti-union Daily Express newspaper are walking out over stagnant wages in the face of soaring inflation — not to mention the size of their bosses’ pay packets, and the crumbling state of public services.
U.K.’s Liz Truss inherits an economic nightmare
Britain’s economy, rendered fragile and brittle by Brexit, has proved incapable of withstanding the twin scourges of the pandemic and energy price inflation. The result is a historic economic implosion.
(Axios) Driving the news: The government of incoming prime minister Liz Truss is expected to spend as much as £200 billion ($230 billion) to goose the economy and subsidize energy costs.
The catch: Energy costs are high because demand exceeds supply. Government subsidies will only serve to increase the demand for energy, making it even harder for Britain to find the energy savings it needs.
The big picture: Truss was most recently elected to parliament in December 2019, just weeks before Britain formally left the European Union and months before the pandemic precipitated a seemingly endless litany of scandals surrounding the behavior of lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party.
The vote that made her prime minister involved just 141,725 voters, all of whom were party members.
The bottom line: Only 5% of Britons expect Truss to be a great prime minister, while 35% think she will be terrible.
Liz Truss’s cabinet is the U.K.’s first without a White man in top office
Shortly after becoming prime minister on Tuesday, Truss got down to business and appointed her senior leadership team for the roles known as the “The Great Offices of State.”
She named Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor of the exchequer, or finance chief, a role that will be pivotal as the country grapples with a cost-of-living crisis

Liz Truss becomes U.K. prime minister after meeting with the Queen

Liz Truss was officially appointed the U.K.’s new prime minister on Tuesday after a formal meeting with Queen Elizabeth II.
Truss’ appointment follows former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s departure from 10 Downing Street for the final time. He officially resigned in a meeting with the Queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland earlier in the day.
Truss vows energy crisis action after becoming Britain’s new PM
By William James, Kate Holton and Elizabeth Piper
Truss vows to take on global headwinds
New PM faces daunting in-tray

(Reuters) – Liz Truss took over as British prime minister on Tuesday, vowing immediate action to tackle one of the most daunting set of challenges for an incoming leader in post-War history led by soaring energy bills, a looming recession and industrial strife.
Truss, who will later announce her government appointments, said she had three priorities: growing the economy through tax cuts, dealing with rising energy costs from this week, and ensuring people got the care they needed from the state-run National Health Service.
However, she inherits an economy in crisis, with inflation at double digits, the cost of energy soaring and the Bank of England warning of a lengthy recession by the end of this year. Already, workers across the economy have gone on strike.
Truss Takes Office, Promising Britons They Can ‘Ride Out the Storm’
Liz Truss takes over as prime minister at a time of deepening economic crisis. Her first cabinet appointments reward loyalists who supported her bid for office.
(NYT) Liz Truss, newly anointed by Queen Elizabeth II as Britain’s prime minister, arrived at a rain-swept Downing Street on Tuesday, promising action this week on energy bills to help Britons “ride out the storm,” and filling out a cabinet that rewarded her loyalists in the contest to replace Boris Johnson.
Speaking under dark clouds minutes after a thundershower drenched onlookers, Ms. Truss leaned on the weather as a metaphor for the economic challenges facing Britain. But she offered no fresh details on how the government planned to help people cope with soaring inflation and runaway costs.
The pound, bonds and energy: the winners and losers under British PM Truss
Truss risks fresh row with EU over workers’ rights, say legal experts
Changes as part of ‘bonfire’ of EU laws could lead to tariffs on British exports if level playing field rules breached
(The Guardian) The new prime minister is reportedly considering a review of workers’ rights as part of a wider “bonfire” of 1,500 EU laws she wants to take off the UK’s statute books before the end of 2023.
Liz Truss to appoint cabinet of loyalists as she becomes UK’s next PM
Britain’s fourth Tory prime minister in six years begins race against time to deal with cost of living emergency on Tuesday
The prime minister-elect is expected to announce plans for an energy price freeze on Thursday as she battles to navigate an overwhelming in-tray during the worst economic crisis in a generation.
She also faces an uphill struggle to win over Tory MPs as she inherits a deeply divided party lagging behind in the polls – some mutinous backbenchers are already said to be plotting her demise. Truss won 81,326 votes (57.4%) of Tory members to the former chancellor’s 60,399 (42.6%), a narrower victory than many had expected.
Truss will reveal support for households and businesses later this week, with allies understood to be discussing a £100bn package that could include freezing energy bills. Treasury sources said that under the proposal, funds could be provided by commercial banks and backed by government guarantees, and added to consumers’ bills over the long term.
One move under discussion is to freeze all households’ bills potentially until the next planned general election in 2024, according to reports. Truss was also said to be planning an expansion of North Sea gas extraction.
Team Truss: 10 key people in PM’s inner circle

EU calls on Liz Truss to abide by Brexit deal
European leaders express hope for more constructive relationship with Britain’s new prime minister
The EU has urged Liz Truss to respect the Brexit agreement, as it called on the incoming British prime minister to take a broader view of Britain’s relationship with Europe.
The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, who is expected to speak to Truss by phone in the coming days, tweeted her congratulations, referring to common challenges, from climate change to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Behind the scenes, EU officials have low expectations of an improvement in relations with Truss, the architect of a bill to override key aspects of the Northern Ireland protocol, which could lead to a trade war. (See Truss-Sunak contest leaves Brussels pessimistic about relations with UKEU officials see little hope of escape from post-Brexit low under either Tory candidate and Brexit is the monster under the bed Liz Truss is desperately trying to ignore)

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