JWG via DTN 15 January 2023 JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard…
Britain, Brexit & Rishi Sunak 6 September 2022-
The UK’s Search for a Post-Brexit Role
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 2022)
David Cameron makes shock comeback in high-risk reshuffle
Ex-PM’s appointment as foreign secretary indicates a move to the centre by Rishi Sunak and is likely to anger the right of the party
(The Guardian) The prime minister, who pledged to be the “change candidate” at the Conservative conference just a month ago, turned to his centrist predecessor on Monday to help close the gap with Labour as he confirmed the ministerial team expected to lead the party into the next election.
The reshuffle, which represents a shift towards securing the Tory base in southern blue wall seats, even if it costs them votes in the northern “red wall”, is probably a last throw of the dice for Sunak. The party is trailing Labour by more than 20 points and the government is under pressure from its own MPs to cut taxes in next week’s autumn statement, a move made less likely by Hunt’s remaining at the Treasury.
However, Cameron’s return, which sources said had been facilitated by the Tory former leader William Hague, comes with baggage – including his role leading the remain campaign and how that will be viewed by a party now overwhelmingly pro-Brexit. His role as the architect of austerity, which left many of Britain’s public services crippled and its welfare system diminished, is also likely to face renewed scrutiny.
Jeremy Kinsman: Bucolic and a Little Less Barmy: Seeking Respite in Post-Brexit Wiltshire
(Policy) I needed a time-out from Canada’s inward-facing parochial scene, in which the wider world is unexamined beyond the Ukraine war and US scandals, gun violence, and the latest on Trump. A respite to faire changer les idées in a smallish town of 10,000 in rural South West England served its therapeutic purpose admirably. Herewith my dispatch from Marlborough. …
Britain’s internationalist vocation draws from almost unrivalled soft power from the BBC, culture, and much else, including its educational assets and business acumen. Robust UK commitment to Ukraine, and its high-grade defence kit, may even win its defence minister, Ben Wallace, appointment as NATO’s next secretary general (though the Canadian deputy prime minister may in the end be seen as what NATO needs).
In the end, living here in Angleterre profonde encourages sympathy for the notion of British uniqueness that was the positive side of the Brexit case — that this isn’t just another European country. (Nor, though, are any of the others.) Younger Brits did feel as European as British or English, per today’s multi-identity custom. They can hopefully retrieve that belief from a new non-member positive partnership with the now self-confident EU that viscerally Eurosceptic Tories can’t abide. But a reframed positive partnership is essential for Britain’s development, and provides a compatible European family setting for Britain’s enduring “old country” soul and self.
Tory election victory hopes hit by shattering byelection defeats
Starmer hails results as ‘cry for change’ as Sunak’s party loses Selby and Ainsty and Somerton and Frome, but clings on in Uxbridge
Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said the Tory defeats showed voters had let out a “cry for change” despite narrowly failing to take Boris Johnson’s former Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat by 495 votes, amid unrest over the expansion of the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) charge on high-polluting vehicles. … In a night of high drama, Keir Mather, Labour’s 25-year-old candidate in Selby and Ainsty, overturned a 20,137 Tory majority to win by 4,161 votes, a historic 23.7 percentage points swing.
More Brits than ever say Brexit was wrong choice: YouGov survey
(Reuters) The proportion of Britons who say Brexit was a mistake hit a new record high this month, a survey from pollsters YouGov showed on Tuesday.
With few economic benefits to show for the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union, 57% of Britons said the decision to leave the European Union in 2016 was the wrong one, compared with 32% who thought it was correct.
More than half – 55% – said they would vote to remain in the EU, against 31% who said they would stay out, if the referendum were to be held again.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in May that Brexit is delivering benefits, citing his flagship policy of freeports and VAT cuts that he said would make beer and sanitary products cheaper.
Economists say freeports – special zones containing tax and customs reliefs and simplified trade regulations – are unlikely to boost Britain’s economy but may have limited value as a regional development tool.
UK PM Sunak pitches Britain as future home for AI regulation
(Reuters) – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday Britain could be the global home of artificial intelligence regulation as he pitched London as a tech hub to industry leaders and urged them to grasp the opportunities and challenges of AI.
Sunak’s government will host a summit on the risks and regulation of AI later this year, and on Monday he said the “tectonic plates of technology are shifting.”
“The possibilities (of AI) are extraordinary. But we must – and we will – do it safely,” Sunak said in a speech at the London Tech Week conference.
‘Brexit has failed’: Nigel Farage is the new poster boy for Remainer campaign
Led By Donkeys campaign group will put anti-Brexit billboards up across the UK.
(Politico Eu) A new national ad campaign in the U.K. will highlight the remark from the leading Eurosceptic, who told the BBC’s Newsnight program earlier May that Britain has not benefited economically from leaving the bloc.
“Brexit has failed,” the former Brexit Party leader declared at the time. “We’ve not delivered on Brexit and the Tories have let us down very, very badly.”
Brexit food trade barriers have cost UK households £7bn, report finds
LSE researchers estimate that extra barriers on EU food imports have pushed up bills by £250 on average
The university’s latest report estimating the impact of leaving the bloc on UK food prices found that trade barriers were consistently hampering imports, pushing up bills by an average £250.
They’re openly saying it: Brexit has failed. But what comes next may be very dark indeed
The ‘remoaner elite’, the civil service, the BBC, universities, unions, refugees: anything is blamed but Brexit itself
Interviewed on BBC Newsnight on Monday, Nigel Farage made a confession that, by rights, should end the debate that has split this country down the middle for much of the last decade. A month ahead of the seventh anniversary of the 2016 vote that took Britain out of the European Union, Farage said three words of striking simplicity and truth: “Brexit has failed.”
Start with the facts that even Farage can no longer duck. During the referendum campaign, he and his allies promised that Brexit would be a boon for the UK economy, unshackling it from Brussels red tape and releasing it into a roaring future. Seven years on, we can see the reality: a country in the grip of a cost of living crisis that means millions can no longer afford what they once regarded as the basics. Britain is becoming poorer and falling behind its peers. Ours is now forecast to be one of the worst performing economies in the world, not merely seventh in the G7 but 20th in the G20 – behind even a Russia under toughening international sanctions – according to the International Monetary Fund.
Brexit blame game erupts again: how leaving EU came back to bite Tories
Carmakers’ criticisms and migration figures add to pressure on Rishi Sunak, who is not trusted by leavers
Just about everything you need to know about the Good Friday Agreement
(BBC) 25 years ago, on 10 April 1998, the Good Friday Agreement was signed.
The historic deal will be commemorated in a series of events in April, with US President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton both set to visit Northern Ireland to mark the anniversary.
The Backstory: The Good Friday Agreement
This week, U.S. President Joe Biden and other world leaders will travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought an end to decades of violent conflict in the region. Although the peace still holds, sectarian tensions endure—and Brexit has revived questions about Northern Ireland’s status and its future as part of the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union threatened the country’s already weakening foundations, Fintan O’Toole writes. For Northern Ireland, Brexit had the potential to reinstate a hard border with the Republic of Ireland, which remains an EU member—a move that would have undermined key pillars of the 1998 peace accord. With reunification of the island on the table as a key provision of the Good Friday Agreement, O’Toole observed on The Foreign Affairs Interview, Northern Ireland has “already been psychologically semi-detached—and Brexit has added to that.”
Disunited Kingdom – Will Nationalism Break Britain?
(Foreign Affairs March/April) Anxiety about the future of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is not new. It goes back to the beginning of the story. Yet for many British citizens, the death of Queen Elizabeth II has given a sharp new edge to these old apprehensions. The stability she embodied for so long has been, as Shakespeare might have put it, interred with her bones. Liz Truss, the prime minister whom the queen swore in two days before she died, plunged the United Kingdom almost immediately into a fiscal crisis and was gone just weeks later. Since then, the country has faced soaring energy prices, widespread strikes, and what will likely be the worst economic contraction in decades. Having abandoned Europe, the British government now finds itself not only less influential in the world but also increasingly at odds with Scotland and Northern Ireland, where large majorities voted to stay in the EU. And the monarchy, once an imposing symbol of British influence and British identity, is now the breeding ground for lurid tabloid tales of petty fratricidal wars and princes mired in scandal and enmity.
The United Kingdom created a beta version of democracy in the eighteenth century: innovative and progressive in its day but long since surpassed by newer models. The country has, however, been extremely reluctant to abandon even the most egregious anachronisms. The biggest transformation in its governance was joining the European Union, and that has been reversed. It now has to make a momentous and existential choice—between a radically reimagined United Kingdom and a stubborn adherence to the English habit of muddling through [what Winston Churchill called KBO, for “keep buggering on”] If it chooses the latter, it will muddle on toward its own extinction.
This deal could have been struck in 2021 – but the last thing Brexiters wanted was to get Brexit done
The leave ultras rely on their Eurosceptic grievances – no wonder Boris Johnson created the disastrous protocol in the first place
(The Guardian) The Northern Ireland protocol is the last outpost of the once mighty manufacturing empire that produced, in industrial quantities, self-pitying narratives of Britons oppressed by Brussels. Now, perhaps, that assembly line has finally juddered to a halt.
The paradox of the Brexit project for its own advocates is that its very success has cut off the pipeline of complaint that fed their teeming springs of outrage. The protocol was the last excuse for throwing the old shapes, the one remaining arena in which the grand game of Euro-bashing could be played. It is not surprising that there are those – Boris Johnson, much of the European Research Group (ERG), part of the Democratic Unionist party – who can’t bear to part with it.
A historic post-Brexit breakthrough
(GZERO media) UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled a plan on Monday they say will finally resolve the complex problem of post-Brexit trade involving Northern Ireland. In the coming days, skeptics (and opponents) of the deal within Sunak’s Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland will read the proposal closely to decide whether to approve it. The deal is intended to ease the flow of trade between Britain and Northern Ireland, some of which will flow across the UK’s border with the Republic of Ireland and into the EU. The deal creates two lanes for trade: a faster-flowing green lane for goods transiting only between Britain and Northern Ireland and a red lane with more rigorous customs checks for goods bound for the EU. The two biggest (of many) issues that will now be debated in Britain’s parliament: How to determine which lane each shipment of goods will travel through and what role the European Court of Justice will play in resolving trade disputes that involve Northern Ireland. Sunak appears to believe that his plan will pass parliament, but the scale of this important political victory for the embattled PM will depend on how much opposition from his own party and the DUP force him to rely on the opposition Labour Party for the votes needed to get it done. Sunak was in Belfast on Tuesday to sell the deal to the DUP.
Sunak says deal charts new way forward for Northern Ireland
He says the deal “permanently removes any sense of a border in the Irish Sea”
The Windsor Framework will effectively replace the Northern Ireland Protocol, which led to major disagreements between the UK and EU.
Sunak to meet Von der Leyen amid hopes of Northern Ireland protocol deal
Agreement in principle believed to be in closing stages with announcement expected next week
Rishi Sunak travels to Belfast in sign NI protocol deal is imminent
Visit suggests announcement of UK-EU solution on Northern Ireland could come as early as Friday
Revealed: secret cross-party summit held to confront failings of Brexit
Leading Brexiters and remainers, including Michael Gove and David Lammy, met for two-day ‘private discussion’ with diplomats and business leaders
(The Guardian) An extraordinary cross-party summit bringing together leading leavers and remainers – including Michael Gove and senior members of Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet – has been held in high secrecy to address the failings of Brexit and how to remedy them in the national interest, the Observer can reveal.
The two-day gathering of some of the country’s most senior Labour and Tory politicians from both sides of the Brexit debate, together with diplomats, defence experts and the heads of some of the biggest businesses and banks, was held at the historic Ditchley Park retreat in Oxfordshire on Thursday afternoon and evening, and on Friday.
Documents from the meeting, obtained by the Observer, describe it as a “private discussion” under the title: “How can we make Brexit work better with our neighbours in Europe?”
Volodymyr Zelenskiy makes appeal for jets in address to British parliament
Rishi Sunak asks defence secretary to look at options after Ukrainian leader’s plea in speech to MPs and peers
Volodymyr Zelenskiy made an emotional appeal to the UK to supply Ukraine with fighter jets on a surprise visit to the UK, forcing Rishi Sunak, previously opposed to handing over UK jets, to order a defence ministry review into whether Zelenskiy’s request can be met.
Standing room only as Zelenskiy delivers a lesson in leadership
In a historic address to members of the Commons and the Lords at Westminster Hall, Zelenskiy made the call in a speech lavishing praise on Britain’s leadership in the world, and was immediately backed by Zelenskiy’s firmest British ally, Boris Johnson.
The former prime minister said: “It is time to give Ukraine the extra equipment they need to defeat Putin and bring peace to Ukraine.’’ He said “the best single use of the 100 Typhoon planes in the UK’s possession is to deploy them now for the protection of Ukraine”, adding, “the faster we do it the better”.
At a joint press conference with Zelenskiy after reviewing the training of Ukrainian troops on a Challenger 2 tank simulator in Dorset, Sunak said “nothing was off the table”.
Ian Bremmer: Are the EU and UK close to a post-Brexit deal?
For a fleeting moment, it seemed like Brexit wrangling could finally end. But no. After reports claimed that the EU and UK were close to clinching a deal on trade rules for Northern Ireland, Brussels announced that, despite some progress, several issues remain intractable. (Really sorry you still have to hear about Brexit, but the Northern Ireland Protocol, you might recall, is the arrangement that Boris Johnson reached with the EU to avoid creating a hard border between the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, and Northern Ireland, a part of the UK.) One big sticking point is that Downing Street, along with the pro-UK DUP Party in Northern Ireland, wants to limit the role of the European Court of Justice in overseeing trade-related disputes. Another is the failure to agree on a practical border system that would avoid rigorous checks by customs. With Prime Minister Rishi Sunak facing mounting pressure from Tory Brexiteers not to give an inch to Brussels, we’re watching to see how he navigates a major political test that threatens to further split his Conservative Party.
UK’s teachers and civil servants join mass strike on ‘Walkout Wednesday’
Tens of thousands of teachers march in London
Prime Minister Sunak condemns strike
Government says big pay rises will fuel inflation
Schools shut, most trains not running
(Reuters) – Up to half a million British teachers, civil servants, and train drivers walked out over pay in the largest coordinated strike action for a decade on Wednesday, with unions threatening more disruption as the government digs its heels in over pay demands.
Brexit Is Costing the UK £100 Billion a Year in Lost Output
Bloomberg Economics report marks third anniversary of split
Business investment is weaker, labor shortages more acute
The Bloomberg study acknowledges that calculating how much output has been lost due to Brexit is neither “easy nor precise,” not least because leaving the EU coincided with the seismic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, it is clear that UK economic performance started to diverge from the rest of the Group of Seven following the 2016 vote to leave the EU, and has widened since.
The underperformance is partly explained by business investment as firms put spending decisions on hold because of uncertainty about what life outside the EU would mean.
Polly Toynbee: Three years on from Brexit, all UK voters are left with is a bitter taste of Bregret
Most people are now in favour of rejoining the EU, but Labour is right to steer clear of another row over Europe
Today’s Brexit anniversary marks three years of political mayhem and economic calamity. It is also 50 years since Britain joined the EEC. Ten years ago this month, David Cameron made his shameless Bloomberg speech pledging a referendum to placate his party and Ukippers, who he had previously called “fruitcakes”, “loonies” and “closet racists”.
Cameron wrongly thought Brexiteers could be appeased, but they proved insatiable. The more harm their Brexit does, the more extreme versions they demand, chasing those impossible phantasms they mis-sold to the country.
“Remoaner” was a clever Brexit epithet for the 48% of us who voted remain. The heartbreak of this act of national self-harm left remainers keening in grief, in a long moan for the loss of an ideal, along with certain economic decline. The ache, too, was over the broken old Labour alliances of interest and belief, cities against towns, old against young, those with qualifications against those with few. With the sorrow there was rage, white-hot and vengeful, against cynical Brexit leaders who knowingly sold snake oil and fairy dust.
Vive the evolution! Rishi Sunak launches a slow-motion bid to rescue Britain
Ridiculed and pitied abroad, and floundering at home, the new UK prime minister sets out his vision: survival of the weakest
… With the least successful economy in the G7, half the country seemingly on strike, and a huge inflation and cost of living crisis – all exacerbated by Brexit – the UK has regained its 1970’s crown as the “sick man of Europe”. Tory blather about still being a leading global power is a sick joke.
The sight of a government in denial, clinging to illusions of enduring greatness, embarrasses friends and amuses enemies. Sunak had a golden opportunity last week to set a different tone and develop a more imaginative approach in a set-piece speech on foreign and security policy at the lord mayor’s banquet in London.
He fluffed it. Instead of a fresh vision for Britain’s future in the world, Sunak served up a bland menu of Spitfire cliches, cramped ambition, self-congratulation and a revised theory of evolution – survival of the weakest.
China, he said, posed a “systemic challenge to our values and interests”. In response, the UK would, um, well, see how things go – while making an “evolutionary leap”, whatever that means. Likewise, Russia “is challenging the fundamental principles of the UN”. Rishi boldly insisted “robust pragmatism” would settle Vladimir Putin’s hash.
Sunak was even weirder about the Indo-Pacific, a region where Britain has no real geopolitical business to be. There was money to be made in Indonesia, he said, ergo, the Royal Navy must defend the strait of Malacca. Here was the East India Company’s imperial dream reworked for 21st-century carpetbaggers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
Johnson and Rishi Sunak, once his finance minister, led potential contenders as candidates canvassed support ahead of voting next week.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 UK – EU 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)