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Therese Raphael

Liz Truss Is Still in Office, But No Longer in Power

The UK prime minister can’t afford to lose another chancellor or fall any further in the polls. That makes new finance minister Jeremy Hunt the de facto head of government.

Backing down?

Backing down?

Photographer: DANIEL LEAL/AFP

Kwasi Kwarteng may have cut a large figure, but he proved to be the proverbial bull in a china shop as Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was repeatedly wrong, but never in doubt. His central conceit was that trust — whether from his party, the public or markets — could be assumed rather than earned. Sacking him may be Liz Truss’s first smart move as prime minister. 

But although Kwarteng has now been replaced by Jeremy Hunt, Truss isn’t out of trouble herself. No prime minister and chancellor duo in recent memory was more aligned on policy and ideology — or perhaps closer personally. In losing Kwarteng, Truss has effectively had to abandon her whole governing project.