Why Britain will lose from America’s trade wars

Davos this year marked the start of a great economic divorce of the United States and Europe. Katherine Tai, the US trade chief, said that globalised capitalism is not working anymore. It leaves workers behind and gives fuel to populists, she said. Really, the Biden administration wants reassert US dominance in the world, and is using the country’s economic weight to do it. The Europeans, meanwhile, seem happy to become more protectionist too, with France’s Europe minister Laurence Boone calling the new US stance a ‘wake-up call’ and saying that Europe should respond in kind. Europe’s leaders are reacting to the reality that, with high energy prices, their manufacturing cannot remain competitive

Treasury counts the cost of Truss’s mini-Budget

Many institutions were left counting the cost of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-Budget. And nowhere more so, it seems, than on Horse Guards Road, where those much-loathed guardians of Treasury orthodoxy were forced to work overtime to deal with the resulting market fallout.  Staff earned an extra £89,771 for their work. Kerching! New figures, released in response to a parliamentary question by Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney, reveal that Treasury staff overtime almost doubled after September’s ‘fiscal event’. As officials battled to cope with the resulting market chaos in the weeks that followed, they clocked up more than 1,500 extra hours in October than in the same month

Who was George Canning? (1973)

Until Liz Truss, George Canning was the shortest-serving prime minister. He needn’t be forgotten by pub quizzers, general knowledge collectors and historians alike. In 1973, Richard Luckett reviewed a major biography of Canning’s life for The Spectator. Every schoolboy knows about the duel with Castlereagh; students of that neglected subject, abusive language, remember Brougham’s description of his behaviour over the Catholic question (‘the most incredible specimen of monstrous truckling for the purpose of obtaining office which the whole history of political tergiversation could furnish’); historians recall his reputation as an orator, his part in the decision to bombard Copenhagen, his divisive effect on Tory ministries, his forceful conduct of foreign policy

Fraser Nelson

Why Liz Truss had to go

The Liz Truss survival plan was, in the end, unworkable. She not only hired her enemies – Grant Shapps and Jeremy Hunt – but let them govern: tearing up her policies, while she held on in No. 10. She thought the Tory right had no candidate to replace her with and the Tory left would be happy because there had been a Cameroon restoration. So yes, it was a humiliation – but one that was supposed to keep her in post. The wheels feel off yesterday, and Truss had to accept that her game was over Could it last? Earlier this week I spoke to several MPs who could see Truss surviving

Whips stay in post after a night of chaos

In a sign of how chaotic tonight has been for the Conservative party, I have now been told that the Chief Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy Craig Whittaker have not left the government after all. I have spoken to Northern Ireland Minister Steve Baker, who says: ‘I have just seen the deputy and he is categorical that neither he nor the chief have resigned.’ No. 10 has belatedly confirmed this too. Steve Baker seems to be the only minister trying to offer some kind of government line What seems to have happened is this. The whips instructed the party that the fracking vote would be a confidence issue this morning.

Liz Truss apologises for the chaos. What next?

Finally, we hear from the Prime Minister. Liz Truss has given an interview to the BBC’s political editor Chris Mason. It comes at the end of a day in which she was accused of ‘hiding under a desk’ and emerged in the Commons only for a silent half an hour of blinking occasionally. She apologised, saying: ‘Firstly I want to accept responsibility and say sorry, for the mistakes that have been made.’ Truss did not appear comfortable this evening. It would have been weird if she did The Prime Minister has left others to argue that the government is still functioning. What she hasn’t done, until now, is offer any

Isabel Hardman

The effective PM has some difficult choices to make

Jeremy Hunt’s statement to the Commons underlined that he is now running the government. This wasn’t just evident from what he said, but from what was happening as he said it. The Chancellor spoke with the Prime Minister sitting behind him in silence, barely moving save to blink. Liz Truss had belatedly entered the chamber at the end of the Urgent Question that she had refused to answer herself, and then left half an hour later. But the statement also showed us quite how hard it is going to be for any caretaker leader, de facto prime minister or other figure to take the party back into a place where

Kate Andrews

Has Hunt restored the government’s fiscal credibility?

Jeremy Hunt set out at the start of the weekend with one goal in mind: that when the gilt markets reopened on Monday, the cost of government borrowing would not surge further. Ideally, it would start to fall. In this sense, it’s been a successful day for the new Chancellor. The Treasury’s early morning update that a major fiscal announcement was about to be announced saw gilt yields start to drop when markets opened at 8 a.m. After Hunt’s overhaul of the mini-Budget – including the surprising decision to suspend the 1p cut to the basic rate of tax ‘indefinitely’ – they fell even further. After starting the day at

Sam Leith

Can you feel sorry for Liz Truss?

It is not easy to feel sorry for Liz Truss. She has a deeply unattractive streak of vanity – when in the Foreign Office, she seemed more interested in posing for the official photographers who trailed her round than she did in building relationships with the places she visited. She campaigned hard and sometimes dirty to obtain a job for which she was manifestly out of her depth. Once in that job, she exercised power with peremptory arrogance. She rewarded people who had sucked up to her, cast out anyone who had spoken up for her rival, and allowed experienced civil servants to be hoofed ruthlessly out of their jobs.

How long can Liz Truss hold on?

How much trouble is Liz Truss in? Just six weeks into her premiership, the Prime Minister’s economic plans are in tatters after she axed her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, reversed on her campaign pledge to scrap the scheduled corporation tax hike and brought in Jeremy Hunt as his successor. Now Hunt is calling the shots on the economy and he plans to reverse much of what the Truss government have announced so far, with tax rises and public spending cuts to come. Truss’s own supporters are privately asking what the point of her government is now. Unsurprisingly, this has all led to talk among Tory MPs that the end is nigh.

Sunday shows round-up: Is Truss a ‘libertarian jihadist’?

Jeremy Hunt – ‘The Prime Minister is in charge’ To say things do not look rosy for Liz Truss would be quite the understatement. With the government now on its second Chancellor in as many months, and its once flagship policies being hastily swept under the carpet, the Conservative party appears to be in damage limitation mode. Laura Kuenssberg spoke to the new Chancellor this morning, in a pre-recorded interview, asking him if Truss was now such a damaged figure that he was the one really calling the shots: ‘There is a very difficult job to be done right now’ Hunt told Kuenssberg that he would be looking at all

James Forsyth

Hunt on Truss: ‘She’s willing to change’

Liz Truss’s gaoler has just done another BBC interview. Jeremy Hunt continued to try and give himself maximum room for manoeuvre, saying ‘I’m not taking anything off the table’. He repeated his message: We are going to have to take some very difficult decisions both on spending and on tax. Spending is not going to increase by as much as people hoped, and indeed we’re going to have to ask all government departments to find more efficiencies than they’d planned. And taxes are not going to go down as quickly as people thought, and some taxes are going to go up. It will be fascinating to see if Truss is


Does Joe Biden know what ‘super-wealthy’ Americans pay in tax?

Joe Biden, ice cream in hand as so often, yesterday pronounced on Liz Truss’s tax reform disaster.  ‘I wasn’t the only one that thought it was a mistake,’ said Joe Biden, sounding every bit the wise old man of global politics. ‘I think that the idea of cutting taxes on the super-wealthy at a time when… I disagree with the policy, but that’s up to Great Britain.’ That concession at the end is the President realising he’s just breached the normal rules of diplomacy – by giving his opinion on an ally’s domestic difficulties. But he just can’t help himself. Biden has probably forgotten, but he has proposed increasing the

Patrick O'Flynn

Who voted for Jeremy Hunt to run Britain?

Jeremy Hunt has no mandate to lead Britain. He couldn’t muster sufficient Tory MPs behind him to properly enter the last leadership contest. He was beaten overwhelmingly in the one before that.  He was a key part of the failed Theresa May administration that lost a parliamentary majority at a general election. He played no role in the Boris Johnson administration that won it back with plenty to spare (a victory from which the Conservative mandate to govern still flows). Yet in a round of interviews this weekend, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer simply ripped up the economic agenda of Liz Truss. He mocked and then buried the PM’s

Five ways the Liz Truss saga could end

How does this end? That’s the question being asked by Tory MPs as Liz Truss’s government finds itself in turmoil once again. The Prime Minister’s decision to axe her chancellor and U-turn on a plan to ditch the corporation tax has only added to nerves in the Conservative party as to how sustainable the current situation is in. It’s clear that different wings of the party are incredibly unhappy with the current leadership. Yet Truss is technically safe from challenge for another year. What’s more, it’s not clear who exactly the party could agree on. Earlier this month, I wrote for the magazine on the scenarios being war-gamed by ministers,

Isabel Hardman

‘She’s just so bad at everything’: Tory MPs turn on Truss

Liz Truss’s Downing Street press conference has made everything worse, as far as Tory MPs are concerned. As soon as it was over, a number of backbenchers who had supported Truss for leader were locked into a call with Thérèse Coffey, the PM’s closest friend in Parliament and the Deputy Prime Minister. Those on the call said it was ‘like a wake,’ with even Coffey sounding ‘broken.’ ‘You could see the loss in her eyes,’ said one. Coffey reiterated the points the Prime Minister had made in No. 10, before taking questions. The ‘wake’ line is one you hear a lot at the moment. A number of MPs who went

Katy Balls

Why Truss picked Hunt for Chancellor

A day is a long time in politics. Just this morning, a No. 10 source told the BBC the Prime Minister believed Kwasi Kwarteng was doing ‘an excellent job’ as chancellor and the pair were ‘in lockstep.’ Only just a few hours on, Liz Truss has sacked her close ally and friend in a bid to salvage her premiership. Now, Truss has appointed Jeremy Hunt to replace Kwarteng. It’s not even 2 p.m. The view in Downing Street is that Hunt is ultimately a low-tax Tory As soon as rumours started to circulate that Hunt was the preferred pick, there were raised eyebrows among Tory MPs. Nadhim Zahawi and Sajid

Removing PMs hardly ever ends well

As Tory MPs appear to descend into a panic of buyers’ remorse over the election of Liz Truss, they would be well advised to take a deep breath and reflect upon the absurdity of removing a leader after six weeks. As they do so, they might find it instructive to look across the sea to Australia to see the folly of constant leadership turmoil and the ever more lethal poison it injects into the bloodstream of political parties.    Over the past decade and a half, Canberra – whose politics are famously robust – earned the unenviable taunt of having become the ‘coup capital of the South Pacific,’ as both sides

Liz Truss’s epic blandness

Liz Truss faced her first proper grilling at PMQs. Her debut, last month, was a softball affair but today Keir Starmer went in with both fists swinging. He asked her to endorse Jacob Rees-Mogg’s view that ‘turmoil in the markets has nothing to do with the Budget’. ‘What we have done,’ said Liz, pleasantly, ‘we have taken decisive action to make sure that people are not facing energy bills of £6,000 for two years.’ Sir Keir, already hopping mad, blasted her for ignoring his specific point. ‘Avoiding the question, ducking responsibility, lost in denial,’ he said viciously. He mentioned a young couple from Wolverhampton, Zac and Rebecca, who last week