Kwasi Kwarteng: ‘Difficult call’ to attend post-budget drinks party

3 October 2022, 08:44 | Updated: 14 October 2022, 13:28

Conservative Party Conference 2022
Conservative Party Conference 2022. Picture: PA

The Chancellor said he felt he had to attend the Conservative Party event.

Kwasi Kwarteng said he “gets how it looks” after it emerged he had a drinks party with financiers on the day of the mini-budget.

The Chancellor said that “with hindsight it probably wasn’t the best day to go” to the Tory party event.

Political opponents called for an official inquiry following the Sunday Times report that he attended a private champagne reception with hedge fund managers who stood to gain from a collapse in sterling following his mini-budget.

Conservative Party Conference 2022
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is attending the Tory conference in Birmingham (Aaron Chown/PA)

Mr Kwarteng said the event had been planned for “a few weeks”.

He told LBC Radio: “I spent, I think, quarter of an hour there, or maybe a bit longer. It was a party event, we have party events all the time.”

Mr Kwarteng added: “I think it was a difficult call and I totally get how it looks. I just feel that it was something that I was signed up to do and I had to do.”

He acknowledged that “with hindsight it probably wasn’t the best day to go”.

The Sunday Times reported that he joined the gathering at the Chelsea home of a City financier on the evening of September 23 where he was said to have been “egged on” to commit to his plan for £45 billion of unfunded tax cuts.

The following Sunday, in a BBC TV interview, the Chancellor declared there was “more to come”, a comment that was blamed for helping to spook the markets, driving the pound, which was already falling, to an all-time low against the dollar.

Tory chairman Jake Berry, who was also at the gathering, insisted Conservative Party donors at the event should be “lauded” while Prime Minister Liz Truss said meeting business people was part of the Chancellor’s job.

By Press Association