Andrew Marr: This government just isn't working

14 October 2022, 16:51 | Updated: 15 October 2022, 07:39

Andrew Marr said Truss has turned Britain into "a laughing stock"
Andrew Marr said Truss has turned Britain into "a laughing stock". Picture: LBC
Andrew Marr

By Andrew Marr

Watching Liz Truss’s brief, uncharming press conference after she had sacked her friend and soulmate Kwasai Kwarteng, it was hard to work out whether the prime minister really understood what was happening around her.

The nearest she came to a shred of apology was when she said that “parts of our mini budget went further and faster than markets were expecting” as if the markets had been slow to get with it, and were to blame for intellectual failure.

She proclaimed several times her belief in economic stability, without acknowledging - perhaps without realising -that it was her own policy which has put economic stability at such great and recent risk. Her many critics in the party will not what have been looking on with much optimism.

Bringing in Jeremy Hunt as a kind of bullet-taking bodyguard from the opposite wing of the party to be her new Chancellor, might be a shrewd move which buys her time.

But because he is “One Nation” and she is against that kind of Conservatism, isn't there a danger that the markets see this as further incoherence at the centre of British policy making?

She also gave due warning that spending cuts are coming after all, even if because of inflation: "Spending will grow less rapidly than previously planned.” That piles up further trouble for her in the House of Commons, where many of the planned cuts - if we can use the word “planned” about this government at the moment - may be impossible to get through.

These have been hugely traumatic events. Chancellors have had to rush back home before during economic crisis – remember Denis Healey returning to the Treasury in 1976 on his way to an IMF meeting when Britain was said to be “bust". But no chancellor has come back having lost the centre of his economic agenda, to be fired by the Prime Minister, only weeks into the job.

This government just isn't working. Many Tory MPs, for all the difficulties ahead, now want to get rid of their new prime minister. They will do so, if and when their very personal calculations about whether or not they can keep their seats, point to rational revolt.

The rest of us are left with higher interest rates and a future of spending cuts and soaring bills. We are also left knowing that Britain has become a laughing stock around the world. It's awful. and nothing that happened this week has changed that.

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