Prime Minister Liz Truss has asked Kwasi Kwarteng to step aside as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he confirmed on Friday. Truss is poised make a public statement later today, which is expected to announce a U-turn on the planned increase in corporation tax.
In a letter sent to Truss, he said that he will support the Prime Minister and his successor from the backbenches of Parliament.
The sacking came after Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget of £45 billion worth of unfunded tax cuts sent financial markets flailing.
Kwarteng’s successor will be the fourth chancellor in just four months, though Kwarteng will not be the shortest serving one.
Iain Macleod, a Conservative MP, holds the title for shortest serving finance minister, serving just 30 days in June 1970 after dying of a heart attack.
Kwarteng comes in second on the list, having served 38 days as of Oct. 14.
Nadhim Zahawi, speaking in a socially distanced, hybrid session of the House of Commons in London on January 11, 2021
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His predecessor Nadhim Zahawi is the third shortest serving finance minister. He became chancellor under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after previous Chancellor Rishi Sunak resigned on Jul. 5 over handling of sexual harassment allegations against another MP, Christopher Pincher.
Sunak served as chancellor for over two years, coming into the role in February 2020 just before the pandemic told hold in the U.K.
Then Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak makes an Economic Update statement from the despatch box in the House of Commons in London on February 3, 2022
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The parliamentary position has been held under a Conservative administration since 2010. The last chancellor under the opposition Labour party was Alastair Darling, who served Gordon Brown’s government from June 2007 until May 2010.
The role dates back to as far as the 12th century, where the Exchequer would be responsible for collecting and auditing royal revenues.
The Chancellor as we now know it is head of the office of the Treasury of the Exchequer, which dates back to the Acts of Union law in 1707.
The position controls fiscal policy and controlled monetary policy until 1997, when the Bank of England took over as an independent central bank controlling interest rates.