Who is Kwasi Kwarteng? Chancellor sacked by Liz Truss ahead of PM’s mini-budget press conference, replaced by Jeremy Hunt
He was appointed to this role on September 6 after the new Prime Minister Liz Truss took office.
After a brief hiatus following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Kwarteng returned with his announcement of the ‘mini-budget’ on September 23 that was intended to boost the economy and soften the blow of the energy crisis being expedited by Russia’s activities.
However, his first fiscal statement has resulted in lowering the value of the pound and the bond market - raising concerns for the credibility of his financial work.
Despite headlines only hours ago speaking of Truss’ “total confidence” in Kwarteng and their growth plan, it has since been announced that the Tory leader has sacked him this afternoon as she ‘ripped up’ the mini-budget.
Who is Kwasi Kwarteng?
Kwasi Kwarteng was born in north-east London in 1975 - the same year as Tory leader Liz Truss.
He is the son of Ghanaian immigrants - an economist and barrister - who first came to the UK as students back in the 1960’s.
Kwarteng went to the highly prestigious Eton College on a scholarship and later attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied Classics and History.
At Cambridge, Kwarteng achieved a “double-first” in his degree and he also attended Harvard University in the US.
According to a BBC report, going to Church was a “strong part of his mother’s life and she was a lifelong Conservative voter.”
Kwarteng has commented in the past that his mother was a huge supporter of Margaret Thatcher and he has described himself as a “pragmatic Thatcherite”.
Kwarteng was formally in a relationship with Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary between 2016 and 2018.
He has since married Harriet Edwards as of 2019 and the two welcomed their first child, Ida, in 2021.
After ascending from being the Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy between January 8, 2021, and September 6, 2022, Kwarteng was later appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
What is Kwasi Kwarteng’s political background?
After finishing his studies, Kwasi Kwarteng worked at the Daily Telegraph newspaper as a columnist - a job also previously held by former PM Boris Johnson - before transitioning into banking with JP Morgan, a US investment firm.
As he returned to Cambridge to complete a PhD in Economic History in the year 2000, he then turned his attention to politics.
While some advanced quickly into ministerial positions it took Kwarteng several years to move ahead, during this time he became accustomed to Westminster politics and wrote many books including one on Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher.
By 2017 he was finally promoted to being the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the former Chancellor Phillip Hammond.
From there, he held his role as a minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy before becoming a Chancellor as of September 6, 2022.
However, Kwarteng has been dropped into a plummeting UK economy undergoing a cost-of-living crisis and soaring inflation.
Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss’ relationship
Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss’ relationship is often described as an ideological “allyship” with the BBC even phrasing the two as long-time “political soulmates”.
The two even co-authored a book that called for a deregulated, small-state future for Britain.
After Boris Johnson resigned as PM this year, Kwarteng expressed his support for Liz Truss’ bid to assume the role and following her appointment as Conservative leader she instantly appointed Kwarteng as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Although Kwarteng has taken over at Number 11 Downing Street during a turbulent time for the UK economy it has been said he won’t be “short of support” from his neighbour Liz Truss.
One friend told The Times that Truss and Kwarteng were a bit like “Batman and Robin,”
“They are both slight social misfits, amiable geeks, and have strong views which are in tune with each other.”
However, recent updates tell a different story as Kwarteng was ‘axed’ by Liz Truss this afternoon ahead of her mini-budget press conference.
What’s next for Kwasi Kwarteng?
Despite insisting that his fiscal statement would spark growth, Kwarteng has been dismissive of his critics that have said otherwise.
In a comment to the BBC, he said: "What was unacceptable and unsustainable was the idea that we were going to have tax being at a 70-year high and that we could continue simply raising taxes.
"That was unsustainable, something had to change and I'm very pleased we changed that."
However, with Kwarteng’s fiscal plan seeing the British pound hit a record low against the US dollar it has brought him into the thick of nationwide criticism with one Government source telling Reuters:
“He's not going to feel culpable for any of the chaos in markets right now.
"He will be saying: 'the medicine tastes bad but the country needs to swallow this."
Kwarteng was due to set out a medium-term fiscal plan along with OBR forecasts regarding government borrowing on November 23, 2022.
However, a senior Number 10 inside source reported to The Independent that he is “to be sacked as the Chancellor of the Exchequer today.”
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