Kwasi Kwarteng has been sacked as chancellor, as Liz Truss attempts to rest her ailing premiership and reassure the markets and her own MPs she is changing course on the economy.
The prime minister is prepares to announce a major U-turn on the mini-Budget, including a reversal of her planned corporation tax cut.
The Independent takes a look at the favourites to succeed Mr Kwarteng at No 11, as the prime minister looks to reassure markets and shore up support from despairing Tory MPs.
Mr Hunt is a surprise leading contender to replace Mr Kwarteng. The former health secretary and Tory leadership contender is seen as the flagbearer of the moderate centrists in the party, and bringing him would signal a major change in economic policy.
The former health secretary is reportedly now Ms Truss’s top choice to be the new chancellor in a bid to reach out to other wings of the Tory party.
Mr Zahawi is another of the strong contenders to step into Mr Kwarteng’s shoes. He currently leads the Cabinet Office as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and formally endorsed Ms Truss during the Tory leadership campaign.
But he would be viewed as a steady hand after weeks of turmoil, given his experience as the chancellor this summer. He oversaw the transition from the Boris Johnson government to the Truss administration, including the preparation of plans for an energy price cap.
Mr Javid – who also backed Ms Truss for the leadership – is the other leading candidate to replace Mr Kwarteng. He would also be seen as a stable presence, given his previous experience as Boris Johnson’s first chancellor (between July 2019 and February 2020).
Mr Javid and Mr Zahawi are under serious consideration as replacements to take the helm at the Treasury in the hope of restoring confidence in the markets, The Independent understands. But Mr Javid is the bookies’ favourite.
Mr Barclay is widely-respected by Tory MPs and has plenty of experience in top roles. He was formerly Brexit secretary, chief secretary to the Treasury and Cabinet Office minister, and was brought in to No 10 by Boris Johnson in February in a bid to steady the ship.
Mr Clarke – the current levelling up secretary – would be radical choice, given his strong backing for Ms Truss’s radical economic approach which has spooked the markets. But he is a close ally of Ms Truss and has experience as chief secretary to the Treasury for the final year of Mr Johnson’s government.
Mr Philip – the current chief secretary to the Treasury – would be an even more radical choice. The Trussonomics backer was reportedly the architect of the disastrous proposal to cut the 45p top rate of tax for the wealthiest. But he denied the plan was “his idea”.