All eyes are on Kwasi Kwarteng’s plane as the chancellor rushes back to Westminster from the United States for emergency budget talks.
British Airways BA292 is currently the most tracked flight in the world, with over 6,000 journalists, City traders, and politicos monitoring its progress as it flies over Reading at 10:30 on Friday.
The commercial flight, which is scheduled to land just before 11am UK time, is carrying Mr Kwarteng, who made an early exist from a meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC.
He is expected to be heading to Downing Street for emergency in-person talks about whether to U-turn on controversial tax measures.
The chancellor was to head back later on Friday but after a hasty briefing with journalists late on Thursday he announced he would fly back to Britain overnight.
It comes after The Independent reported that officials in Downing Street are going through Mr Kwarteng’s budget line-by-line to work out which bits they can scrap.
The chancellor on Thursday insisted he was “100 per cent” staying in his job but his early departure has raised speculation of either a U-turn on the cuts or a change in personnel at the Treasury.
A massive reduction in the planned rate of corporation tax costing tens of billions of pounds is thought to be in the crosshairs in a desperate bid to restore confidence in the UK’s finances.
As of 10:32 on Friday 6,188 people were monitoring the progress of Mr Kwarteng’s plane on popular website Flightradar24.
Financial markets went haywire after Mr Kwarteng’s budget prioritised huge unfunded tax cuts, mainly for wealthier people, and he has already had to U-turn on a cut to the top rate of tax.
The financial chaos has led to surging government borrowing costs, higher mortgage rates, and a tanking Pound – and has required multiple interventions by the Bank of England.
A Treasury official insist the chancellor was returning early for talks on “the medium-term fiscal plan”.
They added that it was “completely different” to when Greece’s finance minister left an international meeting a day early in response to that country’s 2011 financial crisis.
Speaking on Friday morning as the chancellor was in the air over the Atlantic trade minister Greg Hands downplayed the prime minister’s dash for London.
“It’s not unusual to come back a day early from an international visit,” Mr Hands told Sky News
“The major meat of the meetings of the IMF and World Bank have finished.”