Liz Truss has sacked Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor following the disastrous reception to last months’ tax-cutting budget.
The decision comes after unfunded tax cuts unveiled in the fiscal statement saw the Pound tank and the price of mortgages and government debt surge.
On Thursday Mr Kwarteng had assured reporters that he was “100 per cent” going to be continuing in the job.
But later that day he cut meetings at the IMF short and urgently flew back to Westminster for discussions with Downing Street.
The prime minister, who pledged most of the policies in the budget during her Tory leadership campaign, immediately faced accusations that she is making Mr Kwarteng carry the can for policies she herself proposed.
“No attempt to pass the buck can disguise the fact that Liz Truss is up to her neck in this,” said Kirsten Oswald, the deputy leader of Scottish National Party MPs at Westminster.
“The disastrous policies in the UK budget were the central plank of her Tory leadership campaign. It was her reckless incompetence that trashed the UK economy – and she is to blame for the damage to people’s mortgage rates, pensions and household budgets.
“With her Chancellor gone, it’s unclear what justification there is for Liz Truss remaining in post.”
Meanwhile Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said the prime minister should call a general election
“People are angry, fed up and worried about the future. Most of all they are furious that Conservative MPs seem to think this is an acceptable way to conduct the government of our country in these difficult times,” he said.
“Enough is enough. It started with Boris Johnson failing our country, and now Liz Truss has broken our economy, it is time for the people to have their say in a general election.”
Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor, saying the firing or Mr Kwarteng “doesn’t undo the damage that’s already been done”
“It was a crisis made in Downing Street. Liz Truss and the Conservatives crashed the economy, causing mortgages to skyrocket, and has undermined Britain’s standing on the world stage. We don’t just need a change in Chancellor, we need a change in government.”
It comes as some polls show the Conservatives more than 30 points behind the Labour Party and heading for a virtual wipeout at the next general election, including in their southern heartlands.
Mr Kwarteng becomes the country’s second shortest-lived chancellor in history, in office just days longer than Iain Macleod, who died after 30 days in post in 1970.
He has taken that title from from Nadhim Zahawi, who was appointed chancellor in the dying days of Boris Johnson’s premiership, holding the office for 62 days.