Sunak to ‘fix Truss mistakes’, Hunt stays in post
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Rishi Sunak today pledged to fix the mistakes made by his predecessor in Number Ten and began shaping his first Cabinet with a clear-out of Liz Truss’s top team.
As expected Jeremy Hunt will remain in his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer and will deliver the fiscal statement on Monday. He was appointed by Ms Truss after Kwai Kwarteng was sacked, though he has been a Sunak supporter.
Grant Shapps has been appointed Business Secretary, replacing Jacob Rees-Mogg who resigned earlier in the day. Mel Stride, former chair of the Treasury Select Committeer, is the new Secretary for Work and Pernsions.
Alister Jack has retained his position as Scotland secretary.
Steve Barclay, another former Treasury minister, becomes Health Secretary, replacing Therese Coffey who moves to Environment.
Dominic Raab is the new Justice Secretary and will also return as Deputy Prime Minister. James Cleverly is re-appointed Foreign Secretary. Simon Hart becomes the chief whip. Ben Wallace keeps his job as Defence Secretary.
As predicted yesterday, Suella Braverman has been re-appointed Home Secretary less than a week after she resigned from the same role in Ms Truss’s cabinet.
Michael Gove returns at Levelling Up and Pernny Mordaunt remains Leader of the House.
Nadhim Zahawi, who was Boris Johnson’s last Chancellor, will remain in cabinet, despite initially backing the former PM in the leadership race. He has been appointed a minister without portfolio and also party chairman, replacing Jake Berry.
Alok Sharma has been removed from cabinet but remains Cop26 president, No 10 has briefed. He’ will negotiate on behalf of the UK at Cop27 in Egypt but will no longer be a minister or attend cabinet.,
Speaking in Downing Street shortly after being confirmed as the new Prime Minister by the King, Mr Sunak struck a cautious but determined tone that acknowledged the difficulties people were living under.
He said he would prioritise “stability and confidence” but warned of difficult decisions ahead, a hint of spending cuts and possibly tax rises.
He said the country was “facing a profound economic crisis” in part due to “Putin’s war in Ukraine which has destabilised energy markets” around the world.
He paid tribute to his predecessor Liz Truss saying “she was not wrong to want to improve growth”. He said: “It is a noble aim and I admired her restlessness to create change.
“But some mistakes were made, not borne of ill-will of bad intentions, quite the opposite, in fact. But mistakes nonetheless, and I have been elected as leader of my party and your Prime Minister, in part, to fix them and that work begins immediately.
“I will place economic stability ad confidence at the hear of this government’s agenda. This will mean difficult decisions to come.”
The pound rallied to $1.13 and gilt yields returned to the level they were at before Ms Truss’s mini budget.
Mr Sunak later turned his attention to forming his first Cabinet. As predicted by Daily Business yesterday Mr Rees-Mogg has left his post as Business Secretary, saying it was the right thing to do as he was appointed by Ms Truss.
Justice Secretary Brandon Lewis and Wendy Morton, the chief Whip also left their posts.
Truss marks her achievements
Liz Truss, speaking outside Number Ten and looking more relaxed than at any time during her 49 days in Downing Street, listed the achievements of her short tenure.
She said her government had acted “urgently and decisively” to help families and businesses, reversed the National Insurance increase, helped households with energy bills, and was “taking back” Britain’s energy independence so the country was “never again beholden to global market fluctuations and malign foreign powers”.
She made no reference to the mini-budget and the events that followed but repeated her belief in a low tax economy.
The SNP’s deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald, clearly in no mood for sympathy or to acknowledge any of these achievements, instead chose to twist the knife.
She said: “It beggars belief that Liz Truss couldn’t bring herself to apologise – or utter a single word of regret – for the catastrophic damage she has done to the UK economy.
“Families are paying through their teeth for her mistakes as mortgage rates soar, pensions fall, energy bills rise and inflation goes through the roof.
“Now we face devastating austerity cuts under Rishi Sunak – with families footing the bill for Tory failure.
“It’s clearer than ever that Scotland needs independence to escape Westminster control and get rid of Tory governments for good.”
Mr Sunak’s speech in full:
I have just been to Buckingham Palace and accepted His Majesty The King’s invitation to form a government in his name.
It is only right to explain why I am standing here as your new Prime Minister.
Right now our country is facing a profound economic crisis.
The aftermath of Covid still lingers.
Putin’s war in Ukraine has destabilised energy markets and supply chains the world over.
I want to pay tribute to my predecessor Liz Truss, she was not wrong to want to improve growth in this country, it is a noble aim.
And I admired her restlessness to create change.
But some mistakes were made.
Not borne of ill will or bad intentions. Quite the opposite, in fact. But mistakes nonetheless.
And I have been elected as leader of my party, and your Prime Minister, in part, to fix them.
And that work begins immediately.
I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda.
This will mean difficult decisions to come.
But you saw me during Covid, doing everything I could, to protect people and businesses, with schemes like furlough.
There are always limits, more so now than ever, but I promise you this –
I will bring that same compassion to the challenges we face today.
The government I lead will not leave the next generation, your children and grandchildren, with a debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves.
I will unite our country, not with words, but with action.
I will work day in and day out to deliver for you.
This government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level.
Trust is earned. And I will earn yours.
I will always be grateful to Boris Johnson for his incredible achievements as Prime Minister, and I treasure his warmth and generosity of spirit.
And I know he would agree that the mandate my party earned in 2019 is not the sole property of any one individual, it is a mandate that belongs to and unites all of us.
And the heart of that mandate is our manifesto.
I will deliver on its promise.
A stronger NHS. Better schools. Safer streets. Control of our borders. Protecting our environment. Supporting our armed forces.
Levelling up and building an economy that embraces the opportunities of Brexit, where businesses invest, innovate, and create jobs.
I understand how difficult this moment is.
After the billions of pounds it cost us to combat Covid, after all the dislocation that caused in the midst of a terrible war that must be seen successfully to its conclusions I fully appreciate how hard things are.
And I understand too that I have work to do to restore trust after all that has happened.
All I can say is that I am not daunted. I know the high office I have accepted and I hope to live up to its demands.
But when the opportunity to serve comes along, you cannot question the moment, only your willingness.
So I stand here before you ready to lead our country into the future.
To put your needs above politics.
To reach out and build a government that represents the very best traditions of my party.
Together we can achieve incredible things.
We will create a future worthy of the sacrifices so many have made and fill tomorrow, and everyday thereafter with hope.
Ms Truss’s speech in full:
“It has been a huge honour to be Prime Minister of this great country, in particular, to lead the nation in mourning the death of Her Late Majesty The Queen after 70 years of service and welcoming the accession of His Majesty King Charles III.
“In just a short period, this government has acted urgently and decisively on the side of hardworking families and businesses.
“We reversed the National Insurance increase. We helped millions of households with their energy bills and helped thousands of businesses avoid bankruptcy.
“We are taking back our energy independence so we are never again beholden to global market fluctuations or malign foreign powers.
“From my time as Prime Minister, I am more convinced than ever we need to be bold and confront the challenges that we face.
“As the Roman philosopher Seneca wrote: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
“We simply cannot afford to be a low growth country where the government takes up an increasing share of our national wealth and where there are huge divides between different parts of our country.
“We need to take advantage of our Brexit freedoms to do things differently.
“This means delivering more freedom for our own citizens and restoring power in democratic institutions.
“It means lower taxes, so people keep more of the money they earn.
“It means delivering growth that will lead to more job security, higher wages and greater opportunities for our children and grandchildren.
“Democracies must be able to deliver for their own people. We must be able to outcompete autocratic regimes, where power lies in the hands of a few.
“And now more than ever we must support Ukraine in their brave fight against Putin’s aggression. Ukraine must prevail.
“And we must continue to strengthen our nation’s defences.
“That is what I have been striving to achieve, and I wish Rishi Sunak every success, for the good of our country.
“I want to thank Hugh, Frances, Liberty, my family and friends, and all the team at Number Ten for their love, friendship and support.
“I also want to thank my protection team.
“I look forward to spending more time in my constituency, and continuing to serve South West Norfolk from the backbenches.
“Our country continues to battle through a storm.
“But I believe in Britain. I believe in the British people. And I know that brighter days lie ahead. Thank you.”