Kay Burley Lays Into Cabinet Over Economic Chaos: 'Why Are You Still Running The Country?'

"That's not fair comment," a minister replied.
Kay Burley skewered James Heappey this morning
Kay Burley skewered James Heappey this morning
Sky News

Kay Burley asked a minister why the current Tory cabinet was still running the country in a tense exchange on Tuesday.

The government has faced growing backlash ever since prime minister Liz Truss unveiled her mini-budget with her then-chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng less than a month ago.

The disastrous Growth Plan saw the pound plummet in value and the markets fluctuate significantly – leading Kwarteng to be sacked, the mini-budget torn up and Truss to apologise to the BBC on Monday.

So Burley, a Sky News host, wasted no time in putting Armed Forces minister James Heappey on the spot the following morning, when she asked if “the whole cabinet supported the mini-budget before it was put to the House of Commons?”

When Heappey said yes, she replied: “So none of you know what you were doing, so why on earth are you still running the country?”

After a small pause, minister replied: “Well Kay, I’m not sure that I think that is fair comment.

“I think the budget was presented to the cabinet and each and every one of the measures in it was in and of themselves coherent to drive growth.

“But if you’re asking why I think I as a defence minister deserve to continue to sit around the cabinet table, I would reflect that we here in the ministry of defence are doing a good job of keeping our nation safe at a time of incredible global insecurity.”

He claimed that all of his cabinet colleagues and their departments have strong records, too.

Burley responded: “To keep our country safe we need to keep our economy safe, and we saw immediately that the markets thought you’d all lost your minds.”

Shortly after the mini-budget was first announced, the value of the pound dropped to a historic low of $1.03 in US dollars.

“Well, I think we’re in violent disagreement,” the minister replied. “I’ve been very honest with you throughout this interview, as the prime minister was in her interview last night.”

Truss apologised to the BBC on Monday night for her financial errors, but also vowed to lead the Tories into the next election too.

Heappey praised the prime minister for putting Jeremy Hunt in as the new chancellor, saying: “The fact is the markets have since been reassured, and that is also a good thing and a reflection of her leadership and the fact that she now has a chancellor in No.11 in whom the city has confidence.”

However, he did concede that given how “skittish” the markets have been in recent weeks, Truss cannot make “very many” new mistakes.

Still, Heappey tried to defend Truss again when speaking to Times Radio, by suggesting the entire cabinet was behind the mini-budget.

“It’d be completely disingenuous to claim that on that morning, when the cabinet was presented with the mini-budget, that there was anybody sat around the table who said that it was a bad idea.”

He claimed: “I think what the cabinet failed collectively to recognise is that it was an awful lot of measures being unleashed simultaneously on unsuspecting markets. And the reaction from the markets is clear.


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