Kwasi Kwarteng Makes 'Good Judgment Calls', Says Trade Minister

Greg Hands says the chancellor's job is "totally" safe as Kwarteng dashes home to London early from Washington amid U-turn speculation.
Greg Hands
Greg Hands
Sky News

Kwasi Kwarteng is an “incredibly capable” person who “makes good judgment calls”, trade minister Greg Hands has said.

The chancellor dashed back to London early from Washington on Friday as the government prepares for another humiliating U-turn on his mini-Budget.

It comes amid wild speculation in Westminster that Truss could be ousted as prime minister in the wake market turmoil and tanking Tory poll ratings.

Speaking to Sky News on Friday morning, Hands refused to rule out Truss and the chancellor abandoning more of their financial plan in an attempt to steady the ship.

“Let’s wait and see,” he said. “You won’t have long to wait for October 31 for the chancellor to lay out those plans.”

Asked if the proposal not to increase corporation tax would be ditched, Hands said: “Let’s wait and how this will all pan out.”

Hands said Kwarteng was “totally” safe in his job and urged Tory MPs to unite behind Truss.

“I’ve worked very closely with Kwasi, he an incredibly capable person, a very, very bright person who makes good judgment calls,” he said.

Hands supported Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership campaign and his appointment to the Department for International Trade was seen as an olive branch from Truss to the former chancellor’s supporters.

Asked if the markets would have had more confidence in Sunak as prime minister, Hands said: “I am dealing with the situation we are in.”

According to The Times, some Tory MPs would like Sunak and Penny Mordant - the cabinet minister who came third in the leadership race - to club together and take over the party.

In the United States on Thursday, Kwarteng insisted that his position was safe, telling broadcasters: “I am not going anywhere.”

The government’s plans revolve around securing an increase in economic growth – with a target of an annual rise of around 2.5% in gross domestic product (GDP).

The crucial date will be October 31, when the forecasts presented by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) alongside the chancellor’s statement will give an assessment on whether such a plan is realistic.


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