British Prime Minister Liz Truss is fighting to hold on to her job after her interior minister resigned and Conservative legislators openly quarreled in parliament over a vote on fracking for shale gas.
The departure of Suella Braverman on Wednesday — over a “technical” breach of government rules — means Truss has now lost two of her most senior ministers in less than a week, both replaced by politicians who had not backed her for the leadership.
Braverman said she resigned after breaking rules by sending an official document from her personal email account. She used her resignation letter to lambast Truss, saying she had “concerns about the direction of this government”.
“The business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes,” she said. “Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made them and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics.”
Conservative legislator Charles Walker said it was “a shambles and a disgrace”.
“I hope that all those people that put Liz Truss in [office], I hope it was worth it,” he told the BBC. “I hope it was worth it to sit around the Cabinet table, because the damage they have done to our party is extraordinary.”
Truss, in power for just more than six weeks, has been fighting for her political survival ever since September 23, when she launched a “mini-budget” — an economic programme of vast unfunded tax cuts that sent shockwaves through financial markets.
A handful of legislators have openly called for her to quit, and others have discussed who should replace her. Following the scenes in parliament, there were reports that the person responsible for Conservative party discipline, and their deputy, had quit.
Truss’s office said later they both remained in their posts, but the episode illustrated the confusion in government and underlined the prime minister’s faltering authority.
The dramatic developments came days after Truss fired her Treasury chief, Kwasi Kwarteng, after their economic package — with 45 billion pounds ($50.4bn) in unfunded tax cuts — sent the pound plunging, interest rates soaring and forced The Bank of England to intervene.
On Monday, Kwarteng’s replacement, Jeremy Hunt, scrapped almost all of Truss’s tax cuts, along with her flagship energy policy and promise of no public spending cuts.