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Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt poses with the budget box at Downing Street in London, Britain March 15, 2023.

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

A new attitude and a new budget: Can the Tories make a comeback?

Weeks after the International Monetary Fund forecast that the UK will be the worst-performing advanced economy this year, British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt on Wednesday handed down a fresh national budget. (Though the independent Office for Budget Responsibility now says that the economy will only contract by 0.2% this year, an improvement on previous forecasts of 1.4%.)

Budgets can have a massive impact on politics. You’ll likely remember that ephemeral PM Liz Truss’ “mini” budget last fall caused the markets to nosedive, leading to her swift resignation.

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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wields the gavel as she presides over the first impeachment of President Donald Trump.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

What We’re Watching: Pelosi’s farewell, #RIPTwitter, Malaysian vote, Iranian rage, UK austerity

Pelosi takes a final bow

Nancy Pelosi is standing down as leader of the Democratic Party in the US House, but she’ll remain in Congress as a representative of San Francisco. She was both the first woman to serve in the ultra-powerful role of House Speaker and a hate figure for many on the right. Pelosi’s personal toughness, Herculean fundraising prowess, and ability to hold together the typically fractious Democratic Party in the House will remain her legacy for Democrats. For Republicans, seeing her pass the gavel to one of their own in January will mark a moment of triumph in an otherwise disappointing midterm performance. In announcing her plans, Pelosi noted that “the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus.” At a moment when both parties are led by politicians of advancing age, that’s a big step – and a trend we’ll be watching closely as a new Congress takes shape and the next race for the White House begins. Eurasia Group US Managing Director Jon Lieber says his bet is on 52-year-old Hakeem Jeffries taking the Democratic reins. If Jeffries gets the job, he'll make history as the first Black politician to lead a party in Congress.

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Liz Truss resignation ends most shambolic premiership in UK history
Liz Truss Resigns | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Liz Truss resignation ends most shambolic premiership in UK history

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Breaking news waits for nobody as I'm in a car on the way to a very early morning flight on the West Coast in the US. But no, Liz Truss has resigned.

We all knew it was coming, but of course, she gets to pick the actual moment of 44 days. Shortest-lived, most shambolic premiership in British history. And I mean, truly coming at a horrible time for the country. The economy is in free fall. Inflation, much worse than in the United States. An energy crunch coming this winter. You thought that the Boris Johnson premiership was bad, and it was certainly clownish. There were lots of scandals. But in terms of policy at least they were much more coherent, if not always correct than Truss' month and a bit.

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British Prime Minister Liz Truss


Dead on arrival: The Truss and Trussonomics experiment is almost over

Things have been turbulent in the UK since the 2016 “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union – but the upheaval of the last six weeks may be among the most volatile episodes in modern British politics.

A recap. Newly installed Conservative PM Liz Truss introduced a tax cut plan last month – aka Trussonomics – to try to stimulate Britain’s inflation-ridden economy through a trickle-down effect by pushing for £45 billion ($50 billion) of tax cuts. But she failed to convince voters, markets, and even her own party that it could be paid for or succeed in addressing the cost-of-living crisis. Market turmoil and widespread criticism ensued.

In response, Truss backtracked on the corporate tax cuts and then, on Friday, sacrificed longtime ally and political soulmate, UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. She replaced him with Jeremy Hunt, a Conservative centrist who is the fourth person to take on this role since July. Importantly, on Monday, Hunt scrapped nearly all of Truss's mini-budget that sparked the recent chaos, causing the pound to rise slightly against the US dollar.

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Liz Truss’ unenviable new gig

Truss makes another U-turn, fires Kwarteng

On Friday, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss relieved Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng only 38 days into his tenure, replacing him with former Health and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. In a briefing after the decision, Truss said she would raise the corporate tax rate — reneging on a promise not to do so — by £18 billion ($20 billion) and admitted that her budget “went further and faster than markets were expecting.” Her announcement triggered a sell-off in the gilt market, as yields on long-term UK government bonds rose sharply, with more trouble expected on Monday. Analysts and traders assessed that the measures were not enough. The turmoil began three weeks ago, when now-sacked Chancellor Kwarteng led the new government’s charge to promise tax cuts without a plan to fund them, which sent the pound tumbling and the markets into a tizzy, leading to global criticism against Truss and her cabinet. Hunt, the new man in and an anti-Brexit “remainer,” has a tough gig ahead: he’s not just following the shortest chancellorship since 1970, or managing the reversal of the tax-cut plan to calm the markets – which had already anticipated the U-turn — but he’s also got to deal with a boss who's trying to keep her own job. Eurasia Group’s lead Europe analyst Mujtaba Rahman says that more than two dozen Tory MPs — including some of Truss’s original supporters — are planning to remove her from office before 2023. When asked today why she’s not resigning, Truss said: “My priority is making sure we deliver the economic stability that our country needs.”

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