Kwasi Kwarteng heads back to Westminster early as Tory discontent over mini-budget grows – UK politics live

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Minister says Kwarteng’s early return is ‘not unusual’

The international trade minister, Greg Hands, has insisted it is “not unusual” for the chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, to be returning early from a trip abroad.

Speaking on Sky News, Hands said:

It’s not unusual to come back a day early from an international visit. He’s coming back for discussions with colleagues, we obviously have the medium-term fiscal plan coming up on 31 October, so just in a couple of weeks’ time. There’s work to be done, there’s conversations to be had with colleagues.

But the major meat of the meetings of the IMF and World Bank have finished and the chancellor of the exchequer has been there two days.

He also insisted on ITV’s Good Morning Britain that the prime minister, Liz Truss, and Kwarteng are safe and sought to emphasise that UK financial markets are not the only ones in turmoil.

Kwarteng leaves Washington DC early

After a torrid three weeks since his mini-budget sent the economy – and the Tory party – into turmoil, the chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, has left a meeting of the IMF in Washington DC early to return home, amid expectations that he and the prime minister, Liz Truss, will be forced into a humiliating U-turn barely a month into their tenure.

As my colleague Larry Elliott reports:

Kwasi Kwarteng has dramatically cut short his visit to the International Monetary Fund, flying home early from Washington in response to the mounting political crisis over his tax-cutting budget.

Adding to signs that the government is preparing to announce a U-turn over its plan to scrap a rise in corporation tax, the chancellor left the US capital a day earlier than planned.

Treasury sources said the chancellor had two constructive days in Washington but was keen to get back to London to engage with colleagues over his medium-term fiscal plan, due to be announced on 31 October.

But his unscheduled departure on a late-night flight from Washington capped a day of drama for the Truss government and prompted comparisons with the sterling crisis suffered by the Labour government in 1976.

Then, the chancellor Denis Healey turned around at Heathrow rather than fly out to an IMF meeting in Manila after pressure mounted on the pound.

Treasury sources refused to comment on whether Kwarteng’s decision meant a U-turn on corporation tax was imminent, but the chancellor was under pressure to make a decision before the financial markets open for business on Monday.

We will have all the latest developments here on the politics live blog.

Here is the agenda for the day.

Morning. Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill – second reading.

9.30am. The Office for National Statistics will publish its latest survey of the social impact of the cost of living, goods shortages, and Covid-19.

10.30am. Charity Asylum Aid is bringing a High Court challenge to the government’s proposals to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

12pm. Weekly UK Covid-19 infection survey, from the Office for National Statistics.

3pm. Cop26 president Alok Sharma to speak at the Wilson Centre in Washington.

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