The U.K.’s hardline Interior Minister Suella Braverman quit the government on October 19, heaping more doubt on the survival chances of Prime Minister Liz Truss after her right-wing economic agenda unravelled.
Ms. Braverman said she had resigned after using her personal email to send an official document to a colleague.
While calling it a “technical infringement” of government rules, she wrote in her resignation letter: “I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign.”
The tone contrasted with widespread criticism of Ms. Truss for failing to step down herself, after forcing her Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng to take the blame for a disastrous budget.
Ms. Braverman said she had “serious concerns” that the Prime Minister was breaking manifesto promises.
“Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see we’ve made them, and hoping things will magically come right is not serious politics,” she wrote.
Ms. Braverman spent just 43 days in the role of Home Secretary, and her departure is the latest crisis unleashed by the government’s tax-cutting budget, announced last month.
Grant Shapps to replace Braverman
Meanwhile, Grant Shapps has been appointed as Ms. Braverman’s replacement. A statement by 10 Downing Street office confirmed the appointment hours after Ms. Braverman’s resignation.
Transport secretary under ex-premier Boris Johnson, Mr. Shapps had thrown his hat into the ring to replace his old boss during the summer.
The 54-year-old, famed for his use of Excel spreadsheets, promised tax cuts and competent government and was widely seen as an effective communicator and campaigner, although a long shot as Conservative leader.
He attracted controversy earlier in his career, however, over the use of the pseudonyms Michael Green, Corinne Stockheath and Sebastian Fox.
He denied it at the time, but in 2015 admitted to having done business under a pseudonym while an MP.
‘Fighter not a quitter’
Despite the chaos, Ms. Truss vowed earlier on October 19 that she would not quit as she faced booing lawmakers at her first parliamentary questions since abandoning her flagship plan.
Opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer asked the House of Commons: “What’s the point of a Prime Minister whose promises don’t even last a week?”
Mr. Starmer mocked Ms. Truss by leading his MPs in chants of “Gone, gone!” as he read out a list of her dropped policies. “Why is she still here?” he concluded.
Ms. Truss responded: “I am a fighter and not a quitter”.
“I am someone who is prepared to front up. I’m prepared to take the tough decisions,” she said.
But there was silence on her own Conservative benches as Ms. Truss issued her riposte to Mr. Starmer.
The session took place less than 48 hours after new Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt dismembered Ms. Truss’s tax plans in a humiliating blow.
He sat at her side in parliament, nodding along to her responses.
While castigating Ms. Truss for conducting “an economic experiment on the British public”, Mr. Starmer said dismissively: “How could she be held to account when she’s not in charge?”
At least five Conservative party MPs have already publicly called for Ms. Truss to be replaced.
Polls show Ms. Truss’s personal and party ratings have plummeted, with YouGov saying on October 18 that she had become the most unpopular leader it has ever tracked.
A separate survey of party members found that less than two months after electing her as Tory leader and prime minister, a majority now think she should go.
Labour has opened up huge poll leads over the ruling Conservatives, amid the recent fallout as well as the worsening cost-of-living crisis, with inflation jumping above 10 percent on Wednesday on soaring food prices.