Liz Truss is expected to be forced to scrap parts of her mini-budget in the days to come, amid growing pressure on the Prime Minister to reassure markets and rescue her administration.
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is set to return from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) annual meeting in Washington to London this weekend, where he is likely to find a significant section of his mini-budget re-drawn after days of open revolt among Tory MPs and an emerging market consensus that another U-turn is on the cards.
However, according to the BBC, the Chancellor has now cancelled planned meetings in the US and is leaving a day early for “crunch talks in the UK” over the mini-budget.
In the early hours of Friday morning the national broadcaster as well as The Times and the Financial Times began reporting that Mr Kwarteng had cancelled appointments at the IMF meetings and was flying home.
The Prime Minister’s key pledge to scrap the planned increase in corporation tax from 19 per cent to 25 per cent is widely seen as a likely casualty in the coming days, as Ms Truss seeks to save her embattled premiership.
It comes amid reports that senior Tories are plotting the possibility of replacing Ms Truss with a joint ticket of Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt, with the Times newspaper also reporting that party grandees are considering replacing her with a “unity candidate”.
Polling also suggests the Tories have slumped to just 19 per cent in the polls, 34 points behind Labour.
Only nine per cent of the public have a favourable view of Truss, while Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, has seen his ratings increase by six percentage points from 27 per cent three weeks ago.
Prof Matthew Goodwin, the pollster and academic who undertook the research, said the new findings were a “lose-lose” for Truss.
“These numbers mean that Liz Truss is more unpopular than Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn ever were – she is basically in what I would call Prince Andrew territory,” he said.
“It’s not a good place to be, and it comes back to how poorly she has framed her premiership. If she had done a better job on the communications side it might not have been so catastrophic. It’s lose-lose at this point and that’s a very, very difficult spiral for a politician to break.”