Prime Minister Liz Truss insisted she wants to see through her low-tax government agenda - but abruptly ended a press conference after being asked to 'apologise for trashing the Tories' reputation'.
Truss read a statement during a hastily-organised address on Friday afternoon, having sacked Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng hours earlier.
After also reversing her policy to scrap the planned rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25%, the PM sidestepped questions about her position as Tory leader.
Truss insisted she is “determined to deliver” on her campaign pledges, but declined to apologise for the political turbulence in the wake of her economic policies.
And having briefly taken four questions from the assembled media, she then abruptly left the stage at the end of the press conference, which had lasted just eight minutes.
As she left the stage, Truss was asked 'Aren't you going to apologise?' by one member of the media, which she ignored.
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The prime minister had earlier said it was “right” to act in the interests of economic stability and that she is “determined to see through what I’ve promised” when challenged about her political future.
Asked why she should remain as Prime Minister after reversing key tax cuts that led to her election as Tory leader and sacking her Chancellor, she told a press conference: “I’m absolutely determined to see through what I have promised, to deliver a higher growth, more prosperous United Kingdom, to see us through the storm we face."
The embattled PM was then asked why she gets to stay in No 10 when Kwasi Kwarteng, with whom she designed the mini-budget in lockstep, was sacked as Chancellor.
Ms Truss told the press conference: “Well, my priority is making sure we deliver the economic stability that our country needs.
“That’s why I had to take the difficult decisions I’ve taken today."
The prime minister – who summoned Mr Kwarteng back from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meeting in Washington to inform him of his fate – said she was “incredibly sorry” to lose him.
She said his successor, Jeremy Hunt, was “one of the most experienced and widely respected Government ministers and parliamentarians”.
She added: “He shares my convictions and my ambitions for our country.”
She said action was needed to reassure the markets of the Government’s commitment to fiscal discipline, with the U-turn on corporation tax raising £18 billion a year.
She said it was a “down payment” on the medium-term fiscal plan on October 31 when the new Chancellor will set out how he intends to get the public finances back on track.
As well as the move on corporation tax, Ms Truss also signalled a squeeze on public spending which would “grow less rapidly than previously planned”.
Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said that higher inflation had already eaten into the spending plans set out a year ago.
“Can’t increase much less quickly without actually going down,” he tweeted.
Following her announcement, the pound dipped back again.
Sterling had pared back some of its early losses shortly before the Prime Minister’s press conference but then dropped back, indicating that traders believe there is still more action to be taken.
The pound moved 1.2% lower at 1.119 against the US dollar after the update.