Monday evening UK news briefing: Kwasi Kwarteng plays down 'little turbulence' in Tory conference speech

Evening Briefing logo
Evening Briefing logo

Good evening. Kwasi Kwarteng put himself in line for the award for understatement of the year in his speech to the Conservative party conference on a whirlwind day for government policymaking.

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

Ukraine war | Russia has admitted it does not know exactly where its new borders are as Ukraine continues its counter advance into annexed territories. Moscow claimed Kherson and Zaporizhzhia - along with Donetsk and Luhansk - as Russian territory last week after holding "sham" referendums in which voters there apparently voted to join Russia. But on Monday it said it was still trying to determine how to properly define its newly-annexed land. Meanwhile, Ukraine has claimed full control of Russia's eastern logistics hub Lyman, its most significant battlefield gain in weeks. Dominic Nicholls analyses why the victory shows skill trumps numbers when it comes to army strength.

The big story: Kwarteng vows to deliver growth agenda

Kwasi Kwarteng proclaimed "what a day" as he opened his speech to the Conservative party conference, admitting his mini-Budget had "caused a little turbulence" and insisting the Government will show its plan is "sound, it is credible and it will increase growth" in the wake of his U-turn on the abolition of the 45p tax rate.

There was no hiding that the chancellor - and indeed the Prime Minister - face big problems after the event in Birmingham was stunned by the announcement that the Government would not be going ahead with its plans to abolish the additional rate for top earners.

Mr Kwarteng said the dramatic U-turn was a "very simple" decision because it had become a "huge distraction".

Yet Conservatives are now openly questioning whether he will beat Nadhim Zahawi's record as the shortest serving chancellor (63 days) since Sajid Javid (204 days).

Meanwhile, Liz Truss has squandered her self-styled Thatcherite status and also alienated the very people she relies on most for support. 

Camilla Tominey analyses how after caving on 45p tax cut, Ms Truss's entire policy platform appears in jeopardy while Ross Clark says Ms Truss has become another Theresa May.

It is fair to say Mr Kwarteng's speech today could have been very different.

Yet as the hour approached midnight on Sunday, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor compared notes on the feedback they had received from MPs on the 45p tax cut, and realised the game was up.

Gordon Rayner and Ben Riley-Smith have the inside story on the secret midnight meeting that killed off the 45p tax cut.

Read what Mr Kwarteng had planned to say today vs what he actually said.

Tom Harris says every politician has to reckon with gravity – but some learn faster than others.

Calls for election

The Government's U-turn on tax cuts may not protect the UK from a credit rating downgrade, S&P Global has warned.

S&P downgraded its outlook on the UK's AA credit rating from stable to negative in the wake of Mr Kwarteng's fiscal plans.

It forecast that the government deficit will widen by an average 2.6pc of GDP annually to 2025, while net general government debt will continue on an upward trajectory.

Matthew Lynn sets out why the City will regret strangling Trussonomics at birth.

The sweeping changes in government policy brought in by Ms Truss's administration prompted former culture secretary Nadine Dorries to dramatically call for a general election.

Yet Patrick O'Flynn insists we should ignore the hyperbolic overreactions to the 45p U-turn.

Protocol climbdown?

Higher earners will lose thousands of pounds in tax savings after the chancellor abandoned his plans to abolish the top rate of income tax next year.

This calculator shows what the 45p income tax rate U-turn means for you.

However, the turbulence since the mini-Budget has meant savings rates have reached a 13-year high following the launch of a new best-buy account paying 4.11pc. Read on for details.

There are wider political concerns following the U-turn. James Crisp analyses why Ms Truss could make another climbdown on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: New 'Great War of Africa' raging

Ethiopia is becoming "Africa's world war" with tens of thousands of deaths in the last few months potentially going unreported as Tigrayan rebels battle a coalition of armies and militias in a media blackout. The conflict now involves hundreds of thousands of troops with both sides claiming the other is using "human wave" tactics to take positions and is likely the "deadliest war in the world", according to analysts. Soldiers on both sides told the Telegraph the violence was on a scale they had not seen before even after two years of fighting. Read why there has been hardly any reporting on the conflict that has been called a "blood bath".

Monday interview

'Keeping our split a secret was like living in a pressure cooker'

Amanda Owen - Andrew Crowley
Amanda Owen - Andrew Crowley

Famous farmer and mother-of-nine Amanda Owen, the Yorkshire Shepherdess, talks to Anita Singh about coping with trolls, living apart from her ex and making life normal for her brood

Read the interview

Sport briefing: How Haaland could smash all records

Alfie Haaland, sitting in the tunnel club a few rows in front of the press box, had been fairly restrained in his celebrations as the goals flowed in for Manchester City. But when his son plundered his third successive Premier League home hat-trick with 26 minutes still left on the clock, Dad could no longer keep his emotions in check as he joined in "the Poznan". Eight weeks into the campaign, his son's numbers continue to swell at a frightening rate. James Ducker analyses how at this rate Erling Haaland will smash all Premier League records. It was not hard to interpret how Cristiano Ronaldo was feeling at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. After he sat out the match on Manchester United's bench, read why Roy Keane is right — the Ronaldo situation feels unsustainable.

Editor's choice

  1. Causing problems | The passport stamps that could ruin your next break

  2. Poor commercial decisions | 'My parents are broke – now we have to support them'

  3. Midlife Fitness Files | 'I was bedbound with back pain – now I lift weights five times a week'

Business briefing: Tesla shares sink as shipping hit

Tesla shares fell after it missed its electric car delivery targets despite an acceleration in the pace of its production line, blaming a shortage of car transporters. The company said a struggle to find companies to move its vehicles meant it shipped fewer electric cars than expected in recent months. It comes as Europe finds itself at the epicentre of a global manufacturing slump, according to a closely watched survey showing the bloc's two biggest economies are struggling to remain competitive. Activity in Germany's key manufacturing sector fell to its lowest level in two years while French order books also shrank in September.

Tonight starts now

FIFA 23 | Shearer and Sutton. Keys and Gray. Allardyce and pints of wine. Football's Premier League era has been shaped by all manner of game-changing double acts. By contrast, the last three decades on the virtual pitch have been ruled by just one particular pairing. EA Sports and Fifa's 30-year partnership has generated hundreds of millions of videogame sales and tens of billions of dollars in revenue. Perhaps inevitably it has come to an end thanks, largely, to a row over how that money is distributed and a disagreement over just which party is responsible for that popularity – what feuding rock musicians used to call "creative differences". And so FIFA 23 finds the franchise hanging up its boots, but Dan Silver reveals how the gaming giant is going out on a high.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

The – actually fun – healthy hobbies | Whether you love gardening, Zumba or singing, Hattie Garlick reveals the hobbies that can not only make us feel happier but also make you healthier.

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