Kwasi Kwarteng has sought to shrug off the chaos that triggered his astonishing U-turn on income tax cuts for the highest earners as a “little turbulence” as he battled to regain authority.
The Chancellor remarked it had been a “tough” day as he told Conservative members in his set-piece conference speech on Monday to “focus on the task in hand”.
Downing Street was forced to reassure that Liz Truss still backs Mr Kwarteng after they abandoned their plan to scrap the 45% rate for earnings over £150,000 to stave off a Tory revolt.
The U-turn, coming a little over a week after the tax cut was announced in the mini-budget and just a month into Ms Truss’s premiership, was a massive blow to their authority.
With the Prime Minister in the audience, Mr Kwarteng told the Birmingham conference: “What a day. It has been tough but we need to focus on the job in hand.
“We need to move forward, no more distractions, we have a plan and we need to get on and deliver it.”
Making light of the chaos in a 20-minute speech containing no new policies, he said to muted laughter from party members: “I can be frank. I know the plan put forward only 10 days ago has caused a little turbulence.