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Scotland right not to copy says Sturgeon as Hunt scraps Kwarteng’s tax cuts

The First Minister tweeted in response to the new Chancellor’s emergency announcement.

17 October 2022

Nicola Sturgeon has said “thank goodness we didn’t act so rashly” after Jeremy Hunt announced most of his predecessor’s tax cuts were being scrapped.

The First Minister tweeted in response to the new Chancellor’s emergency announcement on Monday morning.

Discussing the abandoned reduction in the basic rate of income tax, she said: “Another reminder of the many demands made of @scotgov to immediately match this without any consideration of cost and impact.

“Thank goodness we didn’t act so rashly.”

Kwasi Kwarteng resignation
Jeremy Hunt made an emergency statement on Monday morning (Victoria Jones/PA)

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross supported Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax cuts after they were announced and urged the Scottish Government to pass them on to Scottish taxpayers.

He later said the U-turn on the top rate of income tax was “the right decision”.

Scottish ministers have powers to set tax rates which are separate from the rest of the UK.

Ms Sturgeon tweeted shortly before she was due to unveil her third prospectus paper for an independent Scotland, covering economic and currency issues.

Earlier on Monday,  a senior Tory MSP warned that Liz Truss has “just days” to turn her situation around if she wants to remain Prime Minister.

Liz Smith, finance and economy spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservatives at Holyrood, said that Ms Truss was “in an extremely difficult position”.

The Prime Minister does not currently have the support of the markets, the public or the Tory party within the UK Parliament, Ms Smith stated.

The Tory MSP insisted holding an early general election – as Labour and the SNP are demanding  – would lead to “even more uncertainty” for the UK.

Scottish Tory MSP Liz Smith said party colleagues at Westminster may now ‘coalesce around a candidate of unity’ to replace the PM (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

But she said that Conservatives in the House of Commons may “coalesce around a candidate of unity” if Ms Truss cannot turn things round.

With some Tory MPs having now publicly called for Ms Truss to go, Ms Smith said that “clearly it is civil war” within the party.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, the senior Conservative MSP said: “I think the Prime Minister is now in an extremely difficult position.”

Ms Smith said that “any Prime Minister has to be able to command the confidence of the nation” but added that Ms Truss has “difficulties on three fronts there” – pointing to a lack of support from the financial markets, from the general public and from the Conservative Party within the UK Parliament.

“That is a very serious situation for any prime minister to be in,” the MSP continued.

“So I think she has just days left to turn this round and if she can’t do that she would have to stand down.”

The Conservative MSP said of her party’s UK leader: “She is not being able to command the confidence of the nation, that any prime minister needs to be able to do. So I do think she has got days to turn this round.”

The latest developments come as Ms Truss continues to cling to power amid despair among Tory MPs over the calamitous start to her premiership.

Over the weekend, three Conservative backbenchers publicly called on her to go, however, there was no consensus among Tory MPs as to who should replace her.

The veteran backbencher Sir Roger Gale said “the last thing” the party wanted was another leadership election following the contest over the summer to replace Boris Johnson.

Meanwhile, Ms Smith said that “to have a general election just now, that adds even more uncertainty, so I think that’s a big problem”.

She said she was “personally not entirely satisfied” with the Conservative Party’s process for choosing a leader, saying it “leaves scope for a difference of opinion between the members of the party in the parliamentary party and the membership across the country”.

But Ms Smith stated: “This is about the future of the country, and restoring credibility and it is absolutely essential we gain that trust back as quickly as possible because at the moment it has gone.”

Speaking about the possibility of a new leader, and how they could be selected, the MSP said it would be “a matter for the Westminster party how they decide to do that”.

However, she said: “I think it is possible it will coalesce around a candidate of unity, I think that is possible.”

Of her party’s situation, Ms Smith conceded: “It has not been a good time for the Conservative Party, I am not going to pretend otherwise.

“In fact, it has been a very difficult time. Over all the years I have been a member of the Conservative Party I think this is probably the most difficult.”

She stressed: “Storms happen from time to time. This is a big storm, we have to be measured and careful and, above all, candid in our approach.”

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