Clearly the aftermath of a pandemic, a cost of living crisis, and a war in Europe didn’t feel like enough of a challenge for Liz Truss.
The Prime Minister has been determined in making her job as difficult as it can be.
Things have been descending into chaos since she decided to change her own party’s financial policies with the mini-budget in September.
Declaring the Tories the party of growth should be getting increasingly difficult, given – you know -THE LITERAL COLLAPSE OF THE BRITISH POUND.
We’re know you’re tired of reading about politicans in blue suits plunging the country into disarray – we’re tired of writing about it – but if this ordeal is going to play out SOMEONE has to watch it.
The only thing we at Metro.co.uk can offer is: If you you feel bleak this weekend, at least you’re not ‘I did what my boss told me and then got fired’ bleak.
In other words, whatever you’re feeling, your’re having a better weekend than Kwasi Kwarteng.
PS: There’s a Hot Fuzz reference in here. Read on!
(Endless) Tory turmoil
After just 38 days of being appointed chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng was sacked on Friday.
In a letter to Liz Truss, Mr Kwarteng wrote that the prime minister had ‘asked him to stand aside as her chancellor’.
She wrote back, thanking her ‘long-standing friend and colleague’ for ‘putting the national interest first’ and stepping down.
In a very short, eight-minute press conference held on the same day, Ms Truss said she was ‘incredibly sorry’ to lose Mr Kwarteng.
The PM’s financial policies have sent both the value of the pound and the Conservative Party’s position in opinion polls plummeting in the last weeks.
Friday saw Ms Truss finally back down from her ideas, saying the mini-budget went ‘further and faster than markets were expecting so the way we are delivering our mission has changed’.
She also made her second humiliating U-turn, dropping plans to block an upcoming rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25%.
This was Rishi Sunak’s proposed hike, which was designed to raise money following the financial shock of Covid-19.
Scrapping it made up a key part of Ms Truss’s leadership campaign and reversing this position will likely be extremely unpopular with those who supported her.
But the PM insisted her ‘mission remains’ to bring down taxes and boost growth but that ‘people across the country rightly want stability’.
Ms Truss only answered four press questions, during which she was asked how she could fire someone for executing her own policies then stay on as PM.
‘Answered’ is probably the wrong word here, as the PM avoided directly engaging with journalists, repeatedly pedalling a line about being ‘absolutely determined to see through what she has promised’.
Mr Kwarteng was replaced by Jeremy Hunt – the fourth person to occupy 11 Downing Street this year.
Ms Truss said Mr Hunt ‘shares her desire for a high-growth, low-tax’ society but recognises with her that they ‘have to deliver in a different way’ because of the ‘current market issues’.
Financial markets improved on Thursday, after anticipation that Ms Truss would ditch some of her tax cuts even leading to the value of the pound briefly surging against the dollar.
But the pound dropped again – just seconds after Ms Truss’s press conference – sliding by around 1% and wiping out around half of the gains it had made the previous day.
Overall the currency appeared set to lose at least 2% over the day of trading, meaning a hundred pounds would buy three dollars fewer.
Of course, Friday has drastically exacerbated calls for Ms Truss to resign or for the Government to hold a general election.
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the PM had used her short time as leader of the country to ‘crash the UK economy and heap misery on people already struggling with a cost of living crisis’.
Labour’s Rachel Reeves, pointing out that ‘we’re on our fourth Conservative chancellor this year’ said: ‘It’s not just time for another Conservative chancellor, it’s time for a Labour govenment.’
Ms Truss will likely be fearing a rebellion in her own party too, as those who supported her are put off by her constant flip-flopping and MPs fearing losing their seats if Ms Truss hands Labour its next victory.
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband did an excellent job of summing up the ridiculousness of the current situation.
He dug up a 2015 tweet from David Cameron which said: Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice – stability and strong Government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband.’
Of course, after today, the word ‘stability’ associated with the Tories is seen by many as an example of irony so apt it could serve as a definition for the concept.
TL;DR: Is turmoil still newsworthy if it’s the status quo?
Lucy Letby trial
Nurse Lucy Letby is currently on trial for an alleged year-long spree targeting premature and sick newborns in the 12 months leading up to June 2016.
She is accused of harming 17 babies, seven of whom died. For the purpose of anonymity, they have been called children A-Q in court proceedings.
The prosecution alleges there is a pattern of Letby ‘attacking babies in the neo-natal unit’ at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
The 32-year-old, from Hereford, was described as a ‘constant malevolent presence’ on the ward by prosecutors as they began detailing their case against her to Manchester Crown Court.
One boy, known as Child E, was allegedly murdered by an injection of air into the bloodstream.
Letby allegedly told his mum ‘trust me I’m a nurse’ when the parent spotted her son was bleeding from the mouth, and sent her back to the postnatal ward.
The prosecution claims a different baby, named as Child I, was attacked by Letby on four occasions and eventually succumbed despite being ‘resilient’.
The tragedy was described in court as ‘an extreme example even by the standards of this case’ and ended with the nurse being in the room with the child’s grieving mother as she washed the body.
Letby later sent the family a sympathy card.
The prosecution concluded the opening of their case on Thursday, when they told the court Letby wrote a handwritten note in capital letters saying ‘I am evil, I did this’.
On another piece of paper, the nurse allegedly wrote ‘I don’t deserve to live. I killed them on purpose because I’m not good enough to care for them’.
Letby’s defence lawyer, Ben Myers, said the notes showed the writings of an ‘anguished woman in despair’ who was realising the huge scale of the allegations against her.
He told the jury that there were failings at the neo-natal unit which had ‘nothing to do with Lucy Letby’.
Letby denies all the allegations against her.
The trial, which is scheduled to last six months, continues.
TL;DR: An unfathomably horrible trial started this week.
Leah Croucher’s body found
The body of a girl who was 19 when she went missing three-and-a-half years ago was found this week.
Leah Croucher’s remains were discovered in a paedophile’s former home, less than half a mile away from where she was last seen in Furzton, Milton Keynes.
Despite being so close to Leah’s last movements, officers had never searched the house before.
Officers dropped leaflets through the door, but never went back for follow-up enquiries, it was revealed.
A retired missing persons detective with 36 years’ experience, Charlie Hedges, told Metro.co.uk the police have posed more questions for Leah’s family than answered.
He said: ‘All house-to-house enquiries should be logged and monitored, as to what the outcome and flagging those where they don’t get a response.
‘It was surprising it wasn’t picked up sooner, if you’re going to do that you should be able to rule it out or flag as suspicious.
‘If they had maybe gone back to that house sooner, they should have found her.’
Leah’s parents, John and Claire Croucher, were driven in a police vehicle to the property where the body was found just before 8pm on Thursday.
They left a message to their daughter, who vanished while walking to work in on in February 2019 reading: ‘To our darling Leah, our darkest fears have come true, we only need to be apart a little longer.
‘We have so missed you for so long already. The future looks so bleak now we know we will never see your smile or hear your laughter again.
‘We will cherish your memories forever. We love you. Mum and Dad xxxx’
The police, which have now opened a murder investigation, named their prime suspect as sex offender Neil Maxwell on Friday. He killed himself two months after Leah vanished.
He is believed to have been the only person with keys to the house where she was found.
Thames Valley Police said Maxwell had been employed by the home’s owner to carry out some property maintenance there.
Maxwell had previous convictions for sexual offences against women and was wanted in connection with a sexual assault in Newport Pagnell in November 2018.
Using aliases, travelling across the UK in various cars and using several different phones, he managed to evade arrest some 18 times, police said.
TL;DR: Another bleak chapter in the Chronicles of Woman Can’t Even Walk to Work Safely
Russia hits Kyiv
Russia launched launched missiles on Kyiv for the first time in months on Monday.
At least 19 people were killed and 105 wounded across Ukraine, emergency services reportedly said on the day.
Vladimir Putin, speaking in a video call with members of Russia’s Security Council, claimed the Russian military launched ‘precision weapons’ from the air, sea and ground to target key energy and military command facilities.
But the sustained barrage on major cities hit residential areas as well as critical infrastructure facilities.
Footage shared online show a huge crater in one of the city’s busiest spots, Shevchenko Park – with a children’s playground only inches away.
Air raid sirens sounded across every region of Ukraine, except Crimea, for four straight hours.
Putin said the attacks were in direct retaliation for what he called Ukraine’s ‘terrorist’ attack on Kerch Bridge in Crimea last week.
The bridge was prized by the Kremlin for linking Russia with annexed Crimea.
The Russian leader said just hours before Monday’s attacks: ‘There is no doubt it was a terrorist act directed at the destruction of critically important civilian infrastructure’.
‘This was devised, carried out and ordered by the Ukrainian special services.’
The Kremlin previously warned any attack on the Kerch Bridge would be a red line and trigger ‘judgement day’.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said strikes this morning show Russia is ‘trying to destroy us and wipe us off the face of the Earth’.
TL;DR: Nothing says ‘we’re liberating the Ukrainians’ like ‘judgement day’.
The motorway isn’t really somewhere most people think of as a good spot for a stroll.
It’s also not a place where anyone expects to see a swan.
Well, anyone driving across Kingston Bridge, in Glasgow, on Thursday will have seen the motorway used for both.
A brave swan took a casual walk down the bridge and plunged morning traffic into chaos.
People trying to use the bridge, one of the main routes into the city centre, were slowed to a crawl until the swan was finally retrieved.
CCTV cameras picked up images of it heading east over the River Clyde, seemingly oblivious to the presumably furious motorists behind.
The incident is reminiscent of a scene in the comedy film Hot Fuzz in which a runaway swan belonging to a Mr P. I. Staker riles police.
It’s unclear if officers were forced to chase after the animal à la Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
TL;DR: ‘What’s the matter, Danny? never taken a shortcut before?’
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/10/15/icymi-tory-turmoil-this-weeks-five-biggest-stories-explained-17566804/ ICYMI: Tory turmoil – this week’s five biggest stories, explained