UK Finance Minister Kwarteng Fired
He will be replaced by former Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, who was once responsible for digital policy in the country.
U.K. Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng has been fired by Prime Minister Liz Truss after the tax cuts he announced in September sent financial markets into a tailspin.
In a resignation statement posted on Twitter, Kwarteng said it had been an “honor to serve,” albeit he did so for only 38 days. His departure leaves the fate of draft laws to regulate stablecoins in the hands of former Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, who was named to replace Kwarteng shortly after.
Hunt is chairman of the House of Commons’ health-care committee. He had previously served as minister responsible for health and culture. That position included responsibility for digital policy. In 2019, while standing in the leadership contest to replace Theresa May as prime minister – which Boris Johnson eventually won – Hunt said he was a “tech entrepreneur” who wanted to make the U.K. the next Silicon Valley-style innovation hub.
The Financial Services and Markets Bill includes measures to give legal status to stablecoins, which are cryptocurrencies tethered to the value of other assets like gold or the U.S. dollar. The bill was first announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in April as he sought to make the country a crypto hub, and shortly before he resigned in protest over a series of scandals plaguing Johnson, who was prime minister then.
The bill was published in July under Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, and was first debated in Parliament the day after Kwarteng was appointed in September.
While the bill was scheduled to be debated in the House of Commons committee next Wednesday, its fate is now unclear. So, indeed, is the fate of Truss, who appears set to reverse course on the corporation tax cuts that formed the centerpiece of her leadership campaign against Sunak.
UPDATE (Oct. 14, 13:01 UTC): Adds Jeremy Hunt was appointment as the new Finance Minister.
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