Most Read from Bloomberg
Liz Truss fired Home Secretary Suella Braverman for what was described as a national security breach, a dramatic move that will inevitably heap even more pressure on Britain’s premier as she clings to power.
Braverman shared secret documents on a personal mobile phone, four officials familiar with the matter said. She later acknowledged a “technical infringement of the rules” by sending an official document from her personal email, the contents of which she said had already been briefed to MPs.
But in a loaded message to Truss posted on Twitter, Braverman wrote: “The business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes. Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics.”
The development is a major blow to truss, who is struggling to prevent her government from imploding around her following a disastrous six weeks in office. Later on Wednesday, she faces the prospect of a major Tory rebellion in a Parliament vote on shale gas fracking.
Truss’s advisers are also concerned other members of her Cabinet are planning to resign to try to force the UK prime minister out of office.
A person familiar with the matter said Education Secretary Kit Malthouse and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch are seen as resignation threats. Malthouse delivered a brutal assessment of the premier’s missteps on a Cabinet phone call on Monday to discuss new Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt’s plans to rip up Trust’s economic program, according to the person.
Both Badenoch and Malthouse told Bloomberg they are not resigning.
Ministerial resignations can be fatal for a prime minister. Boris Johnson’s tenure was ended by the rapid departures of then Health Secretary Sajid Javid and ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, which triggered a mass exodus from his government. As angry rebels struggle to agree on who they want to succeed Truss, a big resignation is seen as one way to topple her.
Support for the premier and her ruling Conservatives has plunged to record depths over her botched program of tax cuts which triggered chaos in the financial markets and forced up borrowing costs and mortgage rates.
Hunt has reversed most of the policies to restore financial stability after the UK’s public finances suddenly unraveled. But in doing so, he has put the Tories on a path to another round of punishing austerity as Britons struggle with a cost-of-living crisis.
The debacle has left Truss clinging to power, with her own MPs openly plotting to oust her. Her administration is vulnerable to Tory rebellions, and has already caved in to demands to raise state pension benefits in line with soaring inflation and watered down a plan to restart shale gas fracking.
“I’m a fighter, not a quitter,” Truss said in the House of Commons upon facing lawmakers for the first time since she was forced to junk most of her economic program just weeks after announcing it.
–With assistance from Emily Ashton.
(Updates with Braverman letter in third paragraph)
Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek
©2022 Bloomberg LP