Akwasi Addo Alfred Kwarteng (born on 26 May 1975) was the first Black person to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer of the UK/Photo: Picture by Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street

First Black British finance minister loses his job

Kwasi Kwarteng became the first casualty of the crisis of public confidence plaguing the new British government on Friday when he was sacked as chancellor of the exchequer 38 days after his appointment by Prime Minister Liz Truss.

“You have asked me to stand aside as your Chancellor. I have accepted,” the first Black finance minister in British history said in a letter of resignation to Ms Truss.

Responding to Kwarteng in her own letter, the prime minister said she was “deeply sorry” to lose him and thanked him for putting “the national interest first” by standing down.

“We share the same vision for our country and the same firm conviction to go for growth,” she wrote.

The dramatic dismissal of Kwarteng makes him the second shortest-serving chancellor after just 38 days in the job.

A long-time ally of Truss, Kwarteng shared her tax-cutting economic ideology and was seen as her political soulmate when he was appointed to the role on 6 September.

Kwarteng’s downfall came after presenting a mini-budget on 23 September and pledging £45 billion (€50 billion) of debt-funded tax cuts — an announcement that caused tumult in the country’s economy.

The Bank of England had to intervene in the markets as the pound sterling lost major ground against foreign currencies after the announcement of the Truss government’s first major move.

The prime minister has appointed former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as the new chancellor.

A member of the Conservative Party, Kwarteng was born in London to Ghanaian parents who had emigrated from Ghana as students in the 1960s. He has been a Member of Parliament since 2010 and previously served as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from 2021 to 2022.

Felix Dappah

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