Ken Clarke: No other Tory government would have made mini-Budget 'mistake'

Kwasi Kwarteng - Aaron Chown/PA
Kwasi Kwarteng - Aaron Chown/PA

No other Conservative government would have made a "mistake" like Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget, a Tory former chancellor has claimed.

Lord Clarke, who was chancellor from 1993 until 1997, suggested Liz Truss and her new Government had put at risk the Tories’ reputation for "good housekeeping".

He told Times Radio: "I still hope in two years' time, they might look like a normal, competent, Conservative government because no Conservative government in my lifetime would ever have made a mistake of this kind.

"Fiscal discipline or good housekeeping, as Margaret always used to say, was one of the very strong cards that the government had because it was regarded as good at running the economy by the public."

Lord Clarke said the Government should make a formal statement on its economic plans "in the next two or three days" in order to reassure the financial markets after investors were spooked by its proposals for massive tax cuts and increased borrowing.

He added: "But we don't want them rushing into something else more stupid. We can't have both the government and the Bank saying that they're not able to do anything more till November, that would be very, very worrying indeed."

His comments came as Ms Truss faced public questioning this morning for the first time since the mini-Budget was unveiled as she toured regional BBC radio stations in a round of interviews.

The Prime Minister insisted the Government had to "take urgent action to get the economy growing" in her first public comments since the market turmoil, adding that the mini-Budget was the "right plan".

She said that the Government was prepared to take "controversial and difficult decisions" to get the economy moving and was "prepared to do what it takes to make that happen".