UK Finance Minister Kwarteng Fired

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 only did so for 38 days. His departure leaves the fate of draft laws to regulate stablecoins in the hands of a successor whose identity is as yet unknown, but which some local media have said could be former foreign minister Jeremy Hunt.

Hunt currently chairs the House of Commons’ healthcare committee. He has previously served as minister responsible for health, and culture – of which the latter portfolio included responsibility for digital policy. In 2019, while standing in the leadership contest to replace Theresa May – which Johnson eventually won – he 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, 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 at a series of scandals plaguing then Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The bill was published in July under Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, and had its first debate 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 that of Truss, who appears set to reverse course on the corporation tax cuts which formed the centerpiece of her leadership campaign against Sunak.