One of the stranger stories emerging from the fallout of Kwasi Kwarteng’s sacking last Friday has been news that someone in an estate agent in the former chancellor’s constituency reportedly made a rude gesture at him.
According to the Guardian, this was done through the window and in apparent disgust at the impact Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-Budget – now almost completely reversed by his replacement, Jeremy Hunt – had had on the economy and, subsequently, the property market.
Kwarteng has been an MP for Spelthorne in Surrey since 2010. His constituency encompasses quite a large area, from the edges of Heathrow Airport in the north to the perimeter of Walton-on-Thames in the south, and includes the urban village of Shepperton.
When Kwarteng toured his local area last week, shortly before being sacked by Liz Truss, he was allegedly the recipient of an obscene gesture from someone inside an estate agency on the village’s high street. However, the Guardian said none of the three estate agents on Shepperton High Street would admit that someone from their office was responsible.
What they were all happy to admit to the paper was the fact that they were happy to see Kwarteng gone, only 38 days into his chancellorship. Many believe he has largely carried the can for the failed Trussonomics experiment, which spooked the markets, took pension funds to the brink and led to emergency intervention from the Bank of England.
Mike Bazely, the director of Bazely & Co estate agents, which he founded in 2006, told the Guardian: “He obviously made a right mess of it. Personally, I am glad he’s out – I just don’t think he was up to it.”
Meanwhile, one employee at a branch of the Haart chain further up the high street broke ranks, despite being told not to speak to the media, to tell the Guardian: “I can’t tell you how glad I am that he has finally gone.”
“It has been a disaster for the country, and a disaster for us. Interest rates are soaring, mortgages are being pulled, people aren’t going to buy houses. People are too scared.”
The 47-year-old MP, who allegedly cooked up the mini-Budget with Truss over coffee and biscotti at his Greenwich home way back in August, had a more than 18,000 majority at the last election but could be in danger of losing his seat if current polling is to be believed.
An opinion poll carried out over the weekend revealed that the former Chancellor’s once safe seat now looks highly winnable to Labour, with 37% support for the Conservatives against 36% for Sir Kier Starmer’s party.
Kwarteng was heavily blamed for the turmoil that his mini-Budget did to the housing market, with mortgage rates soaring and talks of a potential house price crash in the days immediately after his fiscal announcement.
You can see the full Guardian story here.