Liz Truss has reportedly U-turned on her choice for the new top Treasury official and will install the former top Number 10 civil servant under David Cameron.
Truss and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were set to appoint Antonia Romeo – permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice and someone considered an outsider to the “Treasury orthodoxy”.
The Financial Times reports that the Prime Minister made a rapid U-turn on the decision over the weekend.
It is now understood she will instead appoint James Bowler – a former principal private secretary to Cameron in Number 10 and to Gordon Brown when he was chancellor.
The appointment comes after Kwarteng fired former Treasury permanent secretary Sir Tom Scholar on his first day as chancellor.
Truss spent her Tory leadership campaign hitting out against the prevailing “Treasury orthodoxy” and its “abacus economics”.
She also hit out against the Bank of England several times and said she would review its mandate.
Her decision to appoint Bowler will be seen as a step back from her war against the so-called civil service “blob” in light of concerns from international institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of the UK’s economic policy direction.
One former Treasury minister told City A.M. that Truss and Kwarteng’s approach had undermined confidence in the UK government.
“The ‘Treasury orthodoxy’ is in place for a reason – it’s because there are people in the department with institutional knowledge of how to deal with crises,” they said.