When the British economy crashed on Black Wednesday in 1992, the Tory Chancellor at the time, Norman Lamont, was derided for saying that he had been ‘singing in his bath’, before declaring: ‘Je ne regrette rien.’
After the week he has endured at the mercy of the markets, the current Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, is not risking a similar insouciance. ‘I wasn’t singing,’ he says. ‘I’ve got a terrible voice.’
In his first full interview since his mini-Budget – dubbed ‘Kamikwasi’ after it crashed the pound, spooked the markets and sent Tory MPs into a tailspin after one opinion poll posted a 33-point Labour lead – Mr Kwarteng offers a modicum of ‘regrette’.
‘Look, hindsight is a beautiful thing,’ he says. ‘The whole thing was done at speed, there’s no doubt about that. The Prime Minister kissed hands with Her Majesty on September 6 and the mini-Budget was delivered on September 23, and we had a period of national mourning. So it was all done at very high speed, that’s true.’