Shortest serving Chancellor of the Exchequer: where does sacked Kwasi Kwarteng rank after Liz Truss dismissal?

Kwasi Kwarteng managed a brief 38 days in office - but is he the shortest serving chancellor Britain has seen?

Liz Truss has sacked Kwasi Kwarteng as she seeks to bolster her bruised authority following weeks of instability following his "fiscal event" last month.

The Chancellor returned early from International Monetary Fund (IMF) discussions in Washington DC on Friday (14 October) to be wished the best in his future endeavours in a brief meeting with the Prime Minister.

Truss is scheduled to hold a news conference in Downing Street later on Friday to outline big adjustments to Kwarteng’s £43 billion tax giveaway.

The Prime Minister’s press conference will be held at 2.30pm in the Downing Street briefing room, No 10 has said.

Kwarteng’s reign as Chancellor of the Exchequer clocked in at just six weeks. He was appointed in the role on 6 September 2022, and accepted Prime Minister Liz Truss’ request to stand down on 14 October.

He was in office as chancellor for 38 days.

So where does that put him on the list of Britain’s shortest serving chancellors? Here is everything you need to know.

Is Kwasi Kwarteng the UK’s shortest serving chancellor?

Clockwise from top right: Nadhim Zahawi (63 days), Kwasi Kwarteng (38 days), Sajid Javid (204 days), Thomas Denman (31 days as interim chancellor), and Ian Macleod (30 days, died in office) (Images: Getty Images)

Kwarteng is not, in fact, the shortest chancellor since the office in its current form was established in 1817. That record falls to Iain Macleod, who served in Edward Heath’s government from 20 June 1970.

The Conservative politician unfortunately died in office just a month later on 20 July after suffering a heart attack, giving him a tenure as chancellor of only 30 days.

That means that Kwarteng remains the shortest serving chancellor to have been sacked or resigned - or to have accepted a request to stand down.

Who are the UK’s shortest serving chancellors?

Besides Macleod and Kwarteng, other chancellors have had relatively short periods of time in office.

Since 2019, the United Kingdom has had four chancellors, including Nadhim Zahawi, who served the third shortest term with 63 days during a brief reshuffle under Boris Johnson.

Sajid Javid is next, spending 204 days as chancellor, the fourth shortest tenure since World War II.

The shortest tenured pre-war chancellor was Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman, who served as interim chancellor for 31 days in late 1834.

George Canning, a Tory statesman who had previously held a number of Cabinet positions, served as both prime minister and chancellor at the same time in 1827.

But he died in office after his health failed, becoming Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister - though that record too may be broken in the coming weeks - and serving 103 days as chancellor.