FORMER chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has claimed he told Liz Truss she was “going too fast” with the disastrous mini-Budget as it emerged the UK economy has shrunk and a recession looms.

The UK economy contracted by 0.2% in the third quarter, early figures have shown, prompting fears that a full-blown recession, potentially the longest on record, is on the horizon.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has already warned of a “tough road ahead” and “extremely difficult decisions” ahead of the delayed autumn statement now due on November 17.

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But as the figures from the Office for National Statistics marked the first step towards a recession, Kwarteng, Hunt’s predecessor, gave his first interview since he was sacked by Truss on October 14.

Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget caused the pound to collapse to a record low against the US dollar, forced an intervention from The Bank of England (BoE) to stop pension pots from collapsing, caused mortgage interest rates to soar and deals to disappear from the market.

But speaking on TalkTV, the former chancellor tried to pin the blame on Truss and refused to apologise for the mortgage rate hike.

He told journalist Tom Newton Dunn that he told then PM Truss after the mini-Budget that they were going “very fast, at breakneck speed” and claimed he urged her to “slow down”.

Kwarteng added: “She said well I’ve only got two years, and I said you'll have two months if you carry on like this, and that's I'm afraid what happened.

The National: Kwarteng said he told Truss to 'slow down'Kwarteng said he told Truss to 'slow down' (Image: PA)

“That was something that I said to her in October after the mini-Budget but I feel looking back there were some great measures in the budget. We should have had a more methodical and strategic approach, where we had a timeline to deliver these things.

“I think trying to do everything at once was a mistake.”

Kwarteng was asked if he would apologise to those whose mortgages were affected but refused to comment.

He added: “I think it was regrettable and I think people were very concerned. Interest rates were going up and the Bank of England has put interest rates up, all of that was happening but there was turbulence and I regret that.”

Asked again if he would apologise, Kwarteng said: “I don’t want to relive the past.”

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However, despite his claims, just two days after the mini-Budget, Kwarteng told the BBC that: “There is more to come. We have only been here 19 days.”

It comes as the SNP and Scottish Greens hit out at the revelation that a recession is looming under the UK Tory Government.

The SNP’s shadow chancellor Alison Thewliss said that the figures should be a “final wake-up call” for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Hunt to deliver real support for struggling households and “ditch their austerity agenda”.

She added: “With a long and deep recession looming, the grim reality is that far too many people are frightened to open their bills, and are unable to put food on the table or heat their homes.

“These statistics are a damning indictment of the Tories’ disastrous economic record - driven by deep austerity, targeting of the most vulnerable in society, and imposing an extreme Brexit that has hammered the economy, trade and led to staff shortages."

Scottish Greens economy spokesperson, Maggie Chapman MSP said that despite global challenges the “incompetent Tories” have made the situation “many times worse”.

On Friday, Hunt said he was gearing up to make “eye-watering” decisions to make the incoming recession “shallower and quicker”, and blamed the problems on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “weaponisation” of gas supplies during his war in Ukraine.

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He said: “I am under no illusion that there is a tough road ahead – one which will require extremely difficult decisions to restore confidence and economic stability.

“But to achieve long-term sustainable growth, we need to grip inflation, balance the books and get debt falling. There is no other way.”

Hunt said the Bank of England’s warning that the nation is likely in a recession is “disappointing but not entirely unexpected news”.

But when pressed on how the UK is currently the only G7 economy currently shrinking, he sought to largely blame rising energy prices.