This is an item from Iain Martin’s weekly newsletter for subscribers to Reaction. Become a subscriber here.

If there are Tory MPs out there who think the Prime Minister can survive this, I haven’t heard from any of them. Things are moving fast, although much will depend in terms of timing on what happens with the markets.

Who will replace Truss if she opts to resign in the next few weeks or is forced to stand aside? I won’t waste your time here with a long list of potential successors strutting about. Boris Johnson is a joke that is no longer funny. Home Secretary Suella Braverman as PM would hasten the annihilation of the Conservative party even faster than Liz Truss.

The country is not in the mood for another ridiculous Tory leadership contest lasting months, with hustings and stupid TV events, as though it’s all the most tremendous wheeze.

The best of the cabinet (not a long list), senior MPs and wise owls from the Lords and voluntary party will have to arrive at a person by acclamation. Perhaps as George Osborne has suggested a quick parliamentary contest could be arranged, whittling it down to one, a winner, within a week, although even this delay sounds self-indulgent.

So, cut to it. Realistically, it comes down to a choice between two senior figures. That is the former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. Sunak got a lot wrong in office, but he came second in the summer contest and has been vindicated in his warning about the bond markets. Wallace (I declare an interest, old friendship, having known him since the early days of the Scottish parliament) is very sound on the war in Ukraine and on geopolitical risk in a way that finance guy Sunak is not. Wallace is popular with Tory members.

The pair do not get on. This has not been a barrier to cabinet members working together in the past, in a war cabinet setting. Again, there is a war on, an economic crisis and a tough winter to come on energy. After that, calls for a general election may become impossible to resist.

Grown-ups work together in national emergencies. The pair’s differing experiences are complementary. The two sides to this crisis are war and the financial markets.

There is some speculation Wallace will emerge as the unity, compromise PM. Having not run in the summer because he didn’t want it and feared the impact on his family, I doubt the Defence Secretary will change his mind.

Sunak wanting to be Prime Minister will need the support of Wallace, when the war, escalation fears and rearmament will be dominant themes of the winter. Sunak will need to build bridges, starting with Wallace.

I can hear the howls coming from those who hate the thought of Sunak in Number 10. Fine. After the last month, what or who have you got instead?

Write to us with your comments to be considered for publication at