Politics U.K.

Liz Truss Resigns After Six Weeks as UK Prime Minister

British Prime Minister Liz Truss announces her resignation, as her husband Hugh O’Leary stands nearby, outside Number 10 Downing Street, London, Britain October 20, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

By Elizabeth Piper, Andrew MacAskill and Muvija M / Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) -Liz Truss said on Thursday she would resign as British prime minister, brought down just six weeks into the job by an economic programme that shattered investor confidence and enraged much of her Conservative Party.

Speaking outside the door of her Number 10 Downing Street office, Truss accepted that she had lost the faith of her party and said she would step down next week, becoming the shortest-serving prime minister in British history.

Truss, who had said on Wednesday she was a “fighter and not a quitter”, told the mass of journalists gathered in Downing Street that she realised she could no longer deliver on the promises that won her the Conservative leadership.

“I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party,” said Truss, who was supported only by her husband with her aides and loyal ministers noticeably absent.

A new leadership election will be completed by next Friday, Oct. 28. Those expected to run include former finance minister Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt, a former defence minister.

Jeremy Hunt, the man brought in to rescue the public finances, has ruled himself out.

Party members and Conservative lawmakers are expected to be given a say in the vote. A poll earlier this week showed that most members wanted former prime minister Boris Johnson – who was ousted from Downing Street in July – to return.

Britain is not scheduled to hold a national election for another two years.

Betting odds put Sunak as the favourite, ahead of Mordaunt and Johnson.

Appointed on Sept. 6, Truss was forced to sack her finance minister and closest political ally, Kwasi Kwarteng, and abandon almost all her economic programme after their plans for vast unfunded tax cuts crashed the pound and British bonds. Approval ratings for her and the Conservative Party collapsed.

On Wednesday she lost the second of the government’s four most senior ministers, faced laughter as she tried to defend her record to parliament and saw her lawmakers openly quarrel over policy, deepening the sense of chaos at Westminster.

New finance minister Hunt is now racing to find tens of billions of pounds of spending cuts to try to reassure investors and rebuild Britain’s fiscal reputation as the economy heads into recession and inflation runs at a 40-year high.

He is due to deliver a new budget on Oct. 31. The new prime minister will be selected on Friday, Oct. 28.

In a very short speech, Truss – whose brief term as premier beat the record of George Canning, who had held the role for 119 days when he died in 1827 – said she had come into office as the country faced great uncertainty.

“I recognise though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party,” Truss said.

(Writing by Kate Holton; additional reporting by Farouq Suleiman and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by William Schomberg, Sarah Young and Catherine Evans)

9 comments

  1. Her attempt to pull a Donald Trump by giving tax breaks to the Uber rich, was one of the things that pushed people over the edge. Take note the Biden hasn’t bothered rescinded those tax breaks.

  2. The swiftness of her ouster was a surprise even to me- as after her election, I gave her at least 2 to 3 months before her exit. The Tories are livid because of course the economic disaster she precipitated taints their own political futures; even though I’d guess that her agenda mirrored those of her partisans in Parliament.

    Unfortunately, none in line for PM seem to recognize that a significant part of the economic trouble is also linked to UK’s strident foreign policy position vis a vis Russia / Ukraine; and their hawkish, unquestioning support of Washington’s agenda their is contributing mightily to the economic mess. Equally unfortunately, Labour has largely purged or successfully neutered any progressive response that might ameliorate that problem.

    So look for more economic chaos going down the line, regardless of who replaces Truss.

  3. The Circus continues as the planet burns as leaders like Truss steadily march us to oblivion! What will be vomited up next? One can only wonder!

    1. Jeremiah, Good question. Seems jolly old England is in quite a pickle. Maybe the pickle will be regurgitated. Looks like the Mad Hatters tea party is in full swing.
      Seriously how long will Scotland and Northern Ireland stay in this Cicus.
      Still Charles is now the King so maybe a talk fest can be organised with the Flower Fairies.The solution must be in there somewhere ?

    2. “What will be vomited up next?” The election season is upon us in the US – expect vomit – Vote for vomit !

  4. This is the proof. Global capital absolutely rules UK, major bond holders control government policies and orchestrated this artificial crisis caused by deliberate policy decisions.

    Politicians are simply scripted puppets, clowns, clueless about statecraft and socioeconomics professional liars and deceivers which made Bojo and Liz highly qualified for leading this meaningless political circus.

    Anybody who thinks that recycling this clownish gangs of thieves and liars through meaningless, rigged long before actual voting elections may change anything but perpetuate further pain and suffering must have head examined.

  5. I saw the choice between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak aptly described by an anonymous Tory as: “We wanted to make a new start. But what we’ve got is a choice between Batshit and The Bilionaire”.

    Trust the Tory party to make the wrong choice.

    The interesting thing is that Mrs. Truss could have kickstarted the growth of the UK economy (which she professed to value) by 4% practically overnight by re-joining the EU internal market.

    Oh well, perhaps it takes a little longer for that to filter through to some people.

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