LONDON, October 20, 2022 — British Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned Thursday after just six weeks in office, following a disastrous and rapidly reversed economic plan that sent the pound plunging and her government into chaos.
Having been formally appointed by Queen Elizabeth II on September 6, 2022 just days before the monarch’s death, Truss is now by far the shortest-serving prime minister in British history and will be remembered as one of the most calamitous.
The previous holder of this record, George Canning, lasted 119 days in the early 19th century; Truss announced her resignation after 44 days.
A leadership contest is now underway to decide the next head of the ruling Conservative Party, who will by default become the next prime minister, and will conclude in the next week. The opposition Labour Party called for an immediate national election.
On Wednesday, Truss assured Parliament during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session that she was a “fighter, not a quitter.”
But leading a ruling party is only possible with respect and credibility. Truss increasingly had little of either, and quit just a day later.
“I recognize that given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party,” she said Thursday in a brief, unrepentant speech outside No. 10 Downing St.
“I have therefore spoken to his majesty the king to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.”
She ended the statement by saying: “I will remain as prime minister until a successor is chosen.”
Attention is already turning to what happens next.
There are even calls for her predecessor, Boris Johnson, to stage a dramatic return, just months after resigning under pressure from his own party and the public in the wake of a wave of scandals. A petition is begin circulated across England to bring back “Boris”. Ten-thousands signatures had been obtained at the beginning of the week….and the numbers are climbing.
Rishi Sunak, Johnson’s former finance minister who pointed out the folly of Truss’ economic plans, is one favorite to replace her. He came second to Truss in the race to succeed Johnson. There is also support in the party for Penny Mordaunt, an experienced figure who earlier this week stood in for Truss in Parliament and assured lawmakers the prime minister was not hiding under a desk.
But with no clear successor waiting in the wings, there could be more uncertain days ahead.
Truss’ departure follows a night of remarkable scenes in Parliament, with lawmakers denouncing strong-arm tactics employed by the government that allegedly brought some colleagues to tears, and prompted growing demands for her to go from within her own party.
She huddled inside No. 10 Downing St. with Graham Brady, a senior Conservative lawmaker who oversees leadership challenges. Brady is perhaps better placed than anyone to judge a leader’s support within the party — and by Thursday morning, the picture was clear.
Truss, 47, had promised a radical shift in Britain’s economic fortunes, turning it into a low-tax, high-growth country that would unleash its post-Brexit potential.
Source: NBC and Sky News reported the story. Bee News Daily contributed to the article.