Liz Truss resigns after six weeks as UK Prime Minister

  • Truss says she’s going next week
  • Sunak and Mordaunt are seen as contenders for the top job
  • Boris Johnson could be back
  • Truss is the shortest serving British Prime Minister

LONDON (Reuters) – Liz Truss said on Thursday she will resign as British Prime Minister after just six weeks in office over an economic program that has disrupted financial markets, raised the cost of living for voters and angered many in her country. Ceremony.

The Conservative Party, which has a large majority in Parliament and does not need to hold a nationwide election for another two years, will elect a new leader by October 28.

That competition is likely to pit former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak against Benny Mordaunt, but it could also see the return of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was ousted in July when his ministers resigned en masse to force him out of power.

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Speaking outside her office No. 10 in Downing Street, Truss agreed she had lost her party’s confidence and said she would step down next week, becoming Britain’s shortest prime minister.

“I have spoken to His Majesty to inform him that I am resigning as the Conservative Party chairman,” said Truss, who has only been supported by her husband, aides and loyal ministers who are notably absent.

Truss became Britain’s fourth prime minister in six years after being elected in September to lead the Conservative Party by its members, not the electorate, and with the support of only about a third of the party’s MPs.

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She had promised borrowing-financed tax cuts, deregulation, and a sharp turn to the right on cultural and social issues.

Appointed on September 6, it was forced last week to sack its finance minister and closest political ally, Kwasi Quarting, and to abandon nearly all of its economic program after their plans for deep, unfunded tax cuts sent the pound and British bonds crashing. Approval ratings for her and the Conservative Party collapsed.

On Wednesday she lost the second largest of the four Cabinet ministers, faced laughter as she tried to defend her record in Parliament and saw her MPs squabbling openly over politics, deepening a sense of chaos in Westminster.

Bar chart showing the tenures of British Prime Ministers since 1970.

New Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt is now racing to find spending cuts of tens of billions of pounds in a bid to reassure investors and rebuild Britain’s financial reputation.

With the economy entering a recession and inflation at its highest levels in 40 years, millions of Britons are grappling with a cost-of-living crisis.

Hunt, who has excluded himself from the leadership race, is due to present a new budget on October 31.

Next Race Down Street

The spectacle of another unpopular prime minister being fired from office highlights how volatile British politics have been since the 2016 election to leave the European Union unleashed a battle for the country’s direction.

Among those expected to run for the post is Snack, who remains largely unpopular with parts of the Conservative Party after helping spark the summer rebellion against Johnson.

Penny Mordaunt, the former defense secretary, could also run, along with Suila Braverman, the home secretary who resigned on Wednesday.

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Johnson, who still faces an investigation into whether he misled Parliament after he and his staff held a series of parties during the COVID-19 lockdowns, may also be a candidate.

The face of the 2016 Brexit vote has loomed large over politics since he became mayor of London in 2008. He led his party to a landslide election victory in 2019, but was ousted from office in July by colleagues who felt Disgusted with his behaviour.

One Tory lawmaker, James Dodridge, said on Twitter: “I hope you enjoyed your president on vacation. Time to come back.” “A few issues in the office that need to be addressed. #bringbackboris”.

Party members and Tory lawmakers are expected to have a say in the vote. A poll earlier this week showed that most members wanted Johnson back, but the bet made Sunak the favourite, ahead of Mordaunt and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and Johnson.

As for Truss, she will enter the history books as Prime Minister with the shortest term in office, replacing George Canning, who held the position for 119 days when he died in 1827.

The rapid collapse of Truss, in the latest wave of unrest to hit Westminster, has driven many Conservative lawmakers into public despair over the state of Britain’s most successful political party.

Asked if they could recover from this, one of the MPs replied: “It won’t happen in a million years.”

The opposition Labor Party – and many voters – called a general election.

“They were not voted on and certainly the policy decisions that I made, none of the Britons asked for them,” Kelly Rodgers, 50, told Reuters outside Downing Street. “So (this) is correct and appropriate you should go.”

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“But equally, she’s just a symbol of her party—it’s an absolute mess.”

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Written by Kate Holton; Additional reporting by Farouk Suleiman, William James, Sachin Ravikumar, Kylie McClellan and Reuters Television. Editing by Catherine Evans

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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