Prime Minister Liz Truss has resigned and will step down following a week-long search for her successor, she announced outside Downing Street today.
After a turbulent 45 days in office, during which Truss’s mini-budget crashed the markets, she lost two key ministers, and almost all her own legislators lost confidence in her, Truss has resigned.
The statement was made after she met Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers, at Downing Street, followed by Thérèse Coffey, her deputy prime minister, and Jake Berry, the party’s chair.
Truss said she had entered office with “a vision for a low-tax, high-growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit”.
As she continued, “I acknowledge that, given the current situation, I am unable to fulfill the mandate for which I was elected by the Conservative party.” Therefore, I have notified His Majesty the King of my resignation.
“This morning I met the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady. We’ve agreed that there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week. This will ensure that we remain to deliver our fiscal plans and maintain our country’s economic stability and national security. I will remain as prime minister until a successor has been chosen.”
Brady told reporters that the party membership will play a role in the election of a new leader during the next week. The executive committee of the 1922 party and the Conservative party board will meet at 4pm to determine how the election will proceed. This may include requiring candidates to achieve a high number of nominations for the House of Commons.
Brady indicated they hoped a new leader would be in place by 28 October, allowing the scheduled fiscal event to take place on 31 October just three days after the new prime minister takes office.
Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, and Michael Gove, a former cabinet minister, have both ruled themselves out of consideration for the leadership post. Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, is likely to be a candidate, as is Kemi Badenoch, the international trade secretary. Other potential candidates include Penny Mordaunt and Grant Shapps. It is also possible that Boris Johnson will return.
The opposition parties called for an immediate general election, arguing that the Conservatives do not have a mandate to govern.
“After 12 years of Tory failure, the British people deserve so much better than this revolving door of chaos,” said Keir Starmer. Over the past few years, the Tories have increased taxes, destroyed our institutions, and created a cost of living crisis. As a result, many people are facing extra mortgage payments of £500 per month due to the crash of the economy. It will take years for the damage they have caused to be repaired.”
According to Labour leader Ed Miliband, the Tories should not respond by reshuffling the people at the top without the consent of the British people.
A spokesman for the SNP at Westminster, Ian Blackford, said: “It was inevitable Liz Truss would have to go after the damage she has done – but merely swapping leaders of a broken Tory government is not sufficient.” It is imperative that there be a general election – the people will not accept anything less.”
Carla Denyer, the co-leader of the Greens, said: “The Tory chaos has spiralled beyond any pretence that the country has a viable government.”
Despite the fact that September’s mini-budget was widely viewed as a joint effort, Truss forced her then chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, to shoulder the blame. Due to panicked market reactions to the £45 billion of largely unfunded tax cuts, the pound fell and the cost of new government debt soared.
Having faced a mutiny by her MPs, Truss sacked Kwarteng, but was unable to explain why she should remain when she had strongly advocated tax reductions.
In an effort to restore stability, Hunt announced the scrapping of almost all of Truss’s flagship scheme to cap energy bills and the scaling back of most tax cuts.
Several Tory MPs appeared to have been put off by the chaotic scenes on Wednesday, when a vote on a Labour motion over fracking led to shouting and jostling in the voting lobbies. A dozen or more Conservative MPs who rebelled later did not even know whether they still held the whip.
For more coverage on this story, check the following additional news sources:
- Liz Truss is not alone. These are other high-profile figures with short-lived jobs CNN
- Liz Truss Resigns Latest | Truss faces grilling from MPs amid tax-cut turnaround | UK News Live CNN-News18
- Global concern rises following resignation of U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss CBS News
- Liz Truss’s catastrophic tenure reveals a hidden weakness of American government MSNBC
- Opinion: How Liz Truss imploded in 45 days CNN