British Prime Minister Liz Truss announced on Thursday she was stepping down, just over six weeks after taking the Conservative Party reins as the leader.
Truss’ short term was marked by shock over Britain’s budget, which roled British markets, and internal political dissent leading to cabinet members resigning and backbenchers voicing a lack of confidence in her leadership.
Truss said, “given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”
Truss further said that the election to pick her successor would be completed within a week, in a short statement outside the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street. She will stay on until then.
It’s a remarkably short time frame for Conservative MPs to choose their fifth Prime Minster since the 2016 EU Membership Referendum. Truss will remain in office in the interim.
According to reports from The Times of London and Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson is reportedly planning to run for Prime Minister again at the next general election. It’s unclear whether Johnson could get enough parliamentary colleagues to back him.
A shambles and a disgrace
After expressing her wish to remain in office following an apology for its rocky start under her leadership, Truss said she was “a fighter” and “not a quitter.”
After his “mini” fiscal policy statement (announcement of Sept. 23), which was supposed to be a small step towards reducing the country’s debt burden, caused the stock market to crash, Finance Minister Kwesi Kwarteng resigned. It also enraged opponents because it gave tax breaks to the richest people in the country.
Jeremy Hunt replaced Kwasi Kwarteng and on Tuesday promised to scrap most of his budget, which was supposed to be fully supported by Truss.
Interior Minister Suella Braverman resigned from office Wednesday after a rule violation, but in her resignation letter, she expressed concern about the direction of this administration.
“The business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes,” Braverman wrote.
An effort by Truss supporters to shore up her standing ahead of a fracking vote on Wednesday was seen by some MPs as heavy-handed and exacerbated the government’s crisis, some MPs said.
A conservative member of parliament has described the government’s handling of Brexit negotiations as a “shambles and a disgrace.”
“I hope that all those people that put Liz Truss [in office], I hope it was worth it,” he told the BBC.
“I hope it was worth it to sit around the cabinet table because the damage they have done to our party is extraordinary.”
The party has been criticized by the media. Newspapers that usually support the Conservatives were extremely critical. An editorial in the Daily Mail was headlined, “The wheels have come off the Tory clown car.”
Breaking the story: The announcement came after a turbulent 24 hours in which Home Secretary Suella Braverman resigned and several senior Conservative MPs called for her resignation.
With Truss’ lieutenant desperate for MPs to vote with the government, chaos ensued when the Chief Whip resigned and Truss left the House to chase after her – causing both to be absent from the voting session. That episode seems to summarize Truss’s brief tenure.