44 Chaotic Days
British Prime Minister Liz Truss quits after 44 days in office breaking the record of George Canning
Liz Truss became the shortest serving PM in modern British history when she resigned on Thursday following contentious sessions at the House of Commons Wednesday, following a botched economic plan that shook financial markets, pushed up living costs for voters and enraged much of her own party.
Her shocking resignation comes after she said she was a “fighter” not a “quitter”.
The Conservative Party, which holds a big majority in parliament and need not call a nationwide election for another two years, will elect a new leader by Oct. 28.
That contest is likely to pit ex-finance minister Rishi Sunak against Penny Mordaunt, but could also see the return of former premier Boris Johnson, who was ousted in July when his ministers resigned en masse to force him out of power.
“I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party,” said Truss, speaking outside No 10 who was supported only by her husband with aides and loyal ministers absent. Truss noted that “there will be a leadership election to be completed in the next week,” and added that she would “remain as Prime Minister until a successor has been chosen.”
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 broader electorate, and with support from only around a third of the party’s lawmakers.
She had promised tax cuts funded by borrowing, deregulation and a sharp shift to the right on cultural and social issues.
Appointed on Sept. 6, she was forced last week 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.
Truss is now the shortest serving prime minister in British history, Tory PM George Canning previously held the record, serving 119 days in 1827 when he died.
With the economy heading into recession and inflation running at a 40-year high, millions of Britons are struggling with a cost-of-living crisis. Jeremy Hunt, the new finance minister has ruled himself out of the leadership race, is due to deliver a new budget on Oct. 31.