Liz Truss resigns as prime minister after 45 days in office

Liz Truss has resigned as leader of the Conservative Party and will stand down as prime minister.

Truss confirmed on Thursday (20 October) that she has offered her resignation to King Charles III, and that the Conservative Party will hold a leadership election to choose her successor within a week.

“I recognise given the situation I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to his majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party,” she said outside No 10.

Truss became prime minister just 44 days ago, on 6 September. She will go down in history as the shortest-serving prime minister in history.

Her time in office has been defined by two events: the death of Queen Elizabeth II, just two days after Truss entered No 10, and the mini budget delivered by Kwasi Kwarteng on 23 September.

The fiscal event, as it was billed by No 10, contained a swathe of tax cuts to benefit the rich. These cuts were met with widespread criticism, and triggered huge economic uncertainty.

Truss attempted to save her own neck by forcing Kwarteng out. He was replaced by Jeremy Hunt, who swiftly reversed almost all of the measures contained in the mini budget, taking with them any remaining credibility Truss had.

For the past week, the Tory party has been in open civil war. More than a dozen MPs have openly called for Truss’ resignation, and on Wednesday (19 October), home secretary Suella Braverman took a parting shot at the prime minister as she resigned from her post.

Braverman quit after breaching security rules – in her resignation letter, she shared “concerns” about the government ditching manifesto pledges, and gave a thinly-veiled assessment of Truss’ position following her admitted mistakes on the economy.

“Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics. I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign,” Braverman wrote.

Hours later, there were yet more signs that the wheels were coming off, with reports of Tory MPs being bullied and manhandled into backing Truss in a vote on fracking that had been designated by party whips as a confidence motion.

The Conservative Party will now throw itself into an unprecedentedly quick leadership election, with a new prime minister set to be installed within a week.

In recent days there has been much speculation that Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt could team up for a unity ticket – however, there is also clear support among the party for Boris Johnson to return as prime minister.

Whoever wins the Tory leadership challenge will be Britain’s third prime minister in two months.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has called for a general election.

“The Tories cannot respond to their latest shambles by yet again simply clicking their fingers and shuffling the people at the top without the consent of the British people,” Starmer said.

“They do not have a mandate to put the country through yet another experiment; Britain is not their personal fiefdom to run how they wish.”

It’s reported that Jeremy Hunt will not run to replace Truss.