Liz Truss resigns after six weeks as UK Prime Minister

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LONDON — Liz Truss said on Thursday she would step down as Britain’s prime minister, toppled just six weeks after taking office by an economic package that has rattled financial markets, driven up the cost of living for voters and enraged much of his own party.

The Conservative Party, which holds a large majority in parliament and does not need to call national elections for two years, will elect a new leader by October 28.

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This contest will likely pit former finance minister Rishi Sunak against Penny Mordaunt, but 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 office. power.

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Speaking outside the door of her office at Number 10 Downing Street, Truss acknowledged she had lost faith in her party and said she would step down next week, becoming the country’s shortest prime minister. British history.

« I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to inform him of my resignation as leader of the Conservative Party, » said Truss, who was supported only by her husband with his conspicuously absent aides and loyal ministers.

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 wider electorate, and with the backing of only around a third of the UK’s lawmakers. left.

She promised debt-financed tax cuts, deregulation and a sharp right-wing shift on cultural and social issues.

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Appointed on September 6, she was forced last week to sack her finance minister and closest political ally, Kwasi Kwarteng, and abandon almost her entire economic program after their plans for sweeping unfunded tax cuts caused the pound and British bonds to collapse. Approval ratings for her and the Conservative Party plummeted.

She lost the second of the government’s four most senior ministers on Wednesday, faced laughter as she tried to defend her record in parliament and saw her lawmakers openly argue over politics, deepening the sense of chaos at Westminster.

New Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt is now racing to find tens of billions of pounds in spending cuts to try to reassure investors and rebuild Britain’s fiscal reputation.

As the economy heads into recession and inflation hits its highest level in 40 years, millions of Britons are grappling with a cost of living crisis.

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Hunt, who has ruled himself out of the leadership race, is due to present a new budget on Oct. 31.


The sight of another unpopular prime minister being forced out of office underscores how volatile British politics have become since the 2016 vote to leave the European Union sparked a battle for the country’s leadership.

Among those expected to stand for the role is Sunak, who remains deeply unpopular with parts of the Conservative Party after helping spark the Summertime Rebellion against Johnson.

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

Johnson, who is still under investigation into whether he misled parliament after he and his staff threw a series of parties during the COVID-19 lockdowns, could also be a candidate.

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The face of the 2016 Brexit vote has weighed on 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 disgusted by his conduct.

« Hope you enjoyed your vacation boss. It’s time to come back, » Conservative lawmaker James Duddridge tweeted.

Party members and Conservative lawmakers should have a say in the vote. A poll earlier this week showed most members wanted Johnson back, but the betting odds put Sunak as the favourite, ahead of Mordaunt, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and Johnson.

As for Truss, she will go down in the history books as prime minister with the shortest term, replacing George Canning, who had held the post for 119 days when he died in 1827.

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Truss’ swift demise, in the latest bout of unrest to hit Westminster, has prompted many Tory lawmakers to openly despair of the state of Britain’s most successful political party.

When asked if they could get over it, one lawmaker replied, « Never in a million years. »

The main opposition Labor party – and many voters – have called for a general election.

« She wasn’t elected and certainly the political decisions she made, none of the Brits asked for, » Kelly Rodgers, 50, told Reuters outside Downing Street. « So (it’s) fair and proper, she should go. »

« But also, she’s just symbolic of her party – it’s absolute chaos. »

(Writing by Kate Holton; additional reporting by Farouq Suleiman, William James, Sachin Ravikumar, Kylie MacLellan and Reuters TV; Editing by Catherine Evans)



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