BREAKING: British prime minister has resigned after just six weeks in office. This comes following a disastrous and rapidly reversed economic plan that sent the pound plunging and her government into chaos.
Thursday’s development came after her new chancellor of the exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, rolled back virtually all of her economic agenda..
Having been formally appointed by Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 6, just days before the monarch’s death, Truss is now by far the shortest-serving prime minister in British history and will be remembered as one of the most catastrophic.
The previous holder of this record, George Canning, lasted 119 days in the early 19th century; Truss announced her resignation after 44 days.
A leadership contest is now underway to decide the next head of the ruling Conservative Party, who will by default become the next prime minister and will conclude in the next week. The opposition Labour Party called for an immediate national election.
On Wednesday, Truss assured Parliament during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session that she was a “fighter, not a quitter.”
Hunt’s move was supposed to be an impetus for growth, but it became Truss’s declaration of political bankruptcy.
At the beginning of this October, at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Truss had still attempted to rally the party around her controversial approach of boosting the United Kingdom’s economy.
“I have three priorities for the economy: growth, growth, growth,” she said.
But leading a ruling party is only possible with respect and credibility. Truss increasingly had little of either, and quit just a day later.
“I recognize that given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which the Conservative Party elected me,” she said Thursday in a brief, unrepentant speech outside No. 10 Downing St.
“I have spoken to his majesty the king to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.”
The British minister ended the statement by saying: “I will remain as prime minister until a successor is chosen.”
Attention is already turning to what happens next.
There are even calls for her predecessor, Boris Johnson, to stage a dramatic return, just months after resigning under pressure from his own party and the public in the wake of a wave of scandals.
Rishi Sunak, Johnson’s former finance minister who pointed out the folly of Truss’ economic plans, is one favourite to replace her. He came second to Truss in the race to succeed Johnson. There is also support in the party for Penny Mordaunt, an experienced figure who earlier this week stood in for Truss in Parliament and assured lawmakers the prime minister was not hiding under a desk.
But with no clear successor waiting in the wings, there could be more uncertain days ahead.