Liz Truss Exits: How Britain Ended Up With Yet Another Prime Minister’s Resignation

As Britain’s shortest-serving Prime Minister Liz Truss lasted 45 days in office before resigning on Thursday. Standing outside Downing Street, in the same place where Boris Johnson Truss, who resigned three and a half months earlier, said she became leader at a time of economic and international instability, elected by Conservative Party members for their vision of a high-growth, low-tax economy powered by the “liberties” of the United States Brexits. “However, I recognize that given the situation, I am unable to fulfill the mandate for which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to let him know that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.”

Truss’s speech was the brief culmination of a tenure marked by economic chaos, partisan rebellion, a strengthened opposition and a deepening crisis of legitimacy. She is exiting a political climate perhaps best defined by desperation – a sentiment captured through an interview with the longtime Conservative MP Karl Walker announced the BBC the evening before her resignation. “I’m furious and, you know, I really shouldn’t be saying this, but I hope all the people who put Liz Truss in number 10 – I hope it was worth it. I hope it was worth it for the ministerial red box. I hope it was worth sitting at the cabinet table because the damage they have done to our party is extraordinary,” he said. “I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of the untalented putting their tick in the right box, not because it’s in the national interest, but because it’s in their own personal interest to attain ministerial posts.”

The mini-budget was announced as the first act in this drama Kwasi Kwarteng– Truss’ longtime friend and short-lived Chancellor. The budget promised tax cuts funded by government bonds and spooked the markets so much that the government was soon forced to scrap the most controversial element (tax cuts for the wealthy). That about-face wasn’t enough, so Truss fired Kwarteng and replaced him with jeremy hunt, a veteran politician who has been described as a “safe pair of hands”.

Hunt was both a lifeline and a kidnapper, leaving Truss trapped. She needed him to pacify the markets; to show she was ready to change course. But when his steady hand shattered their economic vision, Truss’ mandate (which was based not on a general election result but on the votes of some 150,000 Tory party members) faded even further. A prevailing narrative was that Hunt was in charge and that Truss was prime minister in name only.

As Labor ratcheted up the polls, it became clear that Truss was unlikely to lead her party to the next election. Reflecting the sense of the inevitable, the Daily Star live streamed a picture of Truss next to a lettuce with the caption: Which wet lettuce lasts longer? (The newspaper has since crowned the salat while playing the national anthem.) But beyond the absurdity of toppling another Conservative leader, one of the key factors propping up Truss was the lack of a succession plan: Truss had only recently given it one won a leadership campaign, it wasn’t clear who would replace her or how that would work.

On Wednesday, however, the Truss government appeared to be living by the hour rather than by the day, and it was becoming clear that keeping it in office much longer than removing it could be more politically devastating. This was underscored by the day’s two main dramas. The first was the departure of the Minister of the Interior Suella Braverman, who reportedly clashed with Truss over immigration and was forced to resign over sending an official document from her personal email. Bravermans letter of resignation was brutal. “Pretending we haven’t made any mistakes, moving on like not everyone can see we made them and hoping things will magically turn out right isn’t serious politics. I have made a mistake; I take responsibility; I step back.”

That evening there was a shambolic uproar over a vote on fracking. Tory MPs were reportedly initially told this was a vote of confidence (where loyalty is expected). But then, apparently, they were tricked into believing it was not a vote of confidence. Chaos ensued, leading to reports of MPs being “abused” and “harassed,” according to MPs who witnessed it. Meanwhile, the Chief Whip (responsible for discipline) is said to have shouted in the parliamentary corridors: “I’m not the Chief Whip anymore”. and acc The audience‘s Isabel Hartman, the deputy chief whip announced: “I’m freaking mad and I don’t give a shit.”

By the following noon, Truss had resigned. A new Conservative leader will take office next Friday – Britain’s fifth Prime Minister in six years. Candidate names currently being submitted include Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak (Truss’ rival in the previous leadership contest, who warned of the dangers of “Trussonomics”) – and even Boris Johnson. Whoever wins will inherit a stricken economy, a tired and divided party, and likely their own crisis of legitimacy. Since they are not elected by the public, they will inevitably face repeated calls for a general election, which they will likely want to resist – at least until the Conservative Party has regained some of its lost credibility. But, as Truss’ short tenure has shown, a government without a clear mandate and the support of public opinion can prove fatal. Liz Truss Exits: How Britain Ended Up With Yet Another Prime Minister’s Resignation

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