After just 44 days in office, British Prime Minister Liz Truss formally resigned today during a press conference outside Downing Street. Officially the shortest-serving prime minister in U.K. history, in less than two months in office, the Conservative leader crashed the markets with her “mini-budget,” witnessed the departure of two key ministers, and lost the confidence of the majority of her own party in quick succession.
Speaking outside of Number 10, Truss kept her resignation fittingly brief. “I came into office at a time of great economic and international instability,” she said. “Families and businesses were worried about how to pay their bills. Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine threatens the security of our whole continent. And our country has been held back for too long by low economic growth. I was elected by the Conservative party with a mandate to change this. We delivered on energy bills and on cutting national insurance. And we set out a vision for a low tax/high growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit. I recognize though, 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.”
Truss will remain as prime minister until her successor is chosen, with a leadership election “to be completed within the next week,” she noted. Both Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt are among those expected to throw their hat into the ring as “unity” candidates, while Suella Braverman—whose dramatic resignation as home secretary precipitated Truss’s decline—is believed to be gearing up to position herself as a far-right candidate.
In light of the chaos, opposition parties have called for a general election to be held, with Keir Starmer issuing a statement on behalf of the Labour Party. “After 12 years of Tory failure, the British people deserve so much better than this revolving door of chaos,” he wrote. “In the last few years, the Tories have set record-high taxation, trashed our institutions, and created a cost-of-living crisis. Now, they have crashed the economy so badly that people are facing £500 a month extra on their mortgages. The damage they have done will take years to fix.” Meanwhile, co-leader of the Greens Carla Denyer—who called Truss’s appointment “a disaster for the UK, and the climate”—has emphasized that the Tory party has now left the country without “a viable government.”