By Alexander Zhang
Liz Truss, who became UK prime minister just six weeks ago, has resigned after a significant number of Conservative MPs lost confidence in her leadership.
She is set to become the shortest serving British prime minister in history after failing to stem an open revolt from her own MPs demanding her departure.
Speaking in Downing Street shortly after Thursday lunchtime, Truss said she had told King Charles III that she is resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.
With her husband Hugh O’Leary alongside her, she said she recognizes “given the situation I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”
Truss said she will stay on as prime minister until a successor is chosen via a leadership election to be held within the next week.
“This will ensure that we remain on a path to deliver our fiscal plan and maintain our country’s economic stability and national security,” she said.
But opposition parties have called for an immediate general election.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer demanded a general election “now” so that the nation can have “a chance at a fresh start.”
He said the Conservative Party “has shown it no longer has a mandate to govern” and “the British public deserve a proper say on the country’s future.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “We don’t need another Conservative prime minister lurching from crisis to crisis. We need a general election now and the Conservatives out of power.”
Death of ‘Trussonomics’
Truss became prime minister on Sept. 5 after defeating former Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Conservative Party leadership campaign triggered by Boris Johnson’s resignation.
She then set out to implement her economic vision for Britain to become a “low-tax, high-growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit.”
Her government used the “mini-budget,” delivered by then-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng on Sept. 23, to jump start her new economic program—nicknamed “Trussonomics”—with massive tax cuts worth £45 billion ($50 billion).
But it went badly wrong, as her plan to fund the tax cuts with government borrowing instead of spending cuts led to fears of unsustainable government debt levels.
The ensuing turmoil in the financial markets caused the pound to fall steeply against the dollar and led to an increase in the borrowing costs for both the government and British households.
Truss was forced to sack Kwarteng and carry out a series of humiliating U-turns. Jeremy Hunt, the new chancellor of the Exchequer, subsequently overturned almost her entire economic plan set out just three weeks ago.
Despite her effort to salvage her premiership, the approval ratings for her and her Conservative Party had collapsed, with Labour now enjoying a comfortable lead in opinion polls.
Truss’s 44 days in office falls months behind the next shortest premiership of Tory statesman George Canning, who spent 118 full days as prime minister in 1827 before dying in office.
PA Media contributed to this report.
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