Liz Truss Resigns

She is the shortest-tenured Prime Minister in British history.

BBC (“Liz Truss resigns as prime minister after Tory revolt“):

Liz Truss has dramatically resigned as prime minister after just 45 days in the job.

The PM said her successor will be elected in a Tory leadership contest, to be completed in the next week.

Tory MPs urged Ms Truss to go after her government was engulfed by political turmoil, following the ditching of most of her economic policies.

Ms Truss was elected by the Tory membership in September, but she lost authority after a series of U-turns.

In a speech outside Downing Street, Ms Truss said: “I recognise that I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”

Ms Truss said she would remain in post until a successor formally takes over as party leader and is appointed prime minister by King Charles III.

Ms Truss – who took office 44 days ago – will become the shortest-serving PM in British history when she stands down.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for an immediate general election following Ms Truss’s resignation speech.

In her speech, Ms Truss said she entered “office at a time of great economic and international instability”, as war rages in Ukraine and living costs skyrocket.

But her resignation comes after a key minister, former home secretary Suella Braverman, quit and Tory MPs rebelled in a chaotic parliamentary vote.

CNBC (“UK Prime Minister Liz Truss resigns after failed budget and market turmoil“):

U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned Thursday following a failed tax-cutting budget that rocked financial markets and which led to a revolt within her own Conservative Party.

Truss said in a statement outside Downing Street: “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 announce that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.”

Her resignation follows a meeting with Graham Brady, the Conservative politician that is in charge of leadership votes and reshuffles. Brady chairs the 1922 Committee — the group of Conservative MPs without ministerial positions who can submit letters of no confidence in the prime minister.

Just before the meeting, a Downing Street spokesperson told reporters Truss wanted to stay in office.

During the hour the meeting lasted, the number of MPs publicly calling for Truss to step down reached 17. The number who have written letters to Brady expressing no confidence in the prime minister was reported to be over 100 by Thursday.

BBC Political Editor Chris Mason (“Massive challenge for Truss successor to unite party“):

It’s astonishing, just three and a half months ago I was standing in this very spot reporting on the resignation of the previous prime minister from the Conservative leadership.

Here we are just 100-odd days later and his successor, Liz Truss, performs that same walk and utters a very similar set of words.

If you thought yesterday was chaotic, the chaos is going to deepen, and out of the next few days there’s going to emerge yet another prime minister.

The Conservatives hope they can dredge a name out of their ranks amongst themselves to avoid a contest among Conservative Party members in the country which would take several months in order to present yet another leader to the country.

That new prime minister, if they can find someone who can unite the party – and that is a massive if – will then face a massive challenge around legitimacy.

But we should remember, constitutionally, we live in a parliamentary democracy and if a new prime minister can command a majority in the House of Commons, they have the constitutional right to serve until the next general election legally has to happen.

CNN’s Rob Picheta (“How Truss destroyed her own premiership within weeks“):

Liz Truss’s resignation brings to an ignominious end her catastrophic tenure in Downing Street, which appeared doomed ever since Truss’s flagship economic agenda sent markets into panic and led to a fall in the value of the pound.

She won support from Conservatives members by promising low-tax, pro-growth policies – derided by her critics as a lurch towards trickle-down economics – but within weeks of coming to power she disavowed the plans in a humiliating pivot, firing her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and ditching virtually all of the fiscal agenda in the wake of a market backlash.

It came after investors rejected an announcement by the Truss government in late September that it would slash taxes while ramping up borrowing in a bid to produce faster growth, citing concerns that the plan would push up inflation just as the Bank of England wants to bring it down.

Fears also crept in about the sustainability of government debt at a time of rapidly rising interest rates.

The pound crashed to a record low against the US dollar, while bond prices slumped, sending yields soaring. That pushed mortgage rates much higher, and brought some pensions funds to the brink of default.

The Bank of England was forced to announce three separate interventions to avoid a full-scale meltdown in the UK government bond market.

Truss meanwhile failed to regain control of an increasingly mutinous Conservative Party, and her Home Secretary Suella Braverman launched a blistering attack on her leadership after leaving the role on Wednesday.

A final chaotic display saw Truss allies accused of manhandling lawmakers to force them to vote against a fracking ban on Wednesday evening.

The speed at which she torpedoed her premiership is impressive, indeed.

There is, however, something to be said for a system that allows a massive course direction when the public and the party have lost faith in its leader. Ours requires waiting four years, regardless of what a disaster the tenure is. Then again, Joe Biden might well have been ousted a year ago, when so many Democratic Party leaders were frustrated with his inability to pass legislation. He has rallied quite nicely since.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Gee, I never got a chance to set up the over-under betting pool.

  2. JohnSF says:
  3. Franklin says:

    So, like, British leaders will voluntarily give up power when the writing is on the wall, rather than whine like babies, lie, and make excuses? Fascinating.

  4. Beth says:


    For now.

  5. JohnSF says:

    The key part is:

    The PM said her successor will be elected in a Tory leadership contest, to be completed in the next week.

    Means a deal has been done to cut out the membership from the election: MPs only will vote.

    That was what was making me think she might hang on for some time.
    Must be a Sunak/Mordaunt/Hunt agreement.
    Now the big question is: rebellion by the ERG? Or have enough of them been convinced to land on Planet Real?

  6. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Then start one fast for the second coming of Boris.

  7. Joe says:

    So far as I am aware the policies she announced should have been no surprise to anyone voting her in. It never ceases to amaze me that people react with such shock to an outcome that was totally predictable. How is Truss the problem here and not the Tory Party?

  8. JohnSF says:

    The “one week” rules out Johnson.
    It’ll be Sunak, Hunt or (outside chance) Mordaunt.

    Or just possibly Wallace as a caretaker; he doesn’t want the job, but might be persuadable, especially if only till an early election in spring.

  9. CSK says:

    From the BBC, a quick guide as to why Liz Truss resigned:

  10. Tony W says:

    The shortest-tenured PM in UK history was in power and oversaw the end of the longest-tenured royal in UK history.

    This will be a great trivia question in a decade or so.

  11. JohnSF says:

    Known by Conservatives she was a “low tax libertarian” type on economics.
    But no one expected her and Kwarteng to implement in such a cack-handed way.
    It was that that shocked the markets; and that is what wrecked her government.
    She has cost a lot of people a lot of money; that’s not something easily forgiven or forgotten.

    Conservative Party membership is the root problem; that’s why they are being cut out of the choice this time.
    Clowns choosing the ringmaster did not work well.
    (Though Truss did only get 57%, so not even all the membership are completely nuts)

  12. Kathy says:


    For now.

    Like the scorpion in the fable, politicians will always scheme to gain, keep, and regain power. It’s their nature.

  13. Scott says:

    “I recognise that I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”

    Do the British use the word “mandate” the same way we do? Was it that clear that Truss knew what she was to deliver?

  14. Neil Hudelson says:

    I’m sure everyone’s already done the calculation in their heads, but for the record she lasted 3.8 Scaramuccis (using the International Standard Scaramucci Unit of 11 Days, not the Imperial Scaramucci Unit of 10 days).

  15. JohnSF says:

    Odds are very high he’ll lose his seat at the next election.
    And how happy will the leader then be to see him get a selection elsewhere?
    More likely he’ll take a peerage; which ends any chance of a comeback.

  16. Kathy says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    That seems wrong.

    How about:

    Imperial Scaramucci 11 days
    Metric Scaramucci 10 days

    Seems neater that way. Metric is all base 10.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    Analysis by the FT of how England had to provide higher gov’t bond rates due to the perceived stupidity of its government.

  18. Argon says:

    Tories will remain in power and continue ratflucking while they avoid the essential work of governing competently. They don’t have to hold a general election for a long while.

  19. JohnSF says:


    Erase everything I said above; it looks like they’ve scrubbed the “next week”!
    What in hell are the idiots up to now?

    Haven’t scrubbed: leader elected Friday Oct 28 but they’re going to poll the membership!
    Online poll! OMGG!
    They’ve gone mad.
    Stark staring mad.

    Must be the ERG refusing a “coronation”?

  20. JohnSF says:

    Steve Swinford of the Times says, as it’s going to members poll:

    I’m told that Boris Johnson is expected to stand in the Tory leadership contest
    He’s taking soundings but is said to believe it is a matter of national interest


  21. Kathy says:


    Without stretching the analogy too much, it looks like the March Hare and the Mad Hatter are in control of the UK government.

    I’d check to see whether Charles isn’t crossdressing as the Queen of Hearts.

  22. JohnSF says:

    Thing is, the leadership selection/election isn’t a government thing.
    Strictly party business.

  23. Jen says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve had yogurt with a longer shelf life.

  24. Neil Hudelson says:


    You are, of course, correct. How silly of me.

  25. Beth says:


    Could you remind me who the ERG are? And I guess they have a large enough bloc to cause trouble no matter what?

    Also, this makes me think that the fast majority of, lets be civil, right of center parties have completely lost their minds. The US and UK rights seem to be in a battle between the hard core facist lunatics and the libertarian/billionaire lunatics. Not that they disagree on any policy, just who gets to wield the whip.

  26. JohnSF says:

    ERG = European Research Group.
    Basically a grouping of the anti-EU right of the party; some are “economic libertarian” by inclination, others more populist, around 20 to 25, but with around the same number of fellow right wingers who often follow their lead.
    Highly influential due to acting as group, with their own vote organisation, messaging campaigns, and donors.

    Their peak influence was under Theresa May, when a minority government was at their mercy.
    They still have the capacity to act as n organisational core for the right of the party; but less so if the right is split.
    Which it is.
    There are:
    – the populists (Johnson being their figurehead; you could probably slot Mordaunt in here as well)
    – the ultra-free marketeers aka economic libertarians (the Truss/Kwarteng group)
    – the fiscal realists (current leader Sunak; arguably also Hunt, who was a Cameron/Osborne protege but has shifted right on Europe)

    The remaining parts are the “traditionalists” and the “One Nation” group; the broad centre of the party, and the last remnants of the pro-Europeans. Most of the 2019 “Red Wall” intake divide between sort of One Nation and sort of populist.

    As for the fascistic: they are few among the MP’s.(though Danny Kruger’s edging that way IMO) but an increasingly common minority among the membership, after the influx of ex-UKIP types from 2016 on.

    The libertarian billionaires are more influential., as they have that sweet, sweet money.
    But there are limits; one of the backbones of the party are local businessmen and gentry who often despise the billionaires (and mistrust the UKIPers, come to that).
    A billionaire may buy an MP’s ear; but to get him or her o get crossways of their constituency party and voters is another matter.

    That, in the end, is why both Johnson and Truss were booted.
    Churchill’s rules for dealing with a party leader:

    “If he trips he must be sustained.
    If he makes mistakes they must be covered.
    If he sleeps he must not be wantonly disturbed.
    If he is no good he must be pole-axed”

  27. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Herschel Walker just said he’s the prime Minister.

  28. JohnSF says:

    They’ve announced the rules; looks like Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 (backbenchers organising committee) and Party Chairman Jake Berry have actually thought about it.
    100 MP nominations required for a candidate to be voted on; that should cut out Johnson, and hopefully Braverman.

    If only one candidate gets 100 nomination only that one will go forward.

    Otherwise all with 100 (which could be three, but pretty certainly won’t) will then be voted on by
    MPs; either two stages to eliminate third placed, or one as “indicative of preferences”

    The top two will be voted on by the membership online.

    If Sunak and Mordaunt play their cards right, and the MP’s are sensible, it means that both Johnson and the headbangers can be shut out.

    Not too shabby, tactically.
    Now, just don’t cock it up, eh lads?
    (Lads proceed to cock it up)

  29. Gustopher says:

    @JohnSF: This is all going to end with King Charles taking the reins, isn’t it?

  30. Kathy says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Well, it’s like the Helen.

    Metric Helen = 1,000 ships.
    Imperial Helen = 1,186 ships or 1.186 Metric Helen.

  31. Beth says:


    Awesome. Thank you. Your commentary has been great and helpful to understand all of this.

  32. gVOR08 says:


    It never ceases to amaze me that people react with such shock to an outcome that was totally predictable. How is Truss the problem here and not the Tory Party?

    Tories seem to benefit from the same odd phenomenon as Republicans. They’re the daddy party, so they wouldn’t really do the stuff they say they’ll do. They just say it to get elected. They wouldn’t really do what they….did. Hoocudanode?

    Kevin McCarthy wouldn’t really cause a global financial crisis or cut aid to Ukraine. Right?

  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: Isn’t there still a Stuart Pretender?

  34. JohnSF says:

    Well, some think he has already trolled Truss quite magnificently.

    “Back again? Dear, oh dear. Anyway…”

    Quite a few think this is a little payback for her gratuitously vetoing his attending next years UN COP climate conference.

    But the Conservative leadership is outside his remit; for all its importance for the country, legally it’s a private matter.

  35. Michael Cain says:

    I’ve seen a couple of quotes from groups that attempt to convert polling numbers to seats in Parliament. They were saying that if a general election were held today, Labour would win an absolute majority and the Scottish National Party would come second, making them leaders of the loyal opposition.

    I would pay to watch the PM’s questions with Ian Blackford as leader of the opposition.

  36. JohnSF says:

    Well, part of Truss’s problems with the MP’s has been that she had no electoral mandate for her attempted, and abortive, programme.
    She claimed to, by virtue of the membership vote, but that constitution-mangling just enraged the traditionalist still more.

    For all it’s faults, which are many, grievous, and deserving of the exemplary punishment they shall receive at the ballot box, the Conservative Party MP’s are not Republicans.
    Even the party membership are not, mostly.
    The rather MAGA-like “kippers” (from UKIP) are a minority.
    Most Tories would find the average MAGA far too vulgar for polite society.

    Public opinion on all this:
    YouGov poll, 17th October; government approval rating 7%; disapprove 77%.

    And among those identifying as Conservative in political alignment?
    Approval rate 13%; disapprove 69%

    Tent pegging awaits…

  37. MarkedMan says:
  38. JohnSF says:

    No Stuart descendants currently lays claim to the throne; the last one who did was back in the 19th century IIRC. I think they senior claimant in descent from Charles 1 (the Jacobite line died out) is German.

  39. CSK says:


    Franz, Duke of Bavaria.

  40. Kathy says:


    From reading The Guardian regularly, I’ve concluded outsiders to British politics need to have on hand a glossary, a score card, and a translator.

    Or just your friendly neighborhood @JohnSF

  41. JohnSF says:

    Ooh, there’s another little twist, I think.

    Need to find the full rules set out to be certain, I’ve not been able to yet, just reporting, and I like to see the original text in this sort of thing.
    But, if some reports are correct, then if one of the final two drop out, “coronation” it is.
    If only because a live online poll for 48 hours is nuts.
    (“And the winner iiiis…. Mr Vladimir Putin! Come on down, Vova!”)
    So, the fix may be in.

    Potential outcome: Sunak PM, Hunt CX, Wallace Defence, Mordaunt Foreign ?, Gove Home ?

    My initial horror at it going to a membership vote may have been misplaced.
    100 MP votes is a heck of hill for either Johnson or Braverman to surmount.

    Right wing toys may soon exit the pram, but I think they’ve actually been outmanoeuvred this time, and perhaps subtly enough that membership don’t realise it yet.
    (Not that actual Parlt. Right likes Johnson, but the dimwit kipper members do, and that counts for some)

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    This may be in use in some circles however the only other time I’ve heard it was here.

  43. JohnSF says:

    Incidentally, if anyone is wondering where Johnson is to plot his possible comeback, turn out the lazy fat **** is on holiday, again.
    He was last seen in Westminster in July; has since been on holiday in Slovenia in late July, Greece in August (while he was still PM) Spain in September, a quick jaunt to Colorado, and then the Dominican Republic.
    Good to know his constituents are being well served with any problems an MP usually helps with.

    As said, he’s been looking like losing the next election in Uxbridge, so he really doesn’t give a ****.
    Reliably transactional, is Boris.
    Means if he does get back as leader, there’s going to be a kerfuffle arranging to parachute him into a safer seat.
    If such a thing as a safe Conservative seat exists any more.

  44. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Brit slang; clumsy, clumsiness, to make a mess, ineptitude, incompetence.

    Some say it originates from the use of the left hand to clean oneself after defecation.
    As cack by itself = faeces.
    From the Latin cacare, to defecate.

    Or possibly from Norse-English dialect keck, meaning awkward.

  45. a country lawyer says:

    Not bad for a short 45 day gig! Truss will receive 115,000 for life.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ben Phillips

    German TV news on what is happening in British politics is amazing. No need to understand German, watch to the end

    13 seconds is all it takes.

  47. Gavin says:

    The motto of her leadership should be.. Can’t Truss It

    Who knew Public Enemy was this prophetic?