Liz Truss has just announced that she will be stepping down as UK prime minister. Forty-five days into her premiership, Truss said she was resigning as the leader of the party. Announcing her decision in a short speech outside Downing Street — accompanied by her husband — Truss said that she entered at a time of uncertainty where “families and businesses were worried about how to pay their bills.” She went on to say that she had delivered on energy bill support and reversed the National Insurance hike. But she recognized that given the situation Britain now found itself in — both with economic turmoil and a divided party — she could no longer deliver on the mandate she was given by her party to go for economic growth and tax cuts.
As a result, she tendered her resignation and agreed with the 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady to set out that there would be a short leadership contest lasting a week. She will remain in post until then.
Where did it all go wrong for Truss? She came in as leader of a divided party with the support of just one-third of MPs. But the point when things truly spiraled came after the not-so-mini-Budget in which unfunded tax cuts spooked the markets and landed badly with the public. Since then, Truss has lived in a world of the least-worst options. As she has tried to find a way, she has lost her chancellor, home secretary and key aides.
Who will replace her? MPs have not managed to unite around a candidate yet — but parliamentary voting rounds will likely follow. Names in the frame include Rishi Sunak, Ben Wallace, Penny Mordaunt, Jeremy Hunt, Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch. Whether any candidate will be able to unify the party and bring stability remains to be seen.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.