New Delhi/London: Liz Truss, the Prime Minister of the UK, resigned today after 45 days in power, the shortest term for a British PM. Her economic programme sent shockwaves through the markets and divided her Conservative Party. She was appointed over Rishi Sunak.
“Given the situation, I cannot carry out the mandate for which I was elected…I will remain as Prime Minister until a successor has been chosen,” Ms Truss told reporters today.
The pound rose 0.36 per cent today. A “mini-budget” last month had proposed vast, unfunded tax cuts, triggering an intervention from the Bank of England as borrowing costs surged, the pound tumbled and mortgage rates jumped.
Ms Truss announced her resignation less than 24 hours after she said, “I am a fighter and not a quitter”, in response to MPs who criticised her. “I am someone who is prepared to front up. I’m prepared to take the tough decisions,” she said yesterday.
Ms Truss’ chaotic premiership was mortally wounded despite having barely begun. Discounting 10 days of mourning for the late Queen Elizabeth II, Ms Truss had only a week before her political programme imploded, leading to the sacking of her Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng.
Mr Kwarteng, who was seen as like-minded with Ms Truss, had announced a “mini-budget” which detailed the price of an energy scheme worth $67 billion over the next six months. But he did not have measures to raise funds.
Instead, the then Finance Minister announced massive new borrowings to pay for sweeping tax cuts – including for top-earners – along with scrapping a cap on bankers’ bonuses.
The announcement drew immediate political fire for being unfair, and the pound fell towards parity against the dollar. Mr Kwarteng and Mr Truss were then forced into a humiliating U-turn, scrapping the planned cut in the top rate of income tax.
By this morning, more than a dozen Conservative MPs had publicly urged Ms Truss to resign, after her tax-cutting plans caused a market meltdown during an already severe cost-of-living crisis.
Labour leader Keir Starmer, whose opposition party has surged in opinion polls on the back of Ms Truss’s short, crisis-plagued tenure, demanded a general election “now”.
Ms Truss beat former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak in the leadership race after Boris Johnson announced his resignation in July — but Mr Johnson supporters have vowed to block a coronation for Mr Sunak now.