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Liz Truss Resigns as Prime Minister

After 44 days of serving as Prime Minister, Liz Truss has officially resigned

Liz Truss has the record for shortest tenure at 44 days as Prime Minister, with the next closest candidate being George Canning in 1827. Canning had a 119-day term and died in office. Truss’ predecessor, Boris Johnson, had also resigned after a relentless wave of scandals.

Queen Elizabeth II formally appointed truss on September 6th, just a couple of days before the queen passed away. At first, this wasn’t a good omen and seemed to herald the crash-and-burn of her tenure as minister.

A big part of what motivated Truss to resign seems to be the public reception of her ‘economic experiment’, after her tax plan caused panic in the markets, and her own party seemed to turn on her. “I recognize that given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which the Conservative party elected me. I have spoken to his majesty the king to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative party.” She said, “I will remain as prime minister until a successor is chosen.”

Truss had won the intra-party race to serve after Boris Johnson’s resignation, promising tax cuts for the rich to boost economic growth. The plan was considered sketchy at best, given the rising inflation and the UK’s strained fiscal circumstances. 

The tax plan was announced boldly, along with expensive energy subsidies. This prompted the Bank of England to organize an emergency intervention upon seeing the possibly disastrous economic situation the plan would trigger. Liz Truss handed economic policy over to Jeremy Hunt to avoid further disaster.

Liz Truss Resigns
Liz Truss © Reuters

A leadership contest is now being held to decide the next head of the ruling Conservative party, who’ll become the next prime minister. It’s set to conclude the next week. Truss assured Parliament during the weekly Prime Minister’s Question sessions that she was a fighter, not a quitter. On the other hand, the opposition Labour Party called for an immediate national election.

Despite the current political situation of the British government, many UK residents are making light of the situation. The social media memes and comments used to cope with the fear and doubt have spread. A standout from Reddit was a user who stated Liz Truss would become a trivia question in the future. “Who’s the first Prime Minister to serve under two different monarchs?” Another mentioned how her time as Prime Minister was shorter than the campaign she fought to become Prime Minister.

There’s some gossip that the former finance minister under Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, would be a contender for the next voting contest. Should a candidate receive the support of 100 MPs, the final decision will be made by a vote of the 200,000 registered members of the Conservative Party.

While no elections are due for two years, Conservatives expect a loss of power and popularity, with polls now putting them 30 points behind Labour.

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Boris Johnson Survives Vote of No Confidence by the Skin of his Teeth

Boris Johnson isn’t in the clear just yet

Yesterday evening, a group of Tory MP’s attempted to oust Boris Johnson from the position of Prime Minister. The rebels managed to secure 148 votes in favour of ousting the Conservative Party leader, with 211 votes in support of his premiership. Despite it being a clear win for Johnson, the fact that 41% of his own party wants him out of number 10 suggests he’s not out of the woods just yet.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson from Politico

So, what happens next? In the immediate aftermath, nothing much. But, Johnson’s power within his own party has diminished and he could face another vote of no confidence within the next 6 months. This is a huge blow for the Conservative Party as it will see an already weak Prime Minister (probably) wither away, taking the entire party with him. A prominent rebel told the BBC, “The cabinet should tell him to go, but they won’t because they are too weak – he kept them weak”.

Under current laws, Johnson will remain in power for at least a year thanks to the rule which states, “any leader who wins a no-confidence vote can not be challenged for another 12 months.” However, Tobias Ellwood, chair of the Commons defence committee who voted against the Prime Minister last night, broke the news to the Independent that there could be another challenge to his leadership sooner than usual. The senior Tory continued to share that the heads of the powerful 1992 Committee of backbench MPs are looking at changing the rules. “If we’re going to have that stay of execution, we are now going to recognise the democratic outcome and support the prime minister then let’s give the prime minister time to improve,” he said.

He continued, “But, methods can be made, the system can be adjusted to mean the current rule of allowing a prime minister an entire year would be changed.”

In recent months the Conservatives have been surrounded by scandal thanks to ‘Partygate’ – in which the prime minister, colleagues and members of the cabinet were caught breeching COVID rules, whilst drinking alcohol at Number 10 and in other governmental buildings. The scandal caused outrage amongst the public who vigilantly followed government guidelines and were hostage in their own homes.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson and the Partygate scandal from Wikipedia and Sue Grays Report

Now, the Conservative Party is at a crossroads. With dwindling stats in the polls and reeking of scandal, Boris Johnson is on his last legs. Historically, these kinds of votes tend to rot the leadership from the inside out. But, some of Boris’ supporters are convinced that his charisma and ‘different’ approach to politics will see him brush off yet another failure. Only time will tell.