Liz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister after a disastrous six-week tenure, making her the UK’s shortest-serving leader ever. It comes as her government descended into chaos, with key cabinet members and lawmakers savaging her leadership. It started with a bewildering array of U-turns on the mini-Budget, MPs wresting in Commons voting lobbies, and then Chancellor and Home Secretary quit.
As a result of the chaos, a series of previously-loyal MPs joined calls for her to quit officially.
Accordingly, supportive Cabinet ministers conceded the situation was terminal. It’s reported a slew of apocalyptic polls showing Labor up to 36 points ahead had also fuelled outright panic in the Parliamentary Party and that Truss herself had held crisis talks with Sir Graham, Tory chair Jake Berry [pictured below], and Deputy PM Therese Coffey in the building earlier.
“I cannot deliver on the mandate. I will remain as PM until a successor has been chosen,” Truss said as she took to a lectern outside the famous black door to confirm her departure.
Truss, watched by her husband Hugh as she gives the valedictory statement, revealed King Charles III has been informed of her decision and added that the Tory leadership contest would be completed over the next week. The main obstacle to removing Truss had been a lack of consensus on who should take over and what the process should be, with little appetite for a drawn-out contest.
But now, Westminster is gearing up for Boris Johnson, and Rishi Sunak to battle for the party’s soul after Jeremy Hunt [pictured] ruled himself out within minutes.
There are rumors Boris will bid for a return just six weeks after he leaves office. His MP supporters have been saying it’s time to come back, but some politicians warned it would be madness and said a few colleagues could choose to defect if he won. But a Boris-supporting former Cabinet minister shot back: “I will lose 10 MPs; we’ve still got a majority of 51. He’s got the stardust that the others simply do not have.”
Minister James Duddridge, who served as a parliamentary private secretary to Mr. Boris, also said it was time for a comeback.
He said, tweeting with the hashtag #bringbackboris: “I hope you enjoyed your holiday, boss. Time to come back. Few issues at the office that need addressing.” Another frontbencher, Brendan Clarke-Smith, said he thought Boris would be potentially interested, writing: “We need someone who can come in, we need somebody who can bring people together, somebody who has got that mandate.”
Friends of Rishi told DailyMail he is almost sure to stand.
A close ally alleged there would be a natural logic to him facing off against Boris. They added: “It will be a battle for the soul of the party.” The nominations needed to get on the ballot could be as high as 100, which means, in all likelihood, only two candidates will be on the first ballot of MPs, and they will merely give an indication of the mood in the Commons rather than whittling down the field.
Conservative 1992 Committee chair Sir Graham Brady has told journalists a replacement should be in place by October 28, in time for the Halloween Budget.
On the other hand, former Prime Minister Theresa May has dropped a broad hint at her view; warning Tory MPs must ensure there is a sensible competent government. She urged: The Prime Minister is right to provide a roadmap for an orderly transition. MPS must now be prepared to comprise. It’s our duty to provide sensible, competent government at this critical moment for our country.”