When did Liz Truss become prime minister? Timeline of PM’s 44 days in post before resignation announcement

Truss spoke from a lectern in Downing Street on Thursday afternoon (20 October)

But with Truss now being the shortest serving Prime Minister in British history, when did she become PM and what happened during her time in the role? Here’s what you need to know.

Liz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister after just 44 full days in officeLiz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister after just 44 full days in office
Liz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister after just 44 full days in office

What happened during Liz Truss’s time as Prime Minister?

Liz Truss announced her resignation after a chaotic 44 days in office during which she lost the confidence of Tory MPs and the public, and oversaw economic turbulence.

After battling an open revolt from Conservatives demanding her departure, Truss spoke from a lectern in Downing Street on Thursday afternoon (20 October), where she announced she had told the King she was resigning as the leader of the Conservative Party as she recognised she “cannot deliver the mandate” which Tory members gave her just over six weeks ago.

She held talks with the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservatives Sir Graham Brady and agreed to a fresh leadership election “to be completed within the next week”.

Truss said: “This will ensure that we remain on a path to deliver our fiscal plan and maintain our country’s economic stability and national security, adding: “I will remain as Prime Minister until a successor has been chosen.”

Truss’s resignation came just a little over 24 hours after she told MPs she was “a fighter, not a quitter”, but her chances of survival were slashed after chaotic scenes in the Commons followed the resignation of Suella Braverman as home secretary.

The number of Tory MPs publicly demanding Truss’s resignation doubled before she stepped down on Thursday, taking the total to 15, with a far greater number thought to be privately agitating for her exit.

Here’s a timeline of key moments during Liz Truss’s short reign as Prime Minister:

5 September: Liz Truss wins the Tory leadership contest and becomes the country’s next Prime Minister.

6 September: Truss becomes Prime Minister after being invited to form a new government by the Queen at Balmoral. Kwasi Kwarteng is appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer.

7 September: Truss uses her first Prime Minister’s Questions to promise to work with MPs across the House to tackle “the challenges we face” at a “vital time for our country”. She says she will set out her package of support to deal with soaring energy bills the following day.

8 September: The PM announces a new energy price guarantee and promises support for businesses struggling with bills for six months, with targeted help for vulnerable firms beyond that.

Buckingham Palace issues a statement saying doctors were concerned for the Queen’s health, with the Palace confirming her death at 6.30pm.

9 September: The King holds his first in-person audience with Truss at Buckingham Palace.

19 September: The Queen’s funeral is held at Westminster Abbey in London.

23 September: Kwarteng announces his mini-budget, which included abolishing the top rate of income tax for the highest earners and axing the cap on bankers’ bonuses, while adding restrictions to the welfare system.

26 September: Pound hits a record low against the dollar.

27 September: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) urges the government to change tack.

28 September: The Bank of England says the budget “will likely increase inequality” and worsen inflation

29 September: Truss defends her economic plan and shrugs off the negative reaction from financial markets

1 October: On the eve of the party conference, Truss accepts that her plan “involves difficult decisions and disruption in the short term”

2 October: Truss acknowledges mistakes over the mini-budget, but says she is standing by the tax-cutting plan. She refuses to rule out public spending cuts.

3 October: Truss and Kwarteng U-turn and abandon their plan to abolish the 45p rate of income tax for top earners.

5 October: Truss says she will “get Britain moving” as she delivers her first Tory conference speech as party leader.

12 October: Truss insists she will not cut spending to balance the books. Economists and the financial markets continue to question her plans.

14 October: Kwarteng is sacked, having flown back early from International Monetary Fund talks in Washington. He says he has accepted Truss’s request that he “stand aside” as Chancellor. The Prime Minister replaces him with Jeremy Hunt.

She announces she is abandoning Kwarteng’s commitment to drop the planned rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25% - even though it was a central message of her leadership campaign.

15 October: Hunt indicates the PM’s immediate economic plan is now largely defunct in a series of broadcast interviews. US President Joe Biden appears to criticise Truss’s original plan, telling reporters: “I wasn’t the only one that thought it was a mistake”.

16 October: Former minister Crispin Blunt becomes the first Tory MP to publicly call for Truss to quit. He is followed by Andrew Bridgen and Jamie Wallis.

17 October: Hunt gets rid of the bulk of the PM’s economic strategy in an emergency statement designed to calm the markets. He scales back the energy support package and ditches “almost all” the tax cuts previously announced by Kwarteng.

In a sit-down interview with the BBC’s Chris Mason, she apologises for her “mistakes” and pledges to lead the Tories into the next general election.

18 October: Downing Street sparks a backlash by indicating ministers could ditch their commitment to the pensions triple lock.

19 October: The PM declares she is a “fighter, not a quitter” and insists she is “completely committed” to the triple lock on state pensions at PMQs. Suella Braverman also quit as home secretary after sending an official document from her personal email to a fellow MP, in a serious breach of ministerial rules, but in her resignation letter she also criticised Truss’s “tumultuous” premiership.

Later on that evening, Tory MPs are told a Labour vote in the Commons seeking to ban fracking is being treated as a “confidence motion”. Deputy chief whip Craig Whittaker warns his colleagues the vote is a “100% hard” three-line whip. This indicated that the Conservatives who oppose fracking face being kicked out of the parliamentary party if they do not follow orders.

Confusion occurred when climate minister Graham Stuart told the Commons: “Quite clearly this is not a confidence vote.” Cabinet ministers Therese Coffey and Jacob Rees-Mogg were among a group of senior Tories accused of pressuring colleagues to go into the “no” lobby. Labour former minister Chris Bryant claims some MPs were “physically manhandled”.

Overnight, Downing Street says Mr Stuart was “mistakenly” told to say it was not a confidence motion, adding that Conservative MPs were “fully aware” it was subject to a three-line whip. A spokesman says the whips will speak to the Tories who failed to support the Government, and those without a “reasonable excuse” will face “proportionate disciplinary action”.

20 October: Truss quits after just 44 full days in the role. This is a long way behind the next shortest premiership, which was that of Tory statesman George Canning, who spent 118 full days as PM in 1827 before dying in office from ill health.

Truss was to have overtaken this number of days on 3 January 2023, but she will instead fall short of this by more than two months, with the next Prime Minister due to be elected within the next week.