Liz Truss resigns as prime minister after admitting she can’t deliver on mandate elected on by Tory members

Liz Truss announced her resignation during a statement outside Number 10 Downing Street.

Liz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister.

She announced her resignation during a statement outside Number 10 Downing Street today (20 October), after just 44 full days in the role - meaning she will be the shortest serving prime minister in British history. She admitted: “I recognise that I cannot deliver on the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”

After confirming she had spoken with His Majesty The King about her decision, Truss also announced that there will be a “leadership election to the completed within the next week.” She met with Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, to confirm this, declaring the quick turnaround will “ensure we remain on path to deliver our fiscal plans and maintain our country’s economic stability.”

The ex-Prime Minister concluded: “I will remain as Prime Minister until a successor has been chosen. Thank you.”

It comes after a disastrous few days in office, with calls for Truss to resign becoming increasingly urgent, rumours of a rule change so Tory MPs can oust her circulating, and just last night (19 October) - a vote on fracking in the House of Commons dissolving into complete chaos as MPs were reportedly “manhandled” and “bullied” into voting in support of the government.

Now ex-Home Secretary Suella Braverman resigned just yesterday (20 October), dealing a final blow to Truss’ administration by writing she was “worried” about the direction the government is heading in.

Liz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister. Credit: PA

What brought Liz Truss down?

Truss’ premiership has been in peril for a while. It started with the disastrous fallout from the government’s mini budget, which saw fallout in the financial markets as the pound hit a record low. Tory MPs extraordinarily started to publicly call for her resignation, meaning the Prime Minister had to deal with a mutiny as well as an economic crisis.

Following weeks of backing her extreme tax-slashing agenda, Truss had to make an embarrassing U-turn on her and former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s plans to abolish the 45p tax rate for the highest earners. But the U-turns didn’t stop there, as after sacking Kwarteng, new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt scrapped “almost all” the policies announced in the mini budget - landing a severe blow to Truss’ political authority.

Rumours began emerging of plans to change 1922 Committee rules so that MPs could oust Truss, despite the ex-Prime Minister declaring she is a “fighter not a quitter” and vowing to stay in the job to “deliver in the national interest.” Meanwhile, Suella Braverman dramatically quit as home secretary, citing a “technical infringement” of the ministerial rules, and criticised Truss’s “tumultuous” premiership.

Truss’ odds of survival were then further slashed after chaotic scenes in the House of Commons, in which MPs were allegedly “manhandled” and “bullied” into voting in support of the government on Labour’s motion to ban fracking.

The number of Tory MPs publicly demanding Truss’s resignation doubled in the morning following (20 October), taking the total to 14. However, a far greater number were privately hoping for her departure from Number 10.

What happens next?

Now that Truss has announced her resignation, the United Kingdom will need a new Prime Minister. In her speech, Truss said she had met with 1922 Committee chairman Brady and agreed there will be a leadership election within the next week. She confirmed that she will remain as prime minister until a successor is chosen.

During this process, Tory party members would once again vote for their preferred candidate - as they did with the contest over the summer. Some of the names already being linked with a run for the top job include leadership runner-up Rishi Sunak, former contenders Penny Mordaunt and Suella Braverman, as well as, incredibly, Boris Johnson, who left Number 10 just three months ago.

There is talk of Boris Johnson making a comeback to Number 10. Credit: Getty Images

Johnson’s former parliamentary aide Sir James Duddridge, who is currently serving as international trade minister, used the hashtag #bringbackboris on Twitter. He wrote: “I hope you enjoyed your holiday boss. Time to come back. Few issues at the office that need addressing.”

Despite the plans set out by Truss, however, there are already calls for a general election instead, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer leading the tirade. He said: “The British public deserve a proper say on the country’s future. They must have the chance to compare the Tories’ chaos with Labour’s plans to sort out their mess, grow the economy for working people and rebuild the country for a fairer, greener future.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also said a general election is a “democratic imperative”, saying it is “ordinary people” who will be hit worst by the “utter shambles” at Westminster.

Without a general election, if a new Tory leader is chosen, the Conservatives will be on their third prime minister on the mandate won by Johnson in December 2019.

Liz Truss’ resignation speech in full

“I came into office at a time of great economic and international instability. Families and businesses were worried about how to pay their bills. Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine threatens the security of our whole continent and our country has been held back for too long by low economic growth.

“I was elected by the Conservative Party with a mandate to change this. We delivered on energy bills and on cutting national insurance. And we set out a vision for a low tax, high growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit.

“I recognise though that given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to His Majesty The King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.

“This morning I met the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady. We have agreed that there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week. This will ensure we remain on path to deliver our fiscal plans and maintain our country’s economic stability.

“I will remain as Prime Minister until a successor has been chosen. Thank you.”