Thursday, October 20, British Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her resignation after just six weeks in office. Hers was one of the shortest stints in the history of the United Kingdom. Truss will continue to serve as PM until her successor is selected, a process expected to be completed over the next week.
Liz Truss entered the office at a time of unprecedented economic turmoil. The United Kingdom is experiencing reduced consumer spending, thanks to inflation, rising interest rates, soaring housing costs, and an energy crisis stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Truss campaigned for change but soon realized she could not deliver what was promised. A vision of cutting taxes and implementing a sort of “trickle-down economics” was not well-received. The new PM named her friend and ally Kwasi Kwarteng as finance minister. The ideas proved disastrous when Kwarteng informed the Parliament of proposed tax cuts and further plans to protect households from stifling energy prices.
Truss’ economic program saw the value of British currency drop sharply while government borrowing costs skyrocketed. Already facing a housing crisis, the nation’s mortgage costs were poised to soar even higher. Import costs were predicted to increase for businesses already feeling the squeeze of rising prices.
The domino effect prompted Truss to reverse her economic plans one by one. This culminated in her firing Kwarteng and replacing him with former rival Jeremy Hunt. Within days, he had nullified Truss’ economic program nearly in its entirety. Yet the damage had been done, and there was a revolt within the PM’s own Conservative Party.
There was also further turmoil in Truss’ cabinet. Home Secretary Suella Braverman was under intense scrutiny for sending a sensitive file from a personal email address. Ultimately being pressured to resign, Braverman expressed concern about the “direction of the government” in her resignation letter. She also eluded that Liz Truss’ actions were not consistent with “serious politics.”
Wednesday, October 19, Truss found herself under fire as she was disdainfully questioned by her main adversary, Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer. Amidst jeers from opposition party members, Truss insisted she was a “fighter, not a quitter.”
Yet, following further political chaos Wednesday, Liz Truss confirmed Thursday morning she would resign as Prime Minister. She had a noble vision, but one that proved incompatible with current financial markets.