- Truss said she was going next week
- Sunak, Mordaunt seen as contenders for top job
- Boris Johnson may be back
- Truss is Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister
LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) – Liz Truss resigned on Thursday as her economic plan damaged the country’s reputation for financial stability and made many poorer , so her tenure was the shortest and most chaotic of any British prime minister.
The Conservative Party, which has a majority in parliament and will not need to hold a national election for two years, will now have until October 10 to elect a new leader. 28 – Britain’s fifth prime minister in six years.
The match could pit former finance minister Rishi Sunak against Penny Mordaunt, but could also see the return of Boris Johnson, who He was ousted in July when ministers resigned en masse to force him out.
Sign up now for free unlimited access to Reuters.com
Seeing another unpopular prime minister deliver a resignation speech in Downing Street – and the start of a new leadership race – underscores how volatile British politics has become since the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Speaking outside her Office 10 door, Truss admitted that she had lost her partisan beliefs and would step down next week. Sterling rose as she spoke.
“I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to inform him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party,” Truss said, her aides and loyal ministers conspicuously absent and her husband only supporting her.
Allied leaders said they would continue to work with her successor and stressed the importance of stability.
Truss was elected in September to lead the Conservative Party, elected by his members rather than the wider electorate, and has the support of only about a third of the party’s MPs.
She had promised tax cuts through borrowing, deregulation, and a sharp turn to the right on cultural and social issues.
But within weeks, she was forced to sack her finance minister and closest political ally Kwasi Kwarteng and abandon almost all economic plans as their massive unfunded tax cuts cost UK borrowing in pounds and cents Costs and mortgage rates soared.
Her and the party’s approval ratings collapsed.
She lost the second of the government’s four most senior ministers on Wednesday, faced laughter as she tried to defend her record to parliament and saw her lawmakers openly debate policy, deepening Westminster of confusion.
New Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt is now racing to find tens of billions of pounds in savings in an attempt to reassure investors and rebuild Britain’s fiscal reputation.
Millions of Britons are battling a cost of living crisis as the economy enters recession and inflation hits its highest level in 40 years.
Hunter, who has excluded himself from the leadership race, is due to submit a new budget on October 18. 31 This could cut spending on public services that are already showing clear signs of strain.
A senior Conservative MP said Sunak and Mordout would be willing to keep Hunt as their finance minister.
Downing Street’s next game
One of the most contentious issues facing the Conservatives is how they elect a new leader after the party’s 170,000 members chose Truss over Westminster’s will to be elected MP. Party groups have been fighting over the direction of the country since the Brexit referendum.
In previous contests, the candidates were whittled down to two through weeks of lawmakers voting, and then the members chose the winner. Many Conservative MPs say this cannot be allowed to happen again.
“Members don’t have a voice and we have to fix this,” one lawmaker said. Asked if the party could rebuild its reputation from this point, he added: “Never in a million years.”
Organisers said any candidate would need the support of 100 lawmakers and if only one passed the threshold by 2pm (1300GMT) on Monday, they would automatically become prime minister. If two candidates remain, party members will get an online vote.
Among those expected to run for the job include former Goldman Sachs analyst Sunak, who became finance minister when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Europe.
While he has been proven right to warn that Truss’ fiscal plan threatens the economy, he remains deeply unhappy with some Conservatives after he helped spark a summer rebellion against Johnson.
Popular former Defense Secretary Penny Mordout is also likely to run, and other possible candidates such as Interior Secretary Sulla Braverman, who resigned on Wednesday, and Trade Secretary Kemi Badnoch are unlikely to receive 100 nominations.
Johnson, who still faces an inquiry into whether he misled parliament after a series of parties with his staff during the COVID-19 lockdown, could also be a candidate.
The face of the Brexit movement in 2016 has been shrouded in politics since he became mayor of London in 2008. He led his party to a landslide victory in the 2019 election but was ousted in July by colleagues disgusted by his actions.
“I hope you enjoy your holiday boss. Time to come back,” tweeted James Dudridge, a Conservative MP, adding “#bringbackboris”.
Polls of party members earlier this week showed Johnson was the most preferred, but betting odds put Sunak ahead of Mordault, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Johnson as the favourite.
Truss will go down in history as the shortest-term prime minister, succeeding George Canning, who held the post for 119 days when he died in 1827.
The main opposition Labour Party and many voters called for a general election.
“She wasn’t voted, of course, the policy decisions she made, no Britons asked for any of that,” Kelly Rogers, 50, told Reuters outside Downing Street. “So (it’s) right that she should go.”
“But again, she’s just a symbol of her party – it’s an absolute mess.”
Sign up now for free unlimited access to Reuters.com
Writing by Kate Holden; Additional reporting by Muvija M, Farouq Suleiman, William James, Sachin Ravikumar, Kylie MacLellan and Reuters TV; Editing by Kathryn Evans
Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.