British Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced her resignation just 45 days into her premiership, putting her on track to become the shortest-serving prime minister in the nation’s history.
Truss’ resignation came one day after she vowed she was “a fighter and not a quitter,” and amid an increasing chorus of voices calling on her to step down.
Outside No.10 Downing on Thursday, she informed her constituents that she had notified King Charles III of her intent to step down, and would continue her duties for a few more days until a new Conservative Party leader is chosen.
Truss, 47, was selected in September to replace former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who agreed to step down as the British prime minister two months prior. Johnson, who was elected prime minister in July 2019, had a tenure mired with scandal.
Truss’ appointment made her the third and youngest woman to serve as prime minister, behind Margaret Thatcher (1979–1990) and Theresa May (2016–2019). Her margin of victory was slimmer than many expected, as she won just 57% of the votes of Conservative Party members to become its leader.
She previously served as Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and Minister for Women and Equalities since 2019. Rob Pinney/Getty
Truss was immediately thrust into the spotlight with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, which occurred just two days after the monarch formally appointed the prime minister to the role at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
But once the Queen’s funeral processions ended, voters turned on Truss, with critics arguing she wasn’t doing enough to thwart a financial crisis.
Truss faced low approval ratings after the British government announced tax cuts that would largely favor the wealthy — an announcement that caused the value of the pound to plunge while borrowing costs spiked.
As the economy suffered, Truss’ finance minister announced that the government would abandon the tax plan altogether, but some argued the Conservatives’ power was abandoned with it.
“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 is being held back for too long by low economic growth,” Truss said in her resignation speech.
“I was elected by the Conservative Party with a mandate to change this. We delivered on energy bills and on cutting National Insurance. We set out a vision for a low-tax, high-growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit,” she added. “I recognize that though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”
A leadership election to find her successor will be completed within the next week, Truss said, to “ensure that we remain on a path to deliver our fiscal plans and maintain our country’s economic stability and national security.”
As The Economist put it, Truss’ popularity after coming to office didn’t last long, equating to “roughly the shelf-life of a lettuce.”