By Pat Gainor, Staff Writer
After just 45 days in office, Liz Truss has resigned as the Prime Minister of the UK in response to Parliament’s criticism of her policies and instability within her own party.
Truss was elected by members of the Conservative Party following the resignation of Boris Johnson, who was pressured into stepping down amid “Partygate” and his handling of the pandemic. Once in office, she quickly began setting forth policies to implement a Thatcherist, low-tax and low-regulation economy. Most notable was a plan to freeze all energy bills, which would last for two years and cost the British Treasury approximately £10 billion.
On Sept. 23, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced a “fiscal event,” which planned the largest tax cuts in 50 years. The cuts reduced income tax in the UK from 45% to 40% and would erase £45 billion of government revenue through 2027.
Neither Kwarteng nor Truss consulted the Office for Budget Responsibility, as the cuts were labeled as a fiscal event and not a budget plan. Shortly following, reports emerged that Truss had also not informed the Bank of England. Chaos ensued, and the value of the Great British Pound (GBP) fell from $1.12 to $1.06, the largest drop since the UK joined Brexit and the lowest total value since 1985.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) immediately called for the reversal of the plan, criticizing the administration’s lack of communication.
“Fiscal policy should not undermine monetary policy because, if it does, the task of monetary policy only becomes harder and it translates into the necessity of even further increases of rates and tightening of financial conditions,” IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva, said. “So don’t prolong the pain.”
Truss stood by the plan for weeks, but on Oct. 14, she announced that she would be abandoning parts of the financial “mini-budget.”
“I do accept we should have laid the ground better, and I’ve learned from that,” the Prime Minister said to the BBC two days following the announcement. “I’ll make sure I’ll do a better job of laying the ground in the future.” That day, she fired Kwasi Kwarteng and institute Jeremy Hunt as the new chancellor.
On Oct. 17, Hunt announced the complete reversal of Truss’ tax plan, including both the tax cuts and the freeze on energy bills. Several UK news sources called it “one of the most astonishing U-turns in modern political history.”
The same day, Suella Braverman resigned as Home Secretary, and several members of the Tory party began to call for a vote of no-confidence to oust her as Prime Minister.
On Oct. 20, Liz Truss announced her resignation.
“I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party,” she said in front of 10 Downing Street before detailing that a general election would take place for her successor.
Truss’ tenure as Prime Minister is the shortest in the history of the UK at just 45 days, and she is the fourth minister in power since the Brexit Referendum in 2016 that withdrew the UK from the EU.
Liz Truss will be succeeded by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, whom Truss defeated in the popular vote to replace Boris Johnson. Sunak, 42, is the youngest Prime Minister to hold office in over 200 years and the first person of color to be Prime Minister in the history of the UK.
Sunak spoke on Monday shortly after he was certified, saying he was “honored and humbled” to hold the position.
“It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to serve the party I love, and to be able to give back to the country I owe so much to,” Sunak said.
“We’ve got news that Rishi Sunak is now the prime minister. he’s expected to become the prime minister I think tomorrow when he goes to see the King. Pretty astounding. A groundbreaking milestone and it matters,” U.S. President Joe Biden said.