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February 5, 2023
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Why UK’ Prime Minister Liz Truss has resigned just after 44 days in office

Just 44 days after becoming prime minister, Liz Truss has announced she is to step down.

Until now the shortest-serving PM was George Canning who died in August 1827. He spent only 119 days in office.

Ms Truss succeeded Boris Johnson as PM after winning a clear victory over Rishi Sunak in a ballot of Conservative Party members.

Two days later, Queen Elizabeth II died, the nation entered a period of mourning and normal politics was suspended.

But at the end of the week which began with the late Queen’s funeral, the seeds of Ms Truss’s political demise had already been sown – in then Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget.

It included £45bn of tax cuts, funded by borrowing, which spooked financial markets and prompted a sharp fall in the value of the pound.

The government was soon forced to scrap plans to cut the top rate of income tax, but continuing market turmoil meant the Bank of England had to step in to prop up the value of government bonds.

In the week before Ms Truss announced she was resigning, she sacked Mr Kwarteng – a close friend – and was forced to accept the junking of most of the rest of the mini-budget’s tax cuts along with her overarching economic agenda.

To tackle soaring energy bills, the prime minister had also set out her energy price guarantee, saying households using a typical amount of gas and electricity would pay £2,500 a year.

This expensive guarantee was later scaled back from two years to six months.

Day-by-day, her government’s grip on events disintegrated – and an increasing number of Tory MPs publicly called for her to go.

So where Liz Truss come from and what did made her tick?

A Remain supporter in the 2016 Brexit referendum who reinvented herself as the darling of the Conservative right wing, she began her political journey as a teenage Liberal Democrat activist.

But her promise to return to fundamental Conservative values – cutting taxes and shrinking the state – went down well with Conservative Party members, who chose her over Rishi Sunak in this summer’s leadership ballot.

Crucially, in the eyes of those who thought Boris Johnson had been unfairly ejected from office, she remained loyal to Mr Johnson to the bitter end, as other cabinet minister deserted him.

Liz Truss: The basics

Age: 47

Place of birth: Oxford

Home: London and Norfolk

Education: Roundhay School in Leeds, Oxford University

Family: Married to accountant Hugh O’Leary with two teenage daughters

Parliamentary constituency: South West Norfolk

Source: BBC News

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