Truss resigns as prime minister

Leadership election will conclude "within the next week"
Truss announced her resignation in a statement outside Downing Street this afternoon. Photo: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

By Adam Payne

20 Oct 2022

Liz Truss has announced that she will resign as prime minister after just 44 days in 10 Downing Street.

Truss announced her resignation outside 10 Downing Street on Thursday afternoon after succumbing to growing pressure from unhappy Conservative MPs.

She said there would be a leadership election, to be concluded "within the next week", during which she will remain as prime minister.

Labour leader Keir Starmer called for a general election, with the Tory party set to choose its third PM this calendar year.

“The British public deserve a proper say on the country's future," Starmer said.

"They must have the chance to compare the Tories’ chaos with Labour’s plans to sort out their mess, grow the economy for working people and rebuild the country for a fairer, greener future. We must have a chance at a fresh start. We need a general election - now."

Truss said she had been elected to deal with the cost of living crisis, defend Ukraine from Russia and kick start national growth but that she no longer had the mandate to do so.

"I recognise given the situation I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I've therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party," she said.

Truss said that this morning she had met with Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, to agree the terms of her departure. 

She also had meetings with deputy prime minister Therese Coffey and Conservative party chairman Jake Berry as it became clear that she no longer commanded the support of Tory MPs.

Truss, who has only been in power for 44 days, has been in a highly precarious position since late last month when her uncosted plans for sweeping tax cuts triggered economic turmoil.

Numerous Tory MPs had publicly called for her to quit and the list was set to grow amid rising anger with her leadership.

The Conservative back bench pressure reached a new high on Wednesday night amid chaotic scenes over a House of Commons vote on fracking and the resignation of Suella Braverman as home secretary.

Truss was chosen by Conservative party members to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative party leader and PM in September, defeating ex-chancellor Rishi Sunak.

While Sunak remains popular with some Tory MPs, it is not clear who will replace Truss due to the division within the Conservative party. Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, has already ruled himself out.

The decision comes after days of chaos in Westminster, with Truss's entire economic agenda shredded by new chancellor Jeremy Hunt following chaos in the UK markets triggered by her government's mini-budget.

On Wednesday, Truss faced another blow after she was forced to sack Suella Braverman as home secretary after she shared official documents using her private email.

And the turmoil continued on Wednesday evening after Labour's attempts to force a vote on fracking in the Commons triggered a major row among Conservative MPs, with allegations of bullying in the voting lobbies, threats to suspend Conservative rebels, and confusion over whether Truss's deputy and chief whips had resigned.

The havoc created anger among Conservative MPs, who ramped up their efforts to remove the PM from Downing Street, with several backbench MPs making public statements criticising her leadership and calling on her to resign.

Adam Payne is a reporter for CSW's sister title PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appeared

Read the most recent articles written by Adam Payne - Government U-turns on scrapping top tax rate after Tory backlash

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