Her announcement came after her attempt to roll out aggressive tax cuts aimed at spurring economic growth but which dramatically roiled financial markets, led to unprecedented central bank intervention and drove her poll ratings to the lowest ever recorded for a prime minister.
Truss, 47, lasted 45 days in office. Because Britain elects a party, not a specific leader, she will be replaced by another lawmaker from her ruling Conservative Party. The process to replace Truss will take place within the next week.
Truss will remain as prime minister until then.
“I came into office at a time of great economic and international instability,” Truss said in in a brief statement outside No. 10 Downing Street. “I recognize, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate to which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”
The previous shortest tenure for a British leader was held by Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who served for one year and one day, from 1963 to 1964.
Hunt also failed to make a runoff in the Conservative Party process that selected Truss.
Possible next prime minister
Fives names have already bubbled up to the surface:
The front-runner, according to betting markets and news reports. Sunak, 42, lost out to Truss when she became prime minister on Sept. 6. Sunak was former leader Boris Johnson’s finance minister. Before embarking on a career in politics, Sunak worked for Goldman Sachs and at a hedge fund. He met his wife, the daughter of the co-founder of Infosys, one of India’s largest technology companies, while studying for an MBA at Stanford University. The couple have an estimated wealth of $1 billion, according to The Sunday Times Rich List, an annual gauge of the 1,000 wealthiest people and families resident in the U.K. Sunak served in Johnson’s cabinet as finance minister.
Mordaunt, 49, was once regarded as the most likely lawmaker to succeed Johnson. Mordaunt is currently the leader of the House of Commons. She has been a member of Parliament since 2010 and previously served as trade minister and also had a stint as minister for local government and was the first woman named armed forces minister. Mordaunt was one of the leaders behind the “Brexit” referendum approved by voters in 2016, which led to Britain’s separation from the EU. She is a reservist in the Royal Navy.
Hunt, 55, is another longtime cabinet minister with leadership ambitions. He appears to have already ruled himself out for the prime minister role, but a week has become a long time in British politics lately, so he could find a way to reassert himself in the contest. Tim Bale, politics professor at Queen Mary University of London, described Hunt as the “Mitt Romney of British politics” in 2019, a reference to the Utah senator known for his professionalism and lack of political charisma.
Wallace, 52, is Britain’s current defense secretary and he was won plaudits at home and abroad for his strong support for Ukraine as it fights off a Russian invasion. Wallace supported Truss when she ran for prime minister, which could work against him.
Johnson, 58, only left office himself on Sept. 6, but his name has never been far from the headlines as a possible candidate for a comeback. Johnson is still well liked by Conservative Party members even though he resigned after a series of scandals connected to coronavirus lockdowns and because the public tired of his lies over Brexit. Johnson has been silent on whether he’d take the job again. The Times (of London) is reporting Johnson is considering running in the contest.
- Sir Graham Brady, the leader of the 1922 committee, a group of influential Conservative Party lawmakers who determine party rules, said he expects a new prime minister to be announced by Oct. 28. Truss was selected by ordinary Conservative Party grassroots members, about 81,000 of them. Brady has not yet said whether these same rank and file party members will again vote on who becomes party leader. The contest rules could be changed to include lawmakers.
- Opposition Labor Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for an immediate general election, a scenario that seems unlikely give that the ruling Conservative Party, according to polls, would almost certainly lose any such vote.
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