UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has resigned after just 45 days in office. Speaking outside No 10 Downing Street on Thursday, October 20, Truss stated that she could not deliver the mandate on which she was elected leader of the Conservative Party.
Truss added that the Tories would hold a fresh leadership election within the next week, and that she would remain Prime Minister till then. The resignation is the latest in a protracted political crisis for the ruling Conservatives, even as millions across the country are reeling under a severe cost-of-living crisis.
Thursday’s announcement came six days after Truss sacked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng. The first signs of trouble emerged after Kwarteng unveiled the government’s “mini-Budget” on September 23, containing £45 billion in unfunded tax cuts for the rich.
The Truss-led government’s plans also included legislation to stop “militant trade unions” from shutting down infrastructure such as transport during strikes, and requiring unions to put pay offers to a member vote “to ensure that strikes can only be called once negotiations have genuinely broken down”.
BREAKING 🚨 | The government has published legislation to restrict the right to strike in the transport sector.
We will oppose these proposals every step of the way.
— Trades Union Congress (@The_TUC) October 20, 2022
Caps on bankers’ bonuses and a scheduled increase in corporation tax were scrapped, while changes to the social security system were announced, with cuts in the benefits of unemployed people if they did not fulfill their job search commitments.
The announcement was vehemently condemned by unions, with the Trade Union Congress calling it “Robin Hood in reverse”.
The budget triggered a major economic crisis and the British pound plummeted to its lowest value in nearly 40 years. Mortgage rates also rose sharply.
Just days later, the government was forced to renege on major parts of its plans, including the scrapping of the 45% income tax rate for highest earners.
Truss removed Kwarteng from office on October 14, replacing him with former foreign secretary and health secretary, Jeremy Hunt. On October 17, the new chancellor announced a near total rollback of the mini-Budget, including the tax cuts as well as the plan to cap energy prices.
As Liz Truss sacks Kwasi Kwarteng for implementing her own economic policies, millions of people are still waiting for a plan to tackle the cost-of-living emergency.
It doesn't matter how many Chancellors they get through, this Tory government is rotten to its very core.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 14, 2022
As the situation spiraled, on October 19, Home Secretary Suella Braverman was forced to resign after she sent an official document to an MP through her personal email account, violating established rules.
In her statement, Braverman stated that she had “concerns about the direction of this government. Not only have broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this government’s commitment to honoring manifesto commitments.”
Braverman spent her brief 43-day tenure advancing widely condemned policies targeting the rights of asylum seekers, activists, and workers.
Truss stepped down a day after declaring to Parliament that she was a “fighter, not a quitter” amid calls for her to resign from opposition MPs. As Labour Party leader Keir Starmer read out a list of the proposals the government was forced to withdraw, MPs could be heard saying “Gone!”
Liz Truss's promises barely last a week.
Her credibility is gone and the Tory party is imploding.
Labour is ready to offer the stability, leadership and vision Britain needs. pic.twitter.com/lxyEMrvadj
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) October 19, 2022
As the Tory Party is set to select the UK’s third prime minister of the year, the Labour Party has echoed calls for a general election to put an end to years of austerity and harmful policies.
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the consumer price index hit 10.1% September, the highest increase in four decades. Food prices witnessed an increase of 14.5% over the last year and utility and housing costs also shot up by over 20%.
Liz Truss going is not enough.
Austerity must go.
Poverty wages must go.
Foodbank queues must go.
Cold homes in winter must go.
A new suit in Downing Street means nothing to our people.
Fix the society you have broken – or get out of the way.#EnoughIsEnough
— Enough is Enough (@eiecampaign) October 20, 2022
“The debacle of Liz Truss’ short-lived premiership is a symptom of a broken economic system and a trashed democracy,” said prominent Labour MP and former party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“We will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis– and ordinary people will pay the price– until we finally build a society for the many, not the few,” he added.
The Communist Party of Britain declared, “Whoever is Tory prime minister, the ruling class agenda will remain the same unless we fight to change it.” It added that people in the UK were facing “months if not years of falling living standards, rising poverty, more homelessness, anti-trade union laws, racist scapegoating, deep public spending cuts and jingoistic militarism”.
The Party has called for a “united politicized labor movement” for a left-wing program that can set a new course “towards prosperity, social justice and peace.”