The Downfall Of Liz Truss: The Key Moments That Led To Her Resignation

From the disastrous mini-budget to chaos in the Commons, Truss's 44 days as prime minister have been colourful to say the least.
Liz Truss has resigned as prime minister after just 44 days in the job.
Liz Truss has resigned as prime minister after just 44 days in the job.
Getty Images

Liz Truss’s tenure as prime minister will certainly make the history books — but what a sorry chapter it will be.

After just 44 days in office, Truss has officially become the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history, overtaking George Canning who lasted 119 days before he died of tuberculosis in 1827.

Truss, a libertarian free-marketeer and long-serving Cabinet minister, came to power ready to define herself following the volatile premiership of Boris Johnson.

However, her big economic strategy plunged her leadership into crisis as it spooked the markets and sent the pound plummeting.

Here HuffPost UK takes a look through the key moments that led to Truss’s downfall.

Budget Bedlam

The first sign that Truss’s premiership was going to be rocky came when the markets responded to the mini-budget on September 23.

The £45billion worth of unfunded tax cuts spooked the markets so much that the pound dropped to an all-time low, the Bank of England was forced to intervene to prop up the economy and mortgage rates went through the roof, cancelling out any potential benefit of the PM’s energy support package.

The prime minister attempted to ride the storm, arguing in her conference speech that “wherever there is change, there is disruption”.

But by then she had already been forced to abandon the most controversial element of the budget, the decision to axe the 45p top rate of tax for the country’s top earners.

The Bank of England was forced to intervene in response to the mini budget.
The Bank of England was forced to intervene in response to the mini budget.
Richard Baker via Getty Images

Not long after, she was also forced to abandon her planned freeze in corporation tax.

Exit Kwasi Kwarteng

With the markets still punishing the government for its mini-budget and with many Tory MPs pointing the finger at her chancellor, Truss took the decision to sack Kwarteng, her longstanding friend and political ally, on October 14.

Kwarteng’s sacking highlighted the divisions in the Conservative party. Some colleagues accused Truss of throwing her chancellor “under a bus” to save her own skin. However, with Kwarteng gone, the spotlight was left firmly on Truss.

That same day, the PM held a Downing Street press conference that was meant to reassure the public and project confidence to the media.

It had the opposite effect. “How come you get to stay?” one journalist asked.

Enter Jeremy Hunt

With the departure of Kwarteng came the unravelling of the entire economic vision for the UK that they shared.

Bringing in Jeremy Hunt, a cautious Remainer, to steer the country’s finances was as clear a sign that Truss’s approach had failed.

Hunt junked nearly all of the pledges that had catapulted Truss to victory in the Tory leadership election.

Gone was the pledge to cut the basic rate of income tax to 19p; gone was two-years’ worth of support for household energy bills, and gone was the pledge not to cut public spending.

The tax-free giveaways promised by Truss morphed into the opposite: warnings that taxes would in fact have to go up.

At an appearance in the Commons later that day, it was clear that Truss was no longer in charge.

Jeremy Hunt delivered a statement to MPs that made it clear that Liz Truss was no longer in the driving seat.
Jeremy Hunt delivered a statement to MPs that made it clear that Liz Truss was no longer in the driving seat.
House of Commons - PA Images via Getty Images

Calls For Truss To Quit Intensify

Increasingly exasperated Tory MPs began to question whether Truss had any mandate to govern given that the policies she stood on had all been abandoned.

Crispin Blunt was the first Tory MP to break cover, telling Truss that the “game is up” and that the chaos “cannot and should not continue”.

Doubts over her future were accompanied by polls showing that, with a net favourability of -70, Truss was now nearly as unpopular with the public as Prince Andrew.

Suella Braverman Quits

In a shock announcement on Wednesday afternoon, leadership rival Suella Braverman quit her role as home secretary with a withering attack on Truss.

Braverman said she quit after she broke security rules by sending an official government document from her personal phone.

In her resignation letter she did not hesitate to contrast her behaviour with that of the prime minister’s.

“I have made a mistake, I accept responsibility; I resign,” she said pointedly.

“Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see we have made them and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics.”

Braverman’s sacking came just hours after Truss suspended one of her most senior advisers, Jason Stein, following a series of “unacceptable” briefings.

Stein, the acting head of political communications in No.10, is set to be investigated by the Cabinet Office’s propriety and ethics team after source quotes emerged in the Sunday Times stating that former cabinet minister Sajid Javid had not been considered to replace Kwarteng because he was “shit”.

Suella Braverman criticised the direction of the government when she resigned as home secretary.
Suella Braverman criticised the direction of the government when she resigned as home secretary.
ADRIAN DENNIS via Getty Images

Stein’s departure was another blow to her authority and fuelled the perception that she did not have a grip on the operations out of No.10.

Commons Chaos

The Labour party seized an opportunity to capitalise on the chaos surrounding the government, tabling a motion that would have forced a vote on a bill to ban fracking — a highly contentious subject in the Tory party.

There was confusion over the importance of the vote, with the Tory whips initially stating that the legislation would be treated as a “confidence motion” in Truss — with a failure back the government resulting in the whip being withdrawn.

However, climate minister Graham Stuart caused confusion when he said at the despatch box: “Quite clearly this is not a confidence vote.”

The miscommunication resulted in farcical scenes as Conservative MPs did not know whether the vote was a “confidence” matter or a free vote.

Eyewitnesses complained of “bullying” and intimidation in order to pressure MPs to vote with the government.

A furious Charles Walker, the Tory MP for Broxbourne, told the BBC: “To be perfectly honest, this whole affair is inexcusable.

“This is an absolute disgrace, as a Tory MP of 17 years who’s never been a minister, who’s got on with it loyally most of the time, I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I think it is utterly appalling. I’m livid.”

The chaotic scenes captured the lack of discipline and purpose to the Truss government and ultimately proved to be the final nail in the coffin.

It put the prime minister on her final collision course with MPs before she recognised herself that the game was up.


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