Liz Truss, Britain’s prime minister, resigned on Thursday morning after being in the position for only a little over six weeks. Her brief time as Britain’s head of government came to a close after her planned tax cuts and free-market fiscal policy announcement sank the markets as well as their currency. The British pound had reached a record low compared to the U.S. dollar, according to The New York Times.
“I recognize, though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party,” Truss said in her resignation speech.
The political turmoil follows an already trying period for British citizens, as the population has been dealing with inflation and soaring energy prices due to the war in Ukraine. After the markets crashed, the Bank of England stepped in to calm the markets, a move the institution rarely makes.
In response, Truss was forced to reverse all of her proposed tax cuts this week – including an unpopular cut on high earners – undermining her legitimacy with the British people. In the process, she had fired Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor of the Exchequer, and other cabinet members had resigned.
Now the Conservative Party has set a timeline of about a week to choose a new prime minister, as Truss detailed in her resignation remarks. This will be the second leader of the country who will not be elected by the people, but instead chosen from the inside. The next general election is not scheduled until January 2025 at the latest, according to the New York Times.
Truss’s resignation comes with implications for the Conservative Party, which has been in disarray since the reign of Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Public opinion polls showed that citizens increasingly disapproved of the party’s job, and the tumultuous six weeks of Truss’s leadership sank their approval rating even further.
Johnson, who resigned in July, was elected in 2019 but a series of scandals involving him hosting and attending events during the height of the pandemic drove him to step down. Truss won a leadership contest among members of her party — a group of 160,000 dues-paying members. She was previously the foreign secretary under Johnson’s administration and the first prime minister to serve under King Charles III.
President Biden released a statement on Thursday signaling his continued trust and respect for Britain, one of the U.S.’s closest allies. “The United States and the United Kingdom are strong allies and enduring friends — and that fact will never change,” Biden said in a statement.
As for possible contenders to take the role, the New York Times reported that the candidates include Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor of the Exchequer; Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons; and Ben Wallace, the defense secretary. And according to the New York Times, Johnson is expected to run again.