British Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned after only 45 days in office on October 20 2020, making her the shortest serving officer in that position. As a member of the Conservative Party, Truss took the office after fellow party member Boris Johnson. The preeminent reason for her resignation, which comes just weeks after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, can be chalked up to her economic policy. Moving forward, the British government plans to find her replacement with a record turnaround. Her exit ends one of Britain’s most chaotic Prime Minister terms ever.
Within the last few weeks, Truss was forced to fire her close political ally and finance minister, Kwasi Kwarteng. Minister Kwarteng’s mini-budget upheld Truss’s agenda of unfunded tax cuts, but was unsustainable. When seeing the British plans for the economy, the international economic system reacted by raising the costs of borrowing for Britain. Furthermore, the tax cuts that Kwarteng and Truss wished to put in place were going to be extremely economically risky and widen the income gap to a dangerous degree according to a warning issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Throughout the pressure induced departure of finance minister Kwarteng, Truss’s plans caused the value of the British Pound to plunge, leading to the British economy to be sent into shambles.
Currently, the British economy is heading into a deep recession, evidenced by inflation being at a 40-year high. The British pound has become increasingly weak since Truss’s administration has taken office, sitting at a record low against the US dollar. To fix the damage done by Truss’s administration, newly appointed finance minister Jeremy Hunt is in the process of reversing nearly all of Truss’s policies. Hunt is going to deliver a new budget on October 31st that he hopes will rectify the damage done by the former minister. This proposal will likely cut spending on public services that are already strained.
Following Kwarteng’s removal and Truss’s loss of public support, chaos ensued among government officials in parliament on October 19 as policy fights would not quit on the floor of the government body in Westminster. Among the damages, home secretary Suella Braverman was dismissed by Liz Truss.
To attempt to fix the state of mayhem in the political leadership space in Britain, the Conservative party has told the country that they will find a replacement for Truss as soon as possible. Unlike United States elections, there is a party, not a person, that is elected to hold office. Within the party, there will be candidates put up to replace Truss. If any candidate were able to get 100 lawmakers to name them as the best alternative to take the position of prime minister by 2 PM on October 24, they automatically will be put into power. If not, there will be a vote. Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch, Ben Wallace, and Boris Johnson are all frontrunners.
Up until the mayhem of Truss’s resignation, she promoted far right cultural and political strategies. Truss wanted to return to fundamental Tory (Conservative) values and promoted her ideas of tax cuts and shrinking the state throughout her campaign for Prime Minister. Notably, she was a fervent supporter of the Brexit referendum in 2016. Modeling herself after the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Truss was known for her promotion of free market economics and a critique of politicians who tried to lower the cost of living for working class people. Her path to Prime Minister through the Conservative party was not always so straightforward, as she was a proud Scottish liberal supporter growing up. It was only at the tail end of her time in university that she was moved to conservatism. According to Mark Littlewood, a former Oxford Liberal Democrat member that knew Truss during her college years and is now the director general of the libertarian, free-market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, it was her stance as a fan of the free market and personal freedoms as well as her opposition to large institutions including the government that led her to the Tory party.
Ultimately, Truss’s short tenure as prime minister was impactful both economically and socially, but not for the better. The world is eager to see what the future holds for the Conservative party of Britain and the country’s economy as a whole.