London — Liz Truss said Thursday she would resign as UK Prime Minister after a rising chorus of members of her own party called for her to resign. Support for the premiere collapsed spectacularly less than two months into her tenure, with the final straw being a Wednesday night parliamentary vote that plunged into utter chaos, with members of her Conservative party yelling and swearing at each other, some alleged. even that she had been physically abused.
“We have set out a vision for a low-tax, high-growth economy that would benefit from the freedoms of Brexit. However, I recognize that given the situation, I cannot fulfill the mandate for which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to inform him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party,” Truss said outside the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street.
Truss said she would remain in the post of Prime Minister until a new Conservative Party leader was elected. She said there would be a party leadership election within a week, “to ensure we stay on track to implement our fiscal plans and maintain our country’s economic stability and national security.”
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Wednesday’s parliamentary vote, which took place, had initially been billed by conservative party whips as a vote of confidence in government; Conservative MPs were told that if they did not support the government’s stance in favor of fracking, they would be considered rebellious and expelled from the party. It would have put many MPs in the position of being forced to support fracking despite their opposition to the controversial practice.
However, just minutes before the vote, the Truss government said it would no longer be considered a confidence vote. The turnaround led to confusion, which turned into chaos when the Conservative leader, whose authority had been undermined by the late change of plans, reportedly resigned. Hours later, Truss’s office said the whip remained in her work, only adding to party members’ private outrage at the chaos.
One Conservative MP was quoted anonymously by multiple UK news outlets as deriding the debacle as “the most bullying, yelling and screaming” they’d ever seen, while another was heard saying: “I’m fucking furious and I don’t want to don’t care anymore.”
Charles Walker, a senior Conservative Member of Parliament, expressed outrage at a BBC News crew who were covering events in the House of Commons live.
“This whole affair is unforgivable,” Walker told BBC News. “It is a pitiful reflection of the parliamentary Conservative Party at every level, and it is clearly a poor reflection of the government of the time.” Walker added that he did not believe the Truss administration would come out of the chaos.
“I’m furious, and you know I really shouldn’t be saying this, but I hope all those people who put Liz Truss at number 10 – I hope it was worth it. I hope it was worth it for the ministerial red box “I hope it was worth sitting around the cabinet table. Because the damage they have done to our party is extraordinary… I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of talentless people checking their boxes tick the right box – not because it is in the national interest, but because it is in their own interest to attain a ministerial position.”
Earlier on Wednesday, in a major blow to Truss, before the chaotic scenes unfolded in parliament, her Home Secretary Suella Braverman, the minister responsible for immigration and law enforcement, resigned. She resigned after it emerged that she had sent an official document via her personal email account, in violation of government regulations. She apologized for the violation in her resignation letter, but also lashed out at Truss.
“The government trusts people to take responsibility for their mistakes. Pretending we didn’t make mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we made them, and hoping things will magically turn out okay isn’t serious politics. I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility: I resign,” Braverman said. “It is clear to everyone that we are going through a tumultuous time. I am concerned about the direction of this government. Not only have we broken important promises promised to our voters, but I have been deeply concerned about this administration’s commitment to deliver on the manifesto’s commitments.”
But as more and more Conservative MPs take theiron Thursday it remained unclear how that could happen. Truss, for her part, has given no indication that she would be willing to resign, calling herself “a fighter, not a quitter”.
According to the rules of the Conservative Party, there cannot be a new vote of no confidence in a prime minister within a year. That process – by which the party internally elects a new prime minister – is whatabout six weeks ago, after amid a series of scandals. Party members can change those rules, however.
In the UK, general elections must be held at least every five years. They are planned by the government in power. Although the deadline for the next election is January 2025, one can be called up at any time during the interim period.
Truss and the Conservative Party are voting at historic lows against the opposition Labor Party, meaning the Conservative government – under Truss or anyone tapped by the party to replace her – will be extremely reluctant to call a general election now to write.
Members of the Labor party have been demanding new elections for weeks, eager to take advantage of the chaos gripping their opponents and take over the British government for the first time in more than a decade.
Those calls will in no way be silenced, even if the Conservatives decide to start up Truss and hold another leadership contest.