Liz Truss: Explained
By: Victor Peng
“I recognise however that, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to His Majesty The King to notify him that I am resigning as Leader of the Conservative Party.”
This was British Prime Minister Liz Truss’s address to the public both in person (as follows) and via Twitter last Thursday, October 20.
Official Transcript is Available at
Last Thursday, Prime Minister Liz Truss officially resigned from her position 45 days after entering into office, making her the shortest-served prime minister in British history. Before we tackle the question of what exactly happened, let’s look at what the Prime Minister (PM) of Britain actually does.
According to the BBC, the PM “leads the government and is appointed by the monarch.” This makes them in charge of everything from deciding whether or not to shoot down unidentified aircraft, to things like authorizing the use of the UK’s nuclear weaponry. Each week, the Prime Minister meets with the monarch to give a briefing.
King Charles meets PM Liz Truss for the first of their weekly meetings.
So what exactly was this “mandate” on which PM Liz Truss was elected? She promised to cut taxes and boost the UK’s economy, and she did try:
September 06: Liz Truss is welcomed into her position by Queen Elizabeth, two days before the queen passes away.
September 23: Truss issues £45 billion pounds worth of tax cuts (a decrease in the amount of taxes taken by the government) to try and pull the country out of a recession, dubbed “Trussonomics” by the public.
September 26: The British Pound to USD conversion reaches an all-time low since February 1985, at £1.00 GBP per $1.07 USD. The average since 1985 is £1.00 GBP per $1.56 USD.
This may not seem like much of a difference, but say you had 1,000 GBP. The average conversion would give you $1560, compared to a measly $1070 on September 26th.
October 14: Truss fires Kwasi Kwarteng, her minister of finance, who also is her closest political friend, coworker, and ally.
October 17: Jeremy Hunt is hired as Kwarteng’s replacement (Britain’s fourth finance minister in just three months). He scraps and reverses all of Truss’ and Kwarteng’s plans. The economy slowly restabilizes, and the value of GBP slowly but surely goes back up.
October 19: Truss' Home Secretary Suella Braverman quits Truss’ Cabinet after stating that the politics Truss's is working with is not "real politics". According to Braverman, “The business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes… carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made [mistakes], and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics.”
October 20: Truss resigns from her position as PM. Britain is preparing for its fifth leader in just over slightly six years, and the first prime minister to ever be brought into office by King Charles III. Truss will remain as Prime Minister until either Monday or Friday of the week following her resignation.
Truss Resigns (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-minister-liz-trusss-statement-in-downing-street-20-october-2022)
“[The current state of the UK] is a source of amusement, disbelief, pity, and schadenfreude abroad. Humiliating for a country that has for so long been a model of functioning democracy,” says former British ambassador Peter Westmacott. The situation for Liz Truss and the British Conservative Party doesn’t look too good.
As of this Sunday, the value of £1.00 GBP is $1.13 USD. So what’s next for Liz Truss? She has many options, previously serving many different roles in the UK government including as Minister for Women and Equalities, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and more. Truss also has a career history as an economics director, as well as a management accountant. As for the future of Great Britain, we’ll have to wait until later this week to see.