British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit on Thursday bowing to the inevitable after a tumultuous term in which her policies triggered turmoil in financial markets and a rebellion in her party that obliterated her authority.
Making a hastily scheduled statement outside her 10 Downing Street office, Truss acknowledged that I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.
She is the third Conservative prime minister to resign in as many years and leaves a divided party seeking a leader who can unify its warring factions. Truss, who said she will remain in office until a replacement is chosen, has been prime minister for just 45 days.
Bitterly divided Conservative Party lawmakers have just a few days to agree on a successor, or face another leadership contest, the third in three years. Potential contenders include former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, who lost to Truss in the last leadership contest, House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and Boris Johnson, the former prime minister ousted in July over a series of ethics scandals.
Truss bowed out just a day after vowing to stay in power, saying she was a fighter and not a quitter. But she couldn’t hold on any longer after a senior minister quit her government with a barrage of criticism and a vote in the House of Commons descended into chaos and acrimony just days after she was forced to abandon many of her economic policies.
Markets breathed a sigh of relief, and the pound rose about 1% to above $1.13 after Truss’ resignation.
A growing number of lawmakers had called for Truss to resign after weeks of turmoil sparked by her Sept. 23 economic plan, which included a raft of tax cuts that spooked financial markets that investors worried Britain couldn’t afford.
That tumult resulted in the replacement of Truss’ Treasury chief, multiple policy U-turns and a breakdown of discipline in the governing Conservative Party.
Where the party goes from here is not clear.
Nobody has a route plan. It’s all sort of hand-to-hand fighting on a day-to-day basis, Conservative lawmaker Simon Hoare told the BBC on Thursday before Truss resigned.
She quit after a meeting with Graham Brady, a senior Conservative lawmaker who oversees leadership challenges. Brady was tasked with assessing whether the prime minister still has the support of Tory members of Parliament.
But by that point, the chorus of voices calling for her ouster was growing.