UK – Liz Truss has resigned as Britain’s prime minister after a disastrous six-week tenure.
Truss will be the UK’s shortest-serving leader ever, with another Conservative leadership election due to take place within a week.
Her announcement in Downing Street came hours after Suella Braverman, Truss’ home secretary, dramatically resigned with a blistering attack on the PM’s leadership.
Truss fired her finance minister just last week after a disastrous and since-ditched financial plan caused turmoil on the markets.
Joe But den Speaks :
The ongoing political crisis in the UK has generated concerns inside the White House at the potential global economic fallout, people familiar with the situation say.
This concern emerged in US President Joe Biden’s highly unusual criticism of former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s economic plans last weekend,
The statement, made in an Oregon ice cream shop, broke the standard of avoiding discussing other countries’ politics — particularly those of the United States’ top ally.
It reflected a deeply skeptical view of Truss’ policies that had been simmering inside the White House since she took office six weeks ago.
“I wasn’t the only one that thought it was a mistake,” Biden said when asked about her tax plans. “I disagree with the policy, but that’s up to Great Britain.”
White House officials mostly declined to expand on Biden’s comments. But privately , many officials have voiced concerns at the chaos within Britain’s ruling party and the effect that could have on global issues.
The Biden White House shed few tears for Boris Johnson when he resigned and there was a perception that Truss would follow in his policy mold, even as she lacks the personal drama — or charisma — of Boris.
The chaos and economic turmoil that ensued once she took office was eye-opening for many US officials, who viewed the situation cautiously.
Truss’s hardline approach to Brexit also set off relations with Biden on a sour note. The President has taken a personal interest in the particular issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, a post-Brexit arrangement that requires extra checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
The rules were designed to keep the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland open and avoid a return to sectarian violence. But Truss has moved to rewrite those rules, causing deep anxiety in both Brussels and Washington.
Biden, who makes frequent references to his Irish ancestry, has made his views clear on the issue, even though it does not directly involve the United States. Congressional Democrats have similarly voiced concern at any steps that could reignite the Northern Ireland conflict.
In their first phone call as counterparts earlier this month, Biden raised the matter with Truss, according to the White House.
A US readout of their conversation said they discussed a “shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the importance of reaching a negotiated agreement with the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, speaks to the press following the resignation of Liz Truss as Prime Minister on October 20.
A new British prime minister should be in place by Friday October 28, according to the Conservative party official responsible for the process.
Graham Brady, leader of the so-called 1922 Committee, which represents rank-and-file Conservative Members of Parliament, said.
Speaking outside the House of Commons, Brady said further details of the process would be announced later today.
Grassroots Conservative party members will get a say in some form, he added.
“It will be possible to conduct a ballot and conclude a leadership election by Friday 28 October,” Brady told reporters.
That would put a new prime minister in Downing Street ahead of a crucial economic statement by Britain’s finance minister, set for October 31.
Will there be a general election in Britain?
Liz Truss’s resignation has already re-ignited calls for an early general election in Britain.
The opposition Labour Party, which opinion polls put on course for a landslide victory, is leading that charge.
“After 12 years of Tory failure, the British people deserve so much better than this revolving door of chaos,” its leader Keir Starmer said after Truss resigned. “We need a general election, now.”
But a fresh election is no certainty, even as Britain prepares for its fifth leader in just over six years – and its third since the last ballot.
As long as the government can command the confidence of the House of Commons, it can decide when to call an election. For all their turmoil, the Conservatives have a healthy working majority of 71 in Parliament and it’s unlikely their MPs would voluntarily opt for an election that could see them lose their jobs.
Currently, the Conservatives are trailing Labour in opinion polls by virtually historic levels, indicating a near wipe-out for the group.
The next nationwide poll does not need to take place until January 2025 at the latest, and has been generally expected to occur in mid-2024, which is the time of the year that general elections usually take place in Britain.
A government needs Parliament to green-light plans for a new vote, and as soon as that happens, a six-week election campaign period begins.
But the issue of a general election is certain to dominate British politics and dog the new prime minister, given the whirlwind of changes at the heart of government since the last vote.
France wants UK to “find stability as soon as possible,” Macron says
French President Emmanuel Macron called for political stability in Britain after UK Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her resignation Thursday.
“I want to say that France, as a nation and as a people who are friends of the British people, wishes above all for stability in the context that we know, which is a context of war,” Macron told the media while attending an EU summit in Brussels.
“Personally, I am always sad to see a colleague leave, but what I want is to see this stability return as soon as possible,” he added.
Remember: Truss created controversy during the Conservative leadership contest when she said “the jury is still out” when asked whether Macron is a “friend or a foe” of the UK.