The Lettuce Won: Truss Steps Down As British PM, Ending Stormy, 45-Day Run
Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Liz Truss, resigned Thursday as British prime minister, ending a stormy, 45-day tenure a fulfilling the predictions of critics who doubted the conservative politician’s leadership from the start.

Truss, who succeeded Boris Johnson on Sept. 6 after defeating Rishi Sunak in the Conservative Party leadership contest, acknowledged that she was not up to the challenges she faced. The U.K. is suffering runaway inflation and staring down a winter with soaring fuel prices.

“I came into office at a time of great economic and international instability,” Truss said in a statement read outside No. 10 Downing Street, where she informed King Charles of her decision. “Families and businesses were worried about how to pay their bills.”

While she claimed to have made inroads on the energy crisis, she acknowledged she “cannot deliver the mandate” for which she was elected.

“I recognize, though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party,” she said. “I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.”

Truss’s brief time in office was dominated by economic chaos and an aborted tax cut proposal. Some Tory MPs had publicly called for her to step down, while others voiced their agreement privately. The Fleet Street tabloid The Daily Star kept tabs on a head of lettuce, asking readers which would “wilt” first, it or Truss.

A new election is expected next week to choose a leader of the ruling Conservative Party. There were early reports that Johnson could return to the role he held from July 2019 until last month. The Telegraph, citing an unnamed Tory member of parliament said lawmakers were talking openly of a “spectacular return” for Johnson.

Truss will remain in office until her successor has been chosen. In addition to the possibility of a comeback by Johnson, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who replaced Kwasi Kwarteng, the author of the scrapped tax cuts, has been mentioned as a possible successor.

It was Kwarteng’s tax cuts, part of a “mini-budget” he announced last month, that led to Truss’s downfall. Kwarteng was fired Friday and replaced by Hunt, who reversed most of the budget proposal, drastically undermining Truss’s authority.

The resignation came just a day after Truss told MPs she was a “fighter, not a quitter.”

President Joe Biden said Truss’s resignation will not affect the alliance between the two countries.

“I thank Prime Minister Liz Truss for her partnership on a range of issues including holding Russia accountable for its war against Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement. “We will continue our close cooperation with the UK government as we work together to meet the global challenges our nations face.”

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