How it got worse for Liz Truss as British Prime Minister




CNN

When she took the keys to 10 Downing Street in the wake of Boris Johnson’s political demise, Liz Truss promised to “weather the storms” of Britain’s economic crisis. A little over six weeks later, he was swallowed up by a hurricane of his own making.

It was a humiliating end to a calamitous premiership marked by failed economic policies and a deeply divided governing party.

How did it come to this? Here are the highlights – and lowlights – of Truss’s tenure as Britain’s shortest prime minister.

Truss has been named the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest on September 5, after his predecessor, Boris Johnson, was forced to resign following a series of ethics scandals.

Ads are not good. The country is reeling from a bruised economy, a spiraling cost of living crisis and crumbling healthcare. Truss, who served as foreign secretary in Johnson’s government, faces major diplomatic challenges over Russia’s war on Ukraine.

In his first speech as Prime Minister in Downing Street on 6 September, he told the country that “together we can weather the storm”.

He says his priorities were tackling rising energy prices, improving the UK’s energy security and fixing the National Health Service.

Truss’s prime minister Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96, plunging the country into national mourning.

Truss pays tribute to the Queen as a symbol of the stability she ruled through crises, tragedies, political scandals, pandemics and recessions.

“Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built,” says the new prime minister. “Our country has grown and flourished under his reign.”

Liz Truss speaks at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in London.

The mourning period gives Truss a breather, a chance to take a break from the marathon leadership campaign that lasted all summer.

There is also hope that the moment will encourage a new and unifying approach to political debate, regardless of people’s personal politics.

That doesn’t last.

It is Truss’s first major move as Prime Minister. His finance minister and close political friend, Kwasi Kwarteng, is presenting a sweeping plan to lift the country out of recession, including tax cuts that will finance higher government borrowing.

The plan is a huge gamble: the biggest tax cuts in 50 years, with no clear plan to pay for them. Normally, the UK’s large fiscal situation is independently audited by the Office for Budget Responsibility. But Kwarteng says there was no time for such an audit, a move that stunned financial markets and plunged the pound.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng a

The prime minister has since defended his government’s controversial tax cuts in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

By cutting taxes, he says his government is “encouraging businesses to invest” and we’re also helping ordinary people with their taxes.

Bond prices subsequently fall, raising borrowing costs, sparking a meltdown in the mortgage market and driving pension funds into insolvency.

Economic turmoil and the prospect of higher mortgage rates are forcing Truss to scale back key components of his financial plan.

After rejecting a plan to cut the top rate, he sacked Kwarteng in October in a desperate attempt to save his position.

“It was true that, in the face of the problems we had, I acted decisively to ensure that we had financial stability,” says Truss.

In a letter Posted on TwitterKwarteng says he agreed to resign at Truss’ behest.

Truss has appointed former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt to replace Kwarteng, making him Britain’s fourth Chancellor of the Exchequer in just over three months.

Just three days into the job, Hunt says he will scrap “virtually all” of the tax measures announced by his predecessor in a bid to calm jittery markets and restore the government’s credibility.

The proposed cut in the basic rate of income tax from April 2023 is delayed “indefinitely”. And while the government says it will guarantee energy prices for households and businesses this winter, it won’t commit to cutting prices beyond next spring.

The move represents the destruction of Truss’s flagship ‘growth plan’ and leaves him in a dangerous political position.

While investors are showing support for Hunt’s new plan, the opposition Labor Party is not appeased.

“Every statement from the chancellor underlines that the damage has been done,” Rachel Reeves MP. the tweets.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has announced her resignation from Truss’s cabinet amid chaos and “bullying” in the parliamentary vote on the same day.

Braverman says he resigned as Home Secretary over his use of a personal email address which breached ministerial rules, but he also launches a mild criticism of Truss’s leadership in his resignation letter.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman was forced to resign from Truss's cabinet.

“The business of government is about people accepting responsibility for their mistakes. Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, pretending everyone doesn’t see we’ve made them, and hoping things will magically work out is not serious politics,” Braverman wrote.

There were also allegations on Wednesday that some Conservative MPs were physically dragged with the government over a ban on shale gas fracking.

Politicians later took to Twitter to share scenes of furious shouting and fighting in parliament.

After a chaotic six weeks in Downing Street, Truss has announced his resignation.

“I recognize that given the situation I cannot fulfill the mandate for which I was elected by the Conservative Party,” he says.

Truss says he has submitted his resignation to the King, and a leadership election will be held in a week. He will be the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom until his successor is chosen.

His swift exit as prime minister prompts calls for an early general election in Britain.

“After 12 years of Tory failure, the British people deserve much better than this revolving door of chaos,” said Labour’s Keir Starmer after announcing Truss would resign. “We need general elections now.”

But new elections are not certain until 2025, even as Britain prepares for its fifth leader in just over six years, and the third since the last vote.