Liz Truss resigning as British prime minister following weeks of controversy

Click to play video: 'Liz Truss resigns as British prime minister: “I can’t deliver the mandate”'
Liz Truss resigns as British prime minister: “I can’t deliver the mandate”
WATCH: Liz Truss resigns as British prime minister: "I can't deliver the mandate" – Oct 20, 2022

Liz Truss announced her resignation as British prime minister Thursday morning following weeks of controversy over her economic plan.

Truss, who became prime minister just six weeks after being appointed following a Conservative leadership win, announced her departure outside 10 Downing Street to reporters.

A leadership election will be completed within the next week to replace Truss, who has now become the shortest-serving prime minister in British history. George Canning previously held the record, serving 119 days in 1827, until he died.

When announcing her resignation, Truss said she accepted that she could not deliver on the promises she made when she sought the job, and having lost the faith of her party.

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“I came into office at a time of great economic and international instability. Families and businesses were worried about how to pay their bills, (Vladimir) Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine threatens the security of our whole continent and our country has been held back for too long by low economic growth,” she said.

“I was elected by the Conservative Party with a mandate to change this. We delivered on energy bills and on cutting national insurance. And we set out a vision for a low tax, high growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit.

I recognize though, 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.”

Earlier Thursday morning, Truss met with the chairman of Britain’s 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers, which sets the rules for selecting and changing the party’s leader. An ITV journalist reported one member said the odds were “against” Truss on surviving the day as prime minister.

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Truss said she will stay on as prime minister until a new leader is chosen. Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer is calling for a general election to be held, saying “Britain cannot afford the chaos of the Conservatives anymore.”

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Since her economic program was delivered on Sept. 23, Conservative lawmakers have increasingly called on Truss to step down after it sent the pound and government bond markets tumbling.

Click to play video: '‘Lame duck’ PM: British opposition call for general election after Truss U-turn on tax cuts'
‘Lame duck’ PM: British opposition call for general election after Truss U-turn on tax cuts

She replaced her finance minister in favour for former health minister, Jeremy Hunt, in an effort to reset her administration, but on Wednesday, Conservatives turned on each other and another senior minister resigned, leaving Truss’ authority in tatters.

Conservative lawmakers say her most likely successors are either her leadership rival, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, or Penny Mordaunt, who came third in the race to become the next prime minister just six weeks ago, Reuters reports.

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Shortly after the news broke, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters in Brussels it was important Britain finds “stability as soon as possible.”

“We want, above all else, stability,” Macron told reporters as he arrived at a European Union summit.

“On a personal level, I am always sad to see a colleague go.”

In a statement, U.S. President Joe Biden thanked Truss “for her partnership on a range of issues including holding Russia accountable for its war against Ukraine.”

“We will continue our close cooperation with the U.K. government as we work together to meet the global challenges our nations face,” he said.

— with files from Reuters and The Associated Press

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