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Live: Tories to choose next prime minister within a week as Liz Truss resigns

Though she insisted on Wednesday she is a ‘fighter, not a quitter’, a growing number of her MPs had said it was time for Ms Truss to go.

20 October 2022

After just weeks in the top job, Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced she will resign as Prime Minister.

Though she insisted on Wednesday she is a “fighter, not a quitter”, a growing number of her MPs had said she should reconsider her stance – after a series of humiliating U-turns already.

Earlier, Downing Street sources said Ms Truss invited Sir Graham Brady, the powerful chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers, to 10 Downing Street for a hastily arranged meeting.

2.04pm

Yields on gilts – UK government bonds – have eased slightly in response to Ms Liz Truss’s decision to resign.

UK 30-year gilt yields, which fall as price improve, fell back by 0.44% to 3.86% on Thursday.

Yields had dropped even further shortly before the Prime Minister’s statement at 1.30pm but sprang back slightly.

2.01pm

Journalist and author Otto English says Ms Truss’s premiership “was a week shorter than the Conservative party leadership contest”.

1.58pm

Reacting to Ms Truss’s resignation, shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry told the PA news agency: “We should have a general election – it is the only thing that we should have.

“They can’t patch this up, they have caused a crisis.

“This crisis was made in Downing Street, working people are paying the price and we need a government that people can trust.

POLITICS Tory
(PA Graphics)

“The only way we’re going to get any order or sense is to have a Labour government.

“We should have a general election, let the people choose.”

1.57pm

Politician-turned-political commentator Nigel Farage said in a tweet: “So that’s it. After 45 days as PM, Truss goes. The replacement will be a stich (sic) up by Tory MPs. The party is now Labour-lite and serves no purpose.”

1.56pm

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price and Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said in a joint statement: “This chaotic circus is proof once and for all that Westminster will never work for Wales.

“Only Plaid Cymru can offer the communities of Wales a better future.

“Another prime minister gone but there is still no recognition that it’s not the individuals in Downing Street that’s the problem, but the fundamental contradictions within the Tory party as a whole.

“Brexit lies created a vacuum of accountability in Westminster – and allowed talentless zealots to seize the reins of power without an inkling how to use them.

Liz Truss, with her husband Hugh O’Leary, making a statement outside 10 Downing Street
Liz Truss, with her husband Hugh O’Leary, making a statement outside 10 Downing Street (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“People in Wales are looking aghast at the chaos after being lectured for years that we need Westminster to survive.

“We urgently need a General Election so that the people of Wales can reject this Westminster chaos at the ballot box.

“There is a duty now on Welsh Conservative MPs to recognise that their Government’s time is up. Unless they do so, this disgraceful chaos will drag on indefinitely.”

1.56pm

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt said she will “keep calm and carry on” and encouraged others to do the same.

Asked in the Commons about Ms Truss’s resignation and the state of the Government, Ms Mordaunt said: “I am going to keep calm and carry on – and I would suggest everyone else do the same.”

Tory turmoil
Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt (PA)

1.54pm

The pound has lifted on the announcement that Ms Truss is stepping down following a volatile past 24 hours for the currency amid political turmoil.

Sterling shot up to 1.13 US dollars before the speech as markets anticipated that Ms Truss would resign, before paring back gains slightly to stand 0.4% higher at 1.126 US dollars after her resignation statement.

Meanwhile, allies of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said he would not be standing for the Tory leadership.

1.53pm

Ms Truss will be the shortest serving prime minister in British history.

She has currently clocked up 44 full days in the role – a long way behind the next shortest premiership, that of Tory statesman George Canning, who spent 118 full days as PM in 1827 before dying in office from ill health.

Ms Truss was to have overtaken this number of days on January 3 2023.

But instead she will fall short by more than two months, with the next prime minister due to be elected within the next week.

1.52pm

The calls for a general election are quickly becoming a chorus – from opposition parties at least.

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a general election was a “democratic imperative” after the resignation of the Prime Minister.

“There are no words to describe this utter shambles adequately,” the First Minister said on Twitter.

“It’s beyond hyperbole – & parody. Reality tho is that ordinary people are paying the price.

“The interests of the Tory party should concern no-one right now.

“A general election is now a democratic imperative.”

1.51pm

Sir Keir Starmer wants an immediate general election.

The Labour leader said: “The Conservative Party has shown it no longer has a mandate to govern.

“After 12 years of Tory failure, the British people deserve so much better than this revolving door of chaos. In the last few years, the Tories have set record-high taxation, trashed our institutions and created a cost-of-living crisis. Now, they have crashed the economy so badly that people are facing £500 a month extra on their mortgages. The damage they have done will take years to fix.

“Each one of these crises was made in Downing Street but paid for by the British public. Each one has left our country weaker and worse off.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer addresses delegates at the annual TUC congress in Brighton
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer addresses delegates at the annual TUC congress in Brighton (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“The Tories cannot respond to their latest shambles by yet again simply clicking their fingers and shuffling the people at the top without the consent of the British people. They do not have a mandate to put the country through yet another experiment; Britain is not their personal fiefdom to run how they wish.

“The British public deserve a proper say on the country’s future. They must have the chance to compare the Tories’ chaos with Labour’s plans to sort out their mess, grow the economy for working people and rebuild the country for a fairer, greener future. We must have a chance at a fresh start. We need a general election – now.”

1.49pm

Ms Truss said she was elected by the Conservative Party with a mandate to change the situation facing the UK.

“We delivered on energy bills and on cutting national insurance.

“We set out a vision for a low-tax, high-growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit.”

But she said the situation had prevented her from delivering on that mandate.

Liz Truss making a statement outside 10 Downing Street
Liz Truss making a statement outside 10 Downing Street (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

1.48pm

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has also called for a general election.

“We don’t need another Conservative Prime Minister lurching from crisis to crisis,” he tweeted.

“We need a General Election now and the Conservatives out of power.”

Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey
Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey (PA)

1.46pm

Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell has also called for a general election.

He tweeted: “The clowns and charlatans who gave us Johnson and Truss cannot be allowed to choose the next one. General Election now”

1.43pm

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, has tweeted: “It was inevitable Liz Truss would have to go after all the damage she’s inflicted – but merely swapping leaders of a broken and chaotic Tory government is not enough.

“There must now be a general election. People will accept nothing less.”

He added: “The UK is in a state of constant crisis and long-term decline.

With all the Westminster parties signed up to the economic pain of a hard Brexit and austerity cuts, it’s clear independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe and escape Westminster control for good.”

1.41pm

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has demanded a general election “now” after Ms Truss announced her resignation.

1.40pm

Ms Truss says there will be a leadership election to replace her “to be delivered within the next week”.

Liz Truss
(PA)

1.39pm

Liz Truss has announced she will resign as Prime Minister.

1.28pm

More than a dozen Conservative MPs have now called for Liz Truss to resign.

Thursday saw nine Tories – including some who supported Ms Truss for the party leadership – add their voices to calls for the Prime Minister to step down.

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