Liz Truss has announced she will be the shortest-serving UK prime minister in history:
Liz Truss has resigned as prime minister and will step down after a week-long emergency contest to find her successor, she has announced outside Downing Street.
It follows a turbulent 45 days in office during which Truss’s mini-budget crashed the markets, she lost two key ministers and shed the confidence of almost all her own MPs.
Truss said she had entered office with “a vision for a low-tax, high-growth economy that would take advantage of the freedoms of Brexit”.
She went on: “I recognise that, 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."
Opposition parties called for an immediate general election, saying the Conservatives had no mandate to govern.
Keir Starmer said: “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 a 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.”
The Economist says "Welcome to Britaly:"
The comparison between the two countries is inexact. Between 2009 and 2019 Britain’s productivity growth rate was the second-slowest in the g7, but Italy’s was far worse. Britain is younger and has a more competitive economy. Italy’s problems stem, in part, from being inside the European club; Britain’s, in part, from being outside.
But if Britaly is not a statistical truth, it captures something real. Britain has moved much closer to Italy in recent years in three ways.
First, and most obviously, the political instability that used to mark Italy out has fully infected Britain. Since the end of the coalition government in May 2015, Britain has had four prime ministers (David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Ms Truss), as has Italy. The countries are likely to stay in lockstep in the near future.
Holding elections has not resolved Italy’s problems. But there is reason to feel more hopeful about Britain, where political instability is now a one-party disease. The Tories have become nigh-on ungovernable, due to the corrosion from Brexit and the sheer exhaustion of 12 years in power. Ms Truss is right to identify growth as Britain’s biggest problem. Yet growth depends not on fantastical plans and big bangs, but on stable government, thoughtful policy and political unity. In their current incarnation the Tories cannot provide it.
Forget a Tory leadership contest; Truss needs to call an election on her way out. This shows the strength (and the weakness) of the parliamentary system. When they get the worst leader in the history of the country, who took over from the second-worst leader in the history of the country, they can change course immediately without waiting until a fixed point in the future. But will they?