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Liz Truss resigns as Prime Minister - as clamour for General Election grows amid political chaos

Prime Minister Liz Truss has resigned after just six weeks in office.

A leadership election will take place within the next week.

Ms Truss, 47, took up the post on September 6, but after being forced into a series of U-turns - including scrapping nearly all the measures in a disastrous £45bn tax-cutting mini-budget - the pressure has been mounting inexorably.

Liz Truss has quit as PM. Picture: PA
Liz Truss has quit as PM. Picture: PA

In a short statement outside Downing Street, Ms Truss said she came to office at a time of “great economic and international instability” but added: “I recognise... given the situation I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”

Just a day earlier, Ms Truss had insisted she was a “fighter, not a quitter”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer demanded a General Election “now”.

Cambridge’s Labour MP Daniel Zeichner said: “The resignation today of yet another Conservative Party Prime Minister shows that they have completely lost any mandate to govern. In a democracy, the solution to a problem like this is to go back to the people and let them choose: we must have an election.

“The solution cannot be some back-room stitch-up to try and get the Conservatives through another few weeks - the country cannot afford any more of this or them. There is a very clear Prime Minister in waiting, and that’s Keir Starmer.”

The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter: “There are no words to describe this utter shambles adequately. It’s beyond hyperbole - and parody.”

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, said a leadership election would be concluded by Friday, October 28, before a fiscal statement is due on October 31. Details are to follow, but that could rule out involving members in the process.

Recently-installed Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has confirmed he will not be standing.

Rishi Sunak, who was defeated in the Conservative leadership election earlier this year, is understood to be interested, while Penny Mordaunt could also seek the leadership.

Astonishingly, Peterborough Conservative MP Paul Bristow immediately called for the return of Boris Johnson - the PM ousted by the party earlier this year after a series of scandals and embarrassments over breach of lockdown rules at No 10. The former PM is understood to be considering the idea.

Anthony Browne, Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, said: “The Prime Minister has made the right decision. It must have been very hard, and I respect that she has done what is right for the country and the party. We must choose a new leader quickly and efficiently. Conservative MPs must then unite around the new leader to bring the cool, calm, competent government that the country needs and deserves.”

Pippa Heylings, the Liberal Democrat hoping to oust Mr Browne as MP in South Cambridgeshire at the next General Election, said: “Boris Johnson failed our country and Liz Truss trashed our economy. This is a carousel of chaos. People in South Cambridgeshire do not need another Conservative PM lurching from crisis to crisis. They deserve better than this.

“The Conservative party have proven time and time again they are not fit to lead our country. I wouldn't have said this a couple of weeks ago but what this country needs now is a General Election. We cannot trust the Conservative government to steady the ship. The Tory selection process is like ‘Russian roulette’ for ordinary families and businesses in South Cambridgeshire who are facing rising inflation, uncertainty and the worst cost of living crisis in decades.

“People will not forgive Conservative MPs for propping up PMs who have damaged our economy and who have launched an all-out attack on nature. When that General Election comes, in South Cambridgeshire there will be a choice of four more years of Conservative party chaos, or a hard-working Liberal Democrat MP who puts local people first.”

Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss were key allies. Picture: PA
Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss were key allies. Picture: PA

Ms Truss had sacked her close friend Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor when their uncosted mini-budget sent the pound plummeting and interest rates soaring.

Letters of no confidence began piling up in the Sir Graham Brady’s in-tray.

Yesterday, Suella Braverman sensationally resigned, becoming the shortest serving Home Secretary since the war.

The exact reason for her departure was unclear. Her letter to Ms Truss pointed to a breach of the rules after she accessed confidential emails from a personal phone but sources suggested there had been a blazing 90-minute row between the pair over student visas.

In her resignation letter she made thinly veiled digs at Ms Truss, criticising the direction of the government especially on issues relating to immigration and Channel crossings.

Former transport secretary Grant Shapps replaced her. Less than two weeks ago he'd warned Truss' days were numbered unless she got a grip on the economic situation.

Then, in a farcical vote last night Tory MPs were first told they had to vote against Labour's motion to ban fracking, then that they didn't and then that they did again.

The Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip resigned and then unresigned, the latter allegedly saying: “I am f****** furious and I don't give a f*** anymore.”

Other MPs were reportedly manhandled through the lobby, some in tears. Jacob Rees-Mogg and Thérèse Coffey denied they were involved.

But in the chaos not even Ms Truss voted. She had reportedly chased after Chief Whip Wendy Morton, losing her security guards and her position in the queue in the process.

Liz Truss will be the new PM. Picture: Rob Pinney/PA
Liz Truss will be the new PM. Picture: Rob Pinney/PA

In the aftermath, backbencher of 17 years Charles Walker said: “This is an absolute disgrace. As a Tory MP of 17 years who’s never been a minister, who’s got on with it loyally most of the time, I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I think it is utterly appalling. I’m livid.”

The government actually won the vote by 230 votes to 326.

At lunchtime today, Sir Graham was seen entering Downing Street

After the meeting with Sir Graham, which Ms Coffey and Tory chairman Jake Berry also attended, it was announced a press conference would take place at 1.30pm.

Ms Truss’ statement was brief.

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.

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