United Kingdom Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned from her position early October 20, 2022. This caused Truss to hold the title of Prime Minister with the shortest tenure in office at 45 days. Economic difficulties during an already turbulent time have caused enormous turmoil for the Conservative government.
Truss became Prime Minister following Boris Johnson’s resignation. Johnson faced a number of ethics scandals regarding the violation of their own instituted COVID lockdowns amidst an economic crisis. The former PM ended his term with an aggregate approval rating of 25%, with 46% of his Conservative Party disapproving of his job.
Thus, the Conservative Party needed to select a new leader to head the government. Since the UK is a parliamentary democracy, the majority party votes for their country’s head of government instead of the people. As the Conservative Party possesses the majority in Parliament, they voted for Truss as the new PM.
Unfortunately for Truss, voters do not approve of her performance. Not only did she make history with the shortest tenure, but she also had the lowest approval rating of any UK PM. This was largely in part due to her economic plan, which has only worsened an already staggering economy.
Truss is a proponent of trickle-down economics, which is an economic theory that posits wealth from the richest will trickle down and benefit the middle and lower classes. As a result of this, lowering taxes, corporate regulations, and helping the wealthy became a top priority for Truss.
For example, Truss’s Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng instituted a $48 billion tax cut program. However, instead of accommodating for the lack of tax revenue, the government continued to spend money as if the tax cut never occurred. Contrarily, they spent billions. Naturally, this causes some financial difficulties. The British Pound “plummeted”, according to NBC News, directly as a result of her tax policy, and the country suffered from the highest inflation of modern economies. The situation deteriorated so much that the Bank of England urged the government to change its policy.
Economic woes will continue to impact the United Kingdom for some time given the severity of the crisis, and the ruling party will likewise suffer due to poor leadership. Prominent right-wing politician Nigel Farage even stated that, as a result of the situation, “The Conservative Party is dead!”
Many people were rumored to attempt to win leadership of the divided Conservative Party, and by extension the government, such as former Prime Ministers Theresa May and Boris Johnson. However, shortly after these rumors surfaced, Johnson reportedly dropped out of the race, and former Chief of the Treasury Rishi Sunak became the front-runner. If successful, Sunak would become the first non-white head of government in Western Europe, as well as the first to practice a faith other than Christianity.
Surely, this will be a topic of incredible intrigue for the time to come, as the UK’s economic difficulties possess great ramifications for the rest of the industrialized world. The plans set into place by the next government could help repair a staggering party struggling to retain its base, or they could further cement a Labour Party victory when the next election comes.