As we reported on Thursday, in a shock announcement after just 44 days in office, British Prime Minister Liz Truss said that she was stepping down from 10 Downing Street, stating she did not have a mandate to push through her party’s proposed tax cut. As this happened, members of her own party were vocal about their anger over her inability to use the bully pulpit to sway Britons to back the Government’s policies to fight inflation, stave off a recession, and reassure investors about a plummeting British pound. At less than six weeks, this was the shortest tenure of any British prime minister in history.
But as my colleague Joe Cunningham wrote in his piece, Truss’ exit leaves a void in the power structure:
She announced that she is resigning as leader of the Conservative Party and will stay on as prime minister until her successor has been chosen, at which time she will step down.
The question is: what happens next? On Friday, the Conservatives announced Friday that the new race for its leader had begun; members would choose a new Prime Minister in less than a week.
Briefly, members signal their vote for any candidate that stands for the leader position; the “first-past-the-post” to receive 100 votes becomes the new leader-and prime minister.
Given the short time frame on such a major decision, there might not be as many contenders as you might expect. And although he hasn’t placed his name on the ballot yet, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s name is swirling around as a possibility.
There’s good news and bad news here. The process includes several rounds of voting, so someone will eventually get the needed votes and become prime minister. The bad news is that if that person, like Liz Truss before them, cannot survive a vote of no confidence by members, the party will be forced to face the voters again in a general election-a prospect that could spell catastrophe for the Right there.