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UK: cornered, Prime Minister Liz Truss throws in the towel and resigns

"Given the situation, I cannot fulfill the mandate for which I was elected by the conservative party.

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UK: cornered, Prime Minister Liz Truss throws in the towel and resigns

"Given the situation, I cannot fulfill the mandate for which I was elected by the conservative party. I therefore spoke to his majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning", declared the leader of 47 years before 10 Downing Street, in a very short speech.

A vote to find him a successor within the Conservative Party will take place "by next week", added the Conservative leader, who therefore throws in the towel and becomes the Prime Minister to have stayed the shortest time in Downing Street. in modern British history, with just 44 days in office.

Still Thursday morning, she seemed to be clinging to power, a spokesperson assuring at midday that she was "working" with her finance minister Jeremy Hunt to prepare their medium-term economic plan, the day after a catastrophic day for her.

But at the end of the morning, she met the deputy at the head of the powerful 1922 Committee in charge of the internal organization of the conservative party (and therefore of a possible replacement procedure), at a time when the conservative leader was struggling with a majority more and more rebellious, the list of parliamentarians asking for his departure lengthening from hour to hour.

"Liz Truss must leave as soon as possible," said former Conservative minister David Frost, who previously supported her ardently, in a column at the Daily Telegraph.

More unpopular than ever in public opinion, without an economic program after the humiliating renunciation of tax cuts and having had to deprive herself of two of her most important ministers, Liz Truss was sure that she wanted to stay in place, her maintenance in Downing Street seemed well compromised.

In the midst of the economic crisis of the cost of living, which sees millions of Britons suffering from inflation, the Conservative Party restarts an internal election to find a new leader - the fifth in six years -, while the previous one has took place this summer, after the resignation of Boris Johnson, against a backdrop of scandals in Downing Street and in the majority.

Who will be the candidates, while for days, several names have been circulating to succeed Liz Truss, such as those of Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt - the minister responsible for relations with Parliament - or even Boris Johnson, the Prime minister she replaced in September.

- General elections "now" -

The Tories have decided to avoid early legislative elections, when the Labor opposition prances ahead in the polls.

After Liz Truss' announcement, their leader Keir Starmer called for a general election to be called "now" and not late 2024 or early 2025 as planned.

The Conservatives "fail in their basic patriotic duty to leave the British out of their pathetic squabbles", he attacked Thursday morning in a speech before the Trades Union Congress (TUC), at a time when many social movements are agitating the country in the face of the cost of living crisis.

For Liz Truss, Wednesday turned into melodrama. Less than a week after the departure of Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng, replaced by Jeremy Hunt, the government's new strongman, it was the very right-wing Interior Minister Suella Braverman who left the government over growing differences with Liz Truss on immigration, according to British media.

She was replaced by Grant Shapps, former transport minister under Boris Johnson, in what was meant to be a gesture of openness towards former opponents of Liz Truss in the Downing Street race, Shapps having supported Rishi Sunak.

The evening was then eventful in Parliament where a vote – won by the government – ​​about the lifting of the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing obviously turned into a rat race between the Conservatives.

Deputies of the majority refused to vote in the direction of the government, in spite of the reprisals to which they expose themselves, Downing Street having expressly asked to respect the instruction of vote.

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