British prime minister Liz Truss has announced her resignation after 44 disastrous days in office, becoming the shortest-serving British prime minister in history.
In a speech outside 10 Downing Street this afternoon, Ms Truss acknowledged she had lost the confidence of Tory MPs and the public.
After crashing the British economy with unaffordable tax breaks designed to further enrich the already rich, her u-turns and flip-flops on her entire policy agenda fatally undermined any credibility she may have had.
A £65 billion pound bailout of pension funds required by collapsing confidence in British government bonds contrasted sharply with a refusal to assist those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
Recent polls showed her to be the most unpopular PM in the history of British polling, with the Tories sinking to a level that endangered its prospect of even returning as the main party of opposition.
Ms Truss spent this morning battling a growing revolt as terrified Tory MPs demanded her resignation.
It followed a calamitous 24 hours for her premiership, which saw the sacking of her Home Secretary after an hour-long shouting match, and a violent melee in the House of Commons as Tory MPs were manhandled to vote in favour of a fracking measure seen by some as a vote of confidence in her leadership.
In her address, Ms Truss said she could no longer deliver the mandate for which she said she was elected leader of the Conservatives by the party membership.
Still defending her far-right economic agenda, she said Britain had been “held back for too long by low economic growth”.
But it appears there will be no rerun of the lengthy and damaging internal competition by which she defeated former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and succeeded Boris Johnson last month.
Speaking in Downing Street, she sais that Tory party chiefs had agreed that “there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week.”
The consequences of the Tory chaos for the north of Ireland are serious. Efforts to resolve the issues of the Irish Protocol of Brexit are likely to be delayed, while the Tories will also be leaderless as they come under pressure from unionists to prevent a Stormont election from going ahead this December.
Following the resignation announcement, British opposition leader Keir Starmer of the Labour Party called for a general election. He said the public deserved better than the Conservatives “revolving door of chaos.”
“The damage they have done will take years to fix,” he said. “Each one of these crises was made in Downing Street but paid for by the British public. Each one has left our country weaker and worse off.
“The Tories cannot respond to their latest shambles by yet again simply clicking their fingers and shuffling the people at the top without the consent of the British people. They do not have a mandate to put the country through yet another experiment; Britain is not their personal fiefdom to run how they wish.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a general election was now a “democratic imperative”
“There are no words to describe this utter shambles adequately,” she wrote.
“It’s beyond hyperbole – and parody. [The] reality though is that ordinary people are paying the price.”