The news broke earlier today that the next “Iron Lady” of the UK has decided to call it quits after only 45 days.
Liz Truss has made history, though likely not in the way she had hoped. CNBC and the AP report that the British prime minister resigned on Thursday after weeks of upheaval sparked by her economic plan, announced last month and since largely abandoned after it spooked financial markets. What you need to know:
- In making the announcement, she said, “I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected”—just a day prior she had emphasized she was “a fighter and not a quitter.”
- But Truss couldn’t hold on any longer after a senior minister quit her government with a barrage of criticism and a vote over fracking for shale gas—a practice that Truss wanted to resume despite opposition from many Conservatives—descended into chaos and acrimony Wednesday evening in the House of Commons.
- She was appointed prime minister on Sept. 6, making her the shortest-serving PM in modern British history, with just a 45-day tenure, reports the Guardian, though it’ll end up being slightly longer, as the BBC reports she will stay in the post until a new party leader is named and then appointed prime minister by King Charles III. Prior to Truss, George Canning had occupied the shortest-serving slot: He held the job for 119 days in 1827, though he left office for a different reason: death by pneumonia.
- Truss is now the 4th Conservative prime minister to resign since the country voted to leave the EU in 2016, with David Cameron, Theresa May, and Boris Johnson coming before her.
- Truss’ departure leaves a divided Conservative Party seeking a leader who can unify its warring factions. Among potential replacements—if only Conservative lawmakers can agree—are ex-Treasury chief Rishi Sunak (whom Truss defeated to secure the PM job) and House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt. Newly appointed Treasury chief Jeremy Hunt has apparently said he is not in the running.
- A national election doesn’t have to be held until 2024, but the Guardian reports Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, along with opposition leaders, are calling for a general election.
Her quick departure got me to thinking about other “leaders’ that were just in power for a very short time….
- Prime ministers: Truss’ predecessor in the “we hardly knew ye, PM” department was Tory statesman George Canning, who held the office for just 119 days before he died of tuberculosis on Aug. 8, 1827.
- US presidents: The honor here goes to William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia on April 4, 1841, just 31 days after his inauguration. Some speculate that his lack of appropriate outdoor attire during his inaugural address may have contributed to him getting sick.
- Other presidents: Pedro Lascurain has Harrison beat, lasting just 45 minutes or so in the Mexican presidency. Lascurain was effectively just a placeholder during a military coup on Feb. 19, 1913, making way for Gen. Victoriano Huerta after less than an hour.
- Emperors: Michael II of Russia put in a whole 18 hours in mid-March 1917 after the abdication of his brother, Czar Nicholas II, but he was quickly replaced by a provisional government that ended the country’s czarist regime.
- UK monarchs: Elizabeth II may have held the honor of Britain’s longest reign, but Tragic Lady Jane Grey appears at the other end of the spectrum—the 16-year-old queen lasted just nine days before being deposed in 1553.
- Other monarchs: A world record of just 20 minutes on the throne is shared by France’s King Louis XIX, who quickly abdicated in 1830 right after his father did the same, and Portugal’s Luis II, who died not a half-hour after he’d assumed the crown from his father, who was fatally wounded in the same attack on Feb. 1, 1908.
- “Some food in my freezer”: To put Truss’ time in office in context, this decade-old Reddit post outlines things in general that last longer than 45 days. And on Twitter, Anthony Scaramucci—who infamously lasted just 11 days as the White House communications director under former President Donald Trump—posted, “Liz Truss lasted 4.1 Scaramuccis.”
In a way I like the UK government better than ours….why?
At least when the leader is a piece of sh*t they resign for the good of the country. We have to wait for years before we can rid ourselves of crap.
What’s next for the UK?
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”