The End of Liz Truss’s Premiership Shows the Conservative Party Must Change

Daniel Perodin, Staff Writer

On Oct. 20, Liz Truss resigned from her role as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, ending a turbulent administration while simultaneously becoming another name on the list of failed Conservative Prime Ministers. Truss’ successor Rishi Sunak seems to have quieted the controversy surrounding the Boris Johnson and Truss administrations, but only time will tell if he can face the multitude of issues the U.K. is currently facing. The question also remains if he can lead the Conservative party to success in the next general election. 

The underlying problem with the Conservative party goes back to 2019 under the leadership of Theresa May. Many within the party became discontent with the way May handled Brexit, and held a vote of no confidence against her. May survived the vote, but with 37% of Conservative members of Parliament voting against her, her power was greatly diminished. May ultimately resigned later that year.

Her replacement was Johnson, the former Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary. When Covid-19 hit the U.K., Johnson implemented strict lockdowns to reduce the spread of the virus. While the common people suffered in isolation, Prime Minister Johnson held parties in Number 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the U.K. Prime Minister. The scandal, known as “Partygate,” led to Johnson being fined by the police for violating his own Covid-19 laws. That, among various other scandals, led to mass resignations from Johnson’s government, and a no-confidence vote which he survived. Eventually, Johnson followed in the footsteps of his predecessor and resigned on July 7th.

Then followed Truss. Truss beat Sunak in the Conservative party leadership race back in September Strife within the party, an energy crisis, and inflation were among the issues Truss faced. Her response was to propose a budget that cut taxes and relied heavily on principles of trickle-down economics —- the idea that if the richest part of society is not taxed, their money will be spent on creating economic growth and jobs for the rest of society. From the beginning, investors were skeptical of this plan, but the Truss Administration stuck with it. As a result, the British pound fell to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar, and Truss’ Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) resigned. In the end, Truss also stepped down, becoming the third U.K. Prime Minister in a row to do so, while also becoming the shortest serving Prime Minister in the nation’s history — holding the office for only 44 days. 

From the ashes emerged Sunak. Coming back after his loss to Truss in September, he is the third Prime Minister the U.K. has had this year. He is also the third Prime Minister in a row to step into office since the last general election in 2019. Many in the U.K. feel that it is time for another vote, with 59% of people saying that Sunak should hold elections. Sunak’s cabinet appointments also show the turmoil that still engulfs the party, having reappointed an interior minister who breached email security rules and another cabinet member who allegedly bullied members of parliament and other civil servants

Whatever the case, the British people have endured the instability of the Conservative party for a long time. It is time for the Conservative party to get it together or be voted out of the majority; the choice is theirs.