Following the departure of the UK’s shortest serving Prime Minister - what's next?
By Keisha Bullock-Singh
At 1.30pm today Prime Minister Liz Truss gave a brief statement at Downing Street where she announced her resignation, stating her inability to “deliver the mandate on which [she] was elected by the Conservative Party” as the reason for her departure. With only 45 days in office, Truss will now be the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history.
The Chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady has confirmed that a leadership election will be completed by Friday 28th October. Brady and Conservative party Chairman Sir Jake Berry have confirmed this evening that there will be a 100 threshold minimum for candidate nominations, meaning that a maximum of three candidates will be on the ballot. Brady and Berry confirmed that nominations are open now and will close at 2pm on Monday - this will be followed by a vote of MPs, before an online vote for the Conservative party members and will end when a result is announced next Friday. It was also confirmed that if only one candidate reaches the threshold then a vote will not go to the wider party members. One hustings will take place on Monday when the nominations close and this will take place behind closed doors. The high threshold needed for a nomination makes Boris Johnson’s return seem unlikely.
Though newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt has confirmed that he will not be running, most prospective candidates are largely bunkered as they run the numbers and seek to build the ranks of their supporters. Likely candidates will include Rishi Sunak, the winner of the MPs’ ballot in the leadership contest over the summer, and Penny Mordaunt, who came third. It may also be the case that both candidates attempt to come to an arrangement that ensures a smooth transition in light of market uncertainty and public frustration at the last few months of political instability amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Other possible candidates include the former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, who also stood in the leadership contest earlier this year but performed poorly and was one of the first candidates to be eliminated. Discussions and negotiations over the weekend could prove pivotal in determining how fractious a contest there will be, and what kind of reception the new PM will receive from their own party.