The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Liz Truss resigns as U.K. prime minister after six weeks in office

British Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her resignation outside 10 Downing Street in London on Oct. 20. (Video: Reuters, Photo: AP/Reuters)

LONDON — Prime Minister Liz Truss and her government collapsed Thursday with her sudden resignation announcement after six turbulent weeks in office, making her the shortest-serving prime minister in British history. The moment points to the utter chaos brought upon Britain by the Conservative Party government, leaving open the question of not only who will lead the country, but in what direction — for the economy, foreign policy and the jittery stock, currency and bond markets.

The Conservative Party plans to pick a new leader by Oct. 28, after voting by Conservative lawmakers and an online vote involving dues-paying party members. Conservative power brokers are bitterly divided.

Here’s what to know

  • The record for shortest-serving prime minister was previously held by George Canning, who served for 119 days, from April to August 1827, before he died.
  • Eight days is a highly accelerated timeline for a leadership selection. The last contest took two months. In both cases, most of the British public will have remained on the sidelines.
  • Among the names under discussion to lead the party and Britain: Rishi Sunak, a former finance minister who lost to Truss in August; Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt; Defense Secretary Ben Wallace; and former prime minister Boris Johnson, who only moved out of Downing Street six weeks ago.
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Here's what to know:

The record for shortest-serving prime minister was previously held by George Canning, who served for 119 days, from April to August 1827, before he died.
Eight days is a highly accelerated timeline for a leadership selection. The last contest took two months. In both cases, most of the British public will have remained on the sidelines.
Among the names under discussion to lead the party and Britain: Rishi Sunak, a former finance minister who lost to Truss in August; Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt; Defense Secretary Ben Wallace; and former prime minister Boris Johnson, who only moved out of Downing Street six weeks ago.

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