Why Liz Truss resigned as U.K. prime minister: A guide to the chaos

British prime minister Liz Truss resigned after just 45 days in office. Here are the (few) highlights. (Video: The Washington Post)

LONDON — After just a month and a half as prime minister, the majority of which was spent clinging on for her political life, Liz Truss announced Thursday that she is resigning. Now she is set to become the shortest-serving occupant of Downing Street in 300 years of British history.

A disastrous series of self-inflicted wounds — which turned into a political death spiral — began with a misfired attempt by the Conservative Party leader to radically reorient the government’s economic agenda, by slashing taxes without saying how the decision would be paid for. It sent the markets reeling, and Truss never recovered.

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By the end, Truss had grown so unpopular that her fellow party lawmakers were publicly contemplating plans to replace her.

Let us walk you through what happened.

The U.K.'s new prime minister

The latest: In his first speech as British prime minister, Rishi Sunak warned his country that tough economic times — and tough decisions — were ahead. The day also marked the end of Liz Truss’s tenure as Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister, after just 49 days in office.

Who is Rishi Sunak?: He competed against Truss to lead Britain’s Conservative Party after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his scandal-induced resignation in July. Loyalists point out that his candidacy received the most support from his parliamentary colleagues. And many of his economic ideas have turned out to be prescient, those backers say.

Why did Liz Truss resign?: Truss came to office with a vision for a low-tax, small government state. Her financial plan tanked the British economy and politicians from the ruling Conservative Party called on her to quit. According to new polling, only 10 percent of the country viewed Truss favorably.