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  • Lucy Osborne

Checkmate: Liz Truss is eliminated from the Playing Field

News Editor Lucy Osborne discussses how the chaos in the House of Commons in the wake of the mini budget ultimately led to Liz Truss' sensational resignation, followed by a leadership contest between Rishi Sunak and Penny Mourdant:

Artwork by Zoe Brown (IG: @Zoe_r_art).

Despite bonfire night not being for a fortnight, Liz Truss’ premiership has gone up in flames.

Here we are again, awaiting the third Prime Minister of the year. After the shortest term in office ever, Liz Truss resigned on the 20th October 2022 after 45 days. But what orchestrated this spectacular fall into chaos?

The beginnings of disgruntlement amongst the conservative party was instigated by Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget proposal.One of the most criticized points of this budget was the 45% higher rate of income tax abolished for England, Wales and Northern Irish tax payers. The firing of Kwasi Kwarteng was particularly shocking; Kwasi and Truss have been compared to having perfectly matched ideologies. This however, was merely the first spark of the fire that burnt Liz Truss’ respect to the ground.

The home secretary’s resignation encouraged a barrage of online abuse towards Truss’ leadership. Suella Braverman resigned due to a leaked email, deteriorating Truss’ diminishing respect further. The resignation letter brutally spotlights the conservative’s lack of faith in Truss to deliver her manifesto: “It is obvious to every one that we are going through a tumultuous time. I have concerns about the direction of this government. Not only have we broken key pledges that were promised to our voters, but I have had serious concerns about this Government's commitment to honouring manifesto commitments, such as reducing overall migration numbers and stopping illegal migration, particularly the dangerous small boats crossings.”

The evening before Truss’ resignation (19th October), was a vast melting point of chaos and alleged bullying. Chief Whip, Wendy Morton was speculated to have quit late afternoon but then was seen entering Downing Street early this morning. It is shatteringly embarrassing that the Prime Minister and other senior members of the cabinet were completely ignorant to the status of the Chief Whip role overnight.

The eve before her resignation also brought contention over a voting on fracking. Speaking to the BBC, Labor MP Chris Bryant alleged that this voting session was verging on bullying and the chaos was inexcusable. Chris Bryant spoke to the BBC and alleged that this voting session was verging on bullying and the chaos was inexcusable. This vote was to determine whether MPs would have a say on the Government’s fracking plans (already a highly contentious issue due to the rising threat of global warming). The physicality of this shocking behavior is particularly concerning, he stated: "I saw a whole swathe of MPs effectively pushing one member straight through the door. I've seen photographic evidence of one MP's hand on another,". How can we possibly trust a government that treats both their opposition and members of the party in a manner not far off a bully in a playground?

And so at 13:30 on Thursday 20th October 2022, Liz Truss stepped out of Number 10 Downing Street with her husband at her side. The appearance of her marital partner confirmed the whole country's suspicion of a resignation speech this afternoon. Unlike Theresa May’s resignation speech, marred with emotion and disappointment, Truss seemed to almost feel a sense of relief. She is now able to pass the baton over, for someone else to clear up the spooling mess of UK politics.

Thus, the whole country is looking to Rishi Sunak once again. On Monday 24th October Rishi Sunak won the tory leadership contest. The formidable but inexperienced Penny Mordaunt has failed to trump Rishi; but it is with a sigh of relief at least that Boris Johnson is not having his encore; I am not sure that the country could survive another party gate.

Despite the new Prime Minister now waiting in the wings, it now appears far more than a new Conservative party leader and Prime Minister will be required to settle the extreme internal divisions within the party. Which leaves the final question, will the conservative party manage to cling on in government or is a general election imminent?

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