FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 24, 2022
London drama: Britain this week gets its third prime minister in three months
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There's political upheaval in Great Britain, where Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned last week after just 44 days in office – the shortest term of any leader in the United Kingdom, as that nation also is called. She became prime minister amid an economic crisis caused by rising inflation and tighter fuel supplies.Truss had vowed to fix the spiraling cost of living by slashing taxes on corporations and the wealthy in an effort to spur growth, as well as by limiting energy prices for households.
When her finance minister announced the tax cuts without suggesting how to cover lost revenue, the British pound (its money) plummeted in value on world banking, stock markets and currency exchanges. The budget-busting proposal sent interest rates soaring and provoked a selloff of government bonds.
On Oct. 14, Truss forced her finance minister to resign and rolled back the tax cut. Other Cabinet members quit, followed by the prime minister herself last Thursday after realizing she lacked enough support in Parliament to survive a no-confidence vote. She was the third woman to serve as the country's prime minister, following Margaret Thatcher (1979-90) and Theresa May (2016-19). They also were Conservative Party leaders.
Now that party, which has a majority of seats in Parliament, picks a new leader this week in voting by its 357 elected lawmakers and an online vote by about 170,000 dues-paying members — less than 0.3 percent of the British population.
Liz Truss says: "Given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the king to notify him that I am resigning." – Oct. 20 appearance (see video below)
President Biden says: "The United States and the United Kingdom are strong allies and enduring friends — and that fact will never change."
U.S. columnist says: "She didn't understand that you couldn't simply borrow money from the future." – Maureen Dowd, The New York Times