Forty-five days that Liz Truss spent in Downing Street, less than all her predecessors and a record that she would surely have wanted to avoid. She became the British equivalent of Bourbon King Louis I the Short, eldest son of Philip V and Marie-Louise of Savoy, who spent just 229 days on the throne of Spain. In any case, more than her. Truss La Breve must have expected it, for he made the announcement at 1.30 p.m. sharp, in gray, autumnal, rainy London, with extraordinary coldness, like someone announcing that he had bought a new washing machine.
“I have lost the confidence of the Conservative Party and am resigning from the leadership. I will remain in office until a new leader is elected within a week.”
Truss’ situation had been untenable since the markets de facto intervened in the country and imposed Jeremy Hunt as finance minister to dismantle the government’s entire tax hike agenda. But the outcome had been in sight since yesterday, with the resignation of Interior Minister Suella Braverman, the disappearance of any semblance of discipline in the ranks of the Tories and chaotic scenes during a vote on fracking.
Fifteen deputies had publicly called for the resignation of their leader. Events came to a head and Ms Truss summoned Conservative Party figures to Downing Street this morning to demand a medical report. The diagnosis left no room for doubt.
There was no chance of survival. Relatives were informed that the patient no longer had hours but days to live, and that it was time to turn off the ventilator.
King Louis was also known as “the liberal” and “the beloved”. Liz Truss was an unloved ultra-liberal who will go down in history as Elizabeth the Brief.