Political Science Professor comments on Liz Truss’ resignation

Muhammad Hassan Aamir, Staff Writer

Prime Minister Liz Truss resigns six weeks into office. Truss now joins the list of three other prime ministers to resign following the Brexit vote of 2016. 10 Downing Street has been left in a state of chaos following the sudden changes of power. 

Professor Zoe Oxley of the Political Science department kindly discussed these recent events in Britain, as well as the consequences of Liz Truss’ resignation from Britain and the Conservative Party. 

Liz Truss entered Downing Street as Prime Minister touted her economic plans which included cutting taxes on top earners, removing a cap on bankers’ bonuses, and canceling a planned corporate-tax hike, according to The Atlantic. Following the reception of this plan, she fired her trusted advisor Kwasi Kwarteng and replaced him with Jeremy Hunt. 

On this removal, Professor Oxley remarked, “clearly, Liz Truss’s economic plan was out of step with the British public, British financial institutions, and even some of her own Conservative Party. In particular, the large (especially by British standards) proposed tax cuts coupled with no plans for reducing spending startled the public and the markets, and quickly ushered in negative economic consequences.” 

When asked about Truss’ short-lived span in office, Professor Oxley commented, “in addition to the unpopular details of her economic plan, Truss was brought down by her perceived lack of effective leadership. She walked back parts of the plan after it was announced, then called for the resignation of her Chancellor of the Exchequer. His replacement then eliminated most of the rest of the economic plan. These events led many—among the public, within her party, and within her Cabinet— to question her ability to manage the economy and manage her own government. Ultimately, there was much pressure on her to resign, which she did after serving only 45 days in the Prime Minister’s office (the shortest in UK history).” 

Finally, when asked about the consequences of her resignation for Britain, Professor Oxley commented that, “after a few tumultuous days, Rishi Sunak replaced Truss as Conversative Party leader and as the UK’s Prime Minister. Sunak, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Boris Johnson, lost to Truss when she was elected party leader, less than two months ago. Then, Sunak was very critical of Truss’s economic plans, suggesting that he will take a very different approach to addressing Britain’s current economic challenges than she did.”

When talking about the Conservative Party in general, Professor Oxley stated, “the larger context is the fractious Conservative Party. The party is divided into a few factions, most notably the pro- and anti-Brexit groups. In fact, the party’s inability to coalesce over the issue of Britain’s membership in the European Union in past decades led directly to the 2016 Brexit vote itself. Since then, party leadership has been hampered by a lack of agreement within the party on how to take Britain out of the EU. These internal Conservative Party woes have affected the UK more broadly, given that the party holds the majority in parliament.”