Liz Truss’s departure ensures a fresh power struggle within the ruling Conservative Party, which has hemorrhaged public support for the past year and has now overthrown Boris Johnson and Truss in the space of a few months.
A trickle of Conservative MPs called on her to go and Truss ultimately bowed to the pressure on Thursday.
Britain now faces the prospect of a third different leader entering office since its last general election, an unprecedented scenario in modern peacetime that will lead to serious questions about the mandate of the government and increase a growing clamor for a fresh vote.
It is a spectacular fall from grace for a party that won a landslide victory under Johnson in a December 2019 election that was won on the then-leader’s promise to deliver Brexit.
A new leadership contest will take place on an expedited timetable soon, with Truss saying a new leader will be chosen within a week. Figures who could be in the running include Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor who lost to Truss during the summer race; Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the Commons who was second in the leadership contest behind Sunak until Truss overtook them both in the final round of voting; and Jeremy Hunt, the current finance minister who Truss turned to after sacking Kwarteng on Friday.
And a potential return to frontline politics for Boris Johnson has not been ruled out, with some of Johnson’s allies in the Commons claiming in recent weeks that moving to remove him was a mistake.