Liz Truss: A timeline of the shortest premiership in British history


Liz Truss is defending her record as prime minister, saying she sought “a new direction for Britain” in her spell that lasted just 44 days.

She entered 10 Downing Street on September 6 after winning a drawn-out leadership contest, promising tax cuts, but left on October 22 in the wake of her disastrous mini-budget. This made her the shortest-serving prime minister in British history.

In a speech on Monday (September 18), Ms Truss said: “The tax cuts we were introducing were not major tax cuts, they would have made a fairly marginal difference in fact to the level of the deficit. What they were about was showing a new direction for Britain.”

While her apparent comeback has not been totally welcomed, it has brought her back into the news after she returned to the Tory backbenchers.

Ms Truss’s term as prime minister also coincided with the death of the Queen and the state funeral. She recently told an interviewer that among Elizabeth II’s final words were that they would “meet again” soon.

While Ms Truss has defended the ambition of her tenure, she has admitted that “communication” could be improved.

Here is a look at the timeline of her period in office:

September 5: Liz Truss wins the Tory leadership contest as she gets the most votes from party members. She promises a “bold plan” to cut taxes and grow the economy and “deliver on the energy crisis”.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

September 6: Ms Truss becomes Prime Minister after being invited to form a new government by the Queen at Balmoral. Later that afternoon, in her first speech in Downing Street, she says she is honoured to take on the role “at a vital time for our country”. Kwasi Kwarteng is appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer.

September 8: In Parliament shortly before midday, the PM announces a new energy price guarantee and promises support for businesses struggling with bills for six months, with targeted help for vulnerable firms beyond that. She describes it as "the moment to be bold", adding: "We are facing a global energy crisis and there are no cost-free options."

Soon after her economic announcements in the Commons, Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying doctors were concerned for the Queen's health, and that the head of state was under medical supervision. A Palace statement is released at 6.30pm, saying: "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon."

September 9: King Charles holds his first in-person audience with Ms Truss at Buckingham Palace. Politics all but comes to a halt as the country observes a national period of mourning ahead of the Queen’s funeral on September 19.

Charles shakes hands with Liz Truss during their first audience at Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
Charles shakes hands with Liz Truss during their first audience at Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

September 23: Kwasi Kwarteng delivers his mini-budget for Ms Truss’s “growth plan” and announces the biggest raft of tax cuts for half a century.

Using more than £70 billion of increased borrowing, he sets out a package which includes abolishing the top rate of income tax for the highest earners and axing the cap on bankers' bonuses while adding restrictions to the welfare system.

The pound falls to a fresh 37-year low as the plan "spooked" traders. Questioned by reporters later that evening, the Chancellor insists his plan will encourage investment in the UK and rejects the suggestion his economic announcement was "a gamble".

September 29: Almost a week on, the PM insists the Government had to "take urgent action to get the economy growing" in her first public comments since the mini-budget market turmoil. She faced criticism for not speaking sooner.

October 2: Ms Truss acknowledges mistakes over the mini-budget but says she is standing by her tax-cutting plan as she refuses to rule out public spending cuts.

The PM admits she could have done more to prepare the ground for Mr Kwarteng's financial statement, and she faces accusations of throwing her Chancellor "under the bus" by saying the abolition of the 45p top rate of tax was made by him, and not discussed with the Cabinet.

(Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
(Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

October 3: In a dramatic U-turn, Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng abandon their plan to abolish the 45p rate of income tax for top earners.

"We get it, and we have listened," the Chancellor says, in language echoed in a tweet from the PM less than 24 hours after she said she remained absolutely committed to the cut.

Somewhat embarrassingly, Ms Truss was still defending the 45p tax rate in a TV interview filmed just hours before the U-turn.

October 4: Mr Kwarteng says the Queen's death added to the "high-pressure" environment around the preparation of the mini-budget. In an interview with GB News, he says it is important to place the so-called fiscal event in the "context" of the Queen's death and funeral.

October 5: Ms Truss pledges she will "get us through the tempest" and "get Britain moving" as she delivers her first Tory conference speech as party leader.

Prime Minister Liz Truss departs 10 Downing Street to attend Prime Minister’s Questions (PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Liz Truss departs 10 Downing Street to attend Prime Minister’s Questions (PA) (PA Wire)

October 8: Four Cabinet ministers urge colleagues to rally behind Ms Truss as the PM battles to steady the Tory ship following a week blighted by infighting.

October 10: Mr Kwarteng bows to pressure to bring forward the publication of his financial strategy and independent economic forecasts. Completing another U-turn, he agrees to set out his medium-term fiscal plan alongside Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predictions on October 31.

October 11: As Parliament returns, the Chancellor is warned, during a session of Treasury questions, that the Government's economic credibility would be further shredded if he tries to push through the policies without the support of Conservative MPs.

October 12: Ms Truss insists she will not cut spending to balance the books, despite economists and the financial markets continuing to question her plans. She says she is "absolutely" not planning public spending reductions, but insists taxpayers' money will be used well.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and Prime Minister Liz Truss (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and Prime Minister Liz Truss (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

October 13: Mr Kwarteng says his "total focus is on delivering on the mini-budget" in response to speculation about a U-turn on the measures.

October 14: Mr Kwarteng is sacked, having flown back early from International Monetary Fund talks in Washington. He says he has accepted Ms Truss' request he "stand aside" as Chancellor.

The Prime Minister replaces her ideological soulmate at the Treasury with Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary who backed her rival Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership contest.

Ms Truss dismisses calls for her resignation at a hastily arranged eight-minute press conference in Downing Street, during which she takes just four questions from journalists.

She announces she is abandoning Mr Kwarteng's commitment to drop the planned rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25% - even though it was a central plank of her leadership campaign - saving the Exchequer £18 billion a year.

Prime Minister Liz Truss during a press conference in Downing Street (Daniel Leal/PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Liz Truss during a press conference in Downing Street (Daniel Leal/PA) (PA Wire)

October 15: The new Chancellor indicates the PM's immediate economic plan is now largely defunct in a series of broadcast interviews.

Mr Hunt criticises the "mistakes" of the Truss administration and warns of "difficult decisions" to come on tax and spending.

In an unusual intervention, US President Joe Biden appears to join in the criticism of Ms Truss's original plan, telling reporters "I wasn't the only one that thought it was a mistake" and calling the outcome "predictable".

October 16: Former minister Crispin Blunt becomes the first Tory MP to publicly call for Ms Truss to quit, saying the "game is up" for the Prime Minister.

He is followed by Andrew Bridgen and Jamie Wallis, while other senior figures within the parliamentary party express deep unease with the PM's leadership but stop short of calling for her to go.

Labour urges Ms Truss to come before Parliament to face MPs.


October 17: Mr Hunt ditches the bulk of the PM's economic strategy in an emergency statement designed to calm the markets.

The Chancellor scales back the energy support package and scraps "almost all" the tax cuts announced by his predecessor.

Ms Truss sits silently in the Commons for roughly 30 minutes as her Chancellor informs MPs of the change of direction, staring straight ahead as he bins huge chunks of her plan.

The PM admits to a meeting of the One Nation group of Tory MPs that "we tried to do too much too quickly", as she seeks to shore up support for her premiership.

In a sit-down interview with the BBC's Chris Mason, she apologises for her "mistakes" and pledges to lead the Tories into the next general election.

October 18: Ms Truss survives a meeting of the Cabinet without any ministers calling for her to quit, while Mr Hunt tells colleagues they must review departmental budgets to find ways to save taxpayers' money.

Downing Street sparks a backlash by indicating ministers could ditch their commitment to the pensions triple lock.

The Prime Minister addresses Tory MPs from the European Research Group (ERG), telling them that she found axing her tax-slashing programme "painful" and did it "because she had to".

October 19: The PM declares she is a "fighter, not a quitter" and insists she is "completely committed" to the triple lock on state pensions at PMQs.

Tory MPs are told a Labour vote in the Commons seeking to ban fracking is being treated as a "confidence motion" in Ms Truss's embattled Government.

Deputy chief whip Craig Whittaker warns his colleagues the vote is a "100% hard" three-line whip, indicating that dozens of Conservatives who oppose the controversial gas extraction method face being kicked out of the parliamentary party if they do not follow orders in the lobbies.

But confusion ensues when climate minister Graham Stuart tells the Commons: "Quite clearly this is not a confidence vote."

Prime Minister Liz Truss speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, London (House of Commons/PA) (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Liz Truss speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, London (House of Commons/PA) (PA Wire)

It leads to ugly scenes at Westminster, with Cabinet ministers Therese Coffey and Jacob Rees-Mogg among a group of senior Tories accused of pressuring colleagues to go into the "no" lobby. Labour former minister Chris Bryant claims some MPs were "physically manhandled".

Meanwhile, Suella Braverman dramatically quits as home secretary, citing a "technical infringement" of the ministerial rules, and criticising Ms Truss's "tumultuous" premiership.

Labour's motion is defeated by 230 votes to 326, a majority of 96, but there is speculation that Chief Whip Wendy Morton and her deputy, Craig Whittaker, have resigned in fury at the handling of the affair.

At 9.49pm - more than two hours after the vote - No 10 issues a statement saying both remain in post.

Overnight, Downing Street says Mr Stuart was "mistakenly" told to say it was not a confidence motion, adding that Conservative MPs were "fully aware" it was subject to a three-line whip. A spokesman says the whips will speak to the Tories who failed to support the Government, and those without a "reasonable excuse" will face "proportionate disciplinary action".


October 20: Pressure on the PM continues to mount, with more backbenchers adding their names to the growing list of Tory MPs publicly demanding her resignation.

At 1.30pm, Ms Truss gives a statement outside Downing Street announcing her resignation as PM.

She said she recognised she “cannot deliver the mandate on which [she] was elected by the Conservative Party”.

She says she has agreed with the chairman of the 1922 committee Sir Graham Brady that there will be a leadership election to be completed within a week.