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What went wrong for Liz Truss


LIZ TRUSS: 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 as leader of the Conservative Party.


That was outgoing British Prime Minister Liz Truss earlier this week, calling it quits after just six weeks in office.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: She's the shortest-serving leader in British history.

THOMPSON: So how did Truss fall so far so fast? First, she and her finance minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, unveiled a series of tax proposals and spending plans.


KWASI KWARTENG: High tax rates damage Britain's competitiveness. They reduce the incentive to work, to invest and to start a business. And the higher the tax, the more ways people seek to avoid them.

THOMPSON: They promised a new economic strategy - tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. This did not sit well with the public struggling with high inflation and energy bills.


ANDY BURNHAM: Friday's budget was a flagrant act of vandalism on the social cohesion of this country.

NICOLA STURGEON: The mini budget was a catastrophic disaster that is playing out in real time before our eyes right now. The U.K. economy is in crisis.

THOMPSON: And almost immediately...


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Now the British pound has fallen to its lowest level ever against the U.S. dollar.

THOMPSON: The chaos didn't stop there. Amid an economic tailspin, Truss launched a fight for her political survival. Officials were fired. Others resigned. The first to go was that finance minister. She replaced him with her own political rival, Jeremy Hunt.


JEREMY HUNT: We will reverse almost all the tax measures announced in the growth plan three weeks ago.

THOMPSON: Her government still in freefall, she tried to marshal support. Conservative lawmakers were allegedly bullied and manhandled into backing Truss in a vote. But it was too late. Liz Truss couldn't get the backing she needed and resigned. And now Britons wonder where this leaves their country.

COLIN: It just had to be done because things were in such a state of chaos, and she obviously had no confidence. You know, the conservatives had no confidence in her.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: So we'll just wait and see what happens next and who replaces her. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mia Estrada
Mia Estrada is a 2021-2022 Kroc Fellow. She will spend the year rotating through different parts of NPR, including the Culture Desk, National Desk and Weekend Edition.
Adam Raney