End of the Road
The Prime Minister has announced that she has given notice to The King of her intention to resign in one week’s time.
In that week, we will see a short sharp leadership election, with the rules likely to be dramatically altered to force the parliamentary Conservative Party to coalesce rapidly around a single candidate.
Likely candidates at this stage include Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, and Suella Braverman.
Truss has been in position for just 6 weeks – an astonishingly short time. The tipping point seems to have been last night, when the Conservatives attempted to drive through a vote on legalising fracking, leading to chaos in Parliament as many were reluctant to vote for this. You may have seen the unprecedented headlines of some MPs being “manhandled” into voting lobbies. This led to fury from Conservative MPs against their own government rarely seen before.
This announcement intensifies discussions that have already been ongoing around succession planning, with many of these figures known to have been informally sounding each other out regarding joint platforms and agreements to support one another.
Announcements from candidates will likely follow very shortly, with it already being understood that Jeremy Hunt will not run.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader, is calling for a general election saying that Brits “deserve more than this revolving door chaos”, and that they no longer have a mandate. At present, we believe this is unlikely to be called given the electoral devastation this would inflict upon the Tories.
It has been suggested that a leadership election that does not include the party membership could be subject to a legal challenge, dragging out the nomination of a leader of the Conservative Party, so there may be an online vote of members, to mitigate against this, but this is yet to be confirmed.
Other possibilities include balloting just MPs, with a high threshold for nomination set to winnow the field as quickly as possible. There is no appetite whatsoever in the parliamentary Conservative Party for this election to last any longer than absolutely necessary.