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What went wrong for Liz Truss

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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.

CHERYL W THOMPSON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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

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