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Liz Truss’s short resignation speech outside No 10 reflects her brief time as PM

After only 44 days in office, the outgoing leader spent one minute 30 seconds speaking at Downing Street under cloudy skies.

20 October 2022

Liz Truss has given a notably short resignation speech outside No 10, reflecting the record-breaking brevity of her time as Prime Minister.

After only 44 days in office, the outgoing leader spent one minute and 30 seconds speaking at Downing Street under cloudy skies on Thursday afternoon – a considerably shorter time than her predecessors.

It was four times shorter than the penultimate prime minister Boris Johnson’s outgoing address on September 6, when he spent six minutes and nine seconds speaking at the same lectern.

Liz Truss resignation
Liz Truss, with her husband Hugh O’Leary, announcing her resignation (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The last female Prime Minister before Ms Truss, Theresa May, spoke for six minutes and 25 seconds as she left office in July 2019, while David Cameron spent seven minutes at the podium when he stood down in July 2016.

It also follows an alarmingly short press conference given by Ms Truss on October 14 amid the plummeting of the pound and the sacking of her first Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng.

This conference comprised Ms Truss spending just eight minutes outlining the reasons for his dismissal, and taking only four questions from a room bustling with national news reporters.

On Thursday, reporters jostled for position beneath central London skies as unsettled as Ms Truss’ government has been over the past six weeks of economic turmoil and the loss of two Cabinet ministers.

Her own departure came rapidly after a last-minute meeting inside No 10 Downing Street with chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.

Liz Truss resignation
Liz Truss and her husband Hugh O’Leary arriving at Downing Street, London, on the day she became Prime Minister (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Whitehall journalists had scrambled to access the street in time for Ms Truss’s final speech, with several being locked out by security moments before she approached the podium.

Ms Truss wore the same knee-length navy dress and silver necklace she donned on the day she became Prime Minister, and just as with her opening speech, her husband, Hugh O’Leary, stood behind her.

While Ms Truss’ supporters had flanked either side of the door to Number 10 as she took the keys on September 6, this time her beleaguered political allies remained behind closed doors.

Rain drizzled over Downing Street moments after Ms Truss finished her speech and retreated inside No 10.

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