Timeline: Liz Truss’s turbulent time as Prime Minister

Ms Truss was in office for just two days when the Queen died, and then faced a major backlash to her controversial economic policies.

14 October 2022

Liz Truss has had an eventful time in office as Prime Minister, and less than six weeks in she has sacked her Chancellor.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what has happened since Ms Truss took up her role as the UK’s leader.

September 5: Liz Truss is the victor in the Tory leadership contest and will become the country’s next prime minister.  She promises a “bold plan” to cut taxes and grow the economy and “deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply”.

The Queen welcomed Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral in Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)
The Queen welcomed Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral in Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)

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, Ms Truss 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 7: Ms Truss uses her first Prime Minister’s Questions to promise to work with MPs across the House to tackle “the challenges we face” at a “vital time for our country”. She confirms she will set out her package of support to deal with soaring energy bills the following day.

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 support 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 issues 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 stating: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.”

September 9: The King 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.

September 19: The Queen’s funeral is held at Westminster Abbey in London.

September 23: Mr Kwarteng 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 “spooked” traders swallow the cost of the spree.

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”.

Kwasi Kwarteng insisted his controversial economic plan would encourage investment in the UK (Dylan Martinez/PA)
Kwasi Kwarteng insisted his controversial economic plan would encourage investment in the UK (Dylan Martinez/PA)

September 29: Almost a week on, Ms Truss insists the Government had to “take urgent action to get the economy growing” in her first public comments since the mini-budget market turmoil.

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 not discussed with the Cabinet but was a decision made by him.

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 mini-budget 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.

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 returned, the Chancellor was 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.

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.

Downing Street announces Ms Truss will hold a press conference.

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