Why was British PM Liz Truss’ tenure so short — and now what?
In her first six months she’d overseen the passage of the controversial EU Withdrawal Act; secured Britain’s place on the U.N. Security Council; and given the Conservatives their first majority government in nearly a decade. But she’d also overseen the collapse of the Conservative Party, the resignations of two Cabinet ministers, and the biggest rebellion in party history.
With her resignation, a once-in-a-generation chance to reshuffle Britain’s political landscape had passed. The party is set to hold a special by-election in May in a marginal seat in London. It promises to be one of the most difficult contests since Margaret Thatcher’s first years back in Government in 1979. And this week the Tories are expected to move quickly to replace Liz Truss, who’s set to be axed.
This is the year of the by-election, in which seats are often the deciding factor in who becomes Prime Minister. And with the by-election in May, there’s already a sense that the Conservative Party is poised to lose a seat — or two.
“You want to get rid of two, three, six people in a seat or two seats in order to keep the majority you need in Parliament because it’s almost impossible to survive in the middle,” said Dominic Cummings, the former Cabinet minister who is now an adviser on the Conservative Party.
“It can be done, I think for the Tories in the next Parliament they will probably lose around 10 seats or 15 seats in a House of Commons that is already rather large when it comes to seats … you can only lose so many seats, so I think it is now a question of who can help the Party win in May and get into Downing Street,” he said.
The Tory-Labour contest in May is the first of the five by-elections in a year, known as ‘holidays’ for the time of year that they can fall on a Friday and a Monday. The Tories have two seats to defend: Basingstoke and The Lea, in an affluent suburban belt. Labour also have two seats: