The shortest PM ever: How Liz Truss compares to the UK's briefest-serving leaders


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    After days of political turmoil, Prime Minister Liz Truss took to the Downing Street podium to declare to the nation that she was standing down from her role. She noted that she would stay in her role until a successor was found. It marked the end of a bruising few weeks for her, only having been introduced as Prime Minister in September 6. While her time in office saw some of the world’s most difficult events — the death of Queen Elizabeth II, renewed efforts by Russia in its war against Ukraine — her premiership will likely be remembered for the multiple disastrous U-turns she was forced to make.

    So where does Ms Truss’ 44 days in charge leave her on the charts of Britain’s shortest-reigning Prime Minister? dives into the archives to find out who else was in charge for months as opposed to years.

    Liz Truss – 44 days

    The Prime Minister replaced Boris Johnson as leader just last month, having beaten rival Rishi Sunak in a vote made by the Conservative Party membership.

    Her intentions were outlined on July 10 that she was going to run, and among her pledges included “to cut taxes on day one if elected”, as well as claiming she would “fight the election as a Conservative and govern as a Conservative”.

    Ms Truss received 57.4 percent of the membership’s vote against Mr Sunak, and the following day she replaced Mr Johnson in Downing Street.

    But like her predecessor, she was ousted and will for now be known as Britain’s shortest-serving Prime Minister.

    The shortest PM ever: How Liz Truss compares to the UK's briefest-serving leaders

    The shortest PM ever: How Liz Truss compares to the UK’s briefest-serving leaders (Image: GETTY)

    Liz Truss met the Queen days before her death

    Liz Truss met the Queen days before her death (Image: GETTY)

    George Canning – 119 days

    Mr Canning was a Conservative politician who held various Cabinet posts during his time in Government.

    He worked under a series of Prime Ministers, including for two terms as Foreign Secretary, before finally becoming Prime Minister in April 1827.

    But his health was at this time in serious decline. After attending the funeral of Frederick, Duke of York, he became so ill that many felt he would be unable to recover.

    He died from tuberculosis in August, 1827.

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    Liz Truss went head-to-head with Rishi Sunak

    Liz Truss went head-to-head with Rishi Sunak (Image: GETTY)

    The Viscount Goderich – 144 days

    Known as Frederick Robinson, 1st Earl of Ripon, Viscount Goderich served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for 144 days between 1827 and 1828, making him now the third shortest-reigning leader of the country.

    He entered politics through his family connections, and in the House of Commons rose through the ranks to become the President of the Board of Trade in 1818.

    By 1823, he had been appointed the Chancellor of the Exchequer, holding the post until he became Prime Minister upon the death of the previously mentioned Mr Canning.

    However, he was unable to hold together Mr Canning’s fragile coalition of Tories and Whigs, and eventually resigned, becoming the second-shortest serving Prime Minister who did not die on the job.

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    Liz Truss goes into Downing Street for a final time

    Liz Truss goes into Downing Street for a final time (Image: GETTY)

    Bonar Law – 211 days

    Often referred to as “The Unknown Prime Minister”, Bonar Law was a Conservative politician, serving as Prime Minister between October 1922 and May 1923. Currently, he is the only Canadian to have served as Prime Minister in Britain.

    Law was leader of the Conservative Party on a number of occasions, including when he stepped down in 1921 as a result of ill health.

    But by the following year he was made leader again, after Lloyd George’s Coalition become unpopular with his Conservative Party. Its MPs voted to end the coalition, and Law won a majority at the 1922 general election.

    Law, though, became seriously ill again, this time with throat cancer, and stood down. Later that year he would die.

    Liz Truss delivering her resignation note

    Liz Truss delivering her resignation note (Image: GETTY)

    The Duke of Devonshire – 225 days

    Known as William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, Lord Cavendish was a British Whig statesman and nobleman who acting as Prime Minister of Great Britain.

    He was given the Garter and appointed First Lord of the Treasury in November 1756, and served until May 1757. Many historians claim this title and role was essentially that of a Prime Minister, which means his tenure lasted 225 days.

    Under his stewardship, Devonshire secured increased money for the ongoing war, as well as sending troops to America.

    However, his administration was eventually brought down for reasons including the reported mishandling of the trial and excution of Admiral John Byng.


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