Unions demand election as U.K. Conservatives’ revolving door of prime ministers keeps spinning
Who's next? Boris Johnson was replaced by Liz Truss at the head of the Conservative Party and the British government. Whomever takes her place will be the third prime minister within a space of just two months. | Photos: AP

LONDON—Growing clamor of demands for a “General election now!” in Britain reached deafening levels Thursday after Prime Minister Liz Truss finally quit amid scenes of mounting chaos in her government and the ranks of panicking Conservative Party MPs.

After only 44 days in office, Truss’s much-anticipated resignation made her the shortest-serving prime minister in British history.

As the government announced a truncated process to choose a successor—one week compared to the seven weeks it took for Tory Party members to elect her—trade unions, opposition parties, and even a popular football pundit told the Tories the game was over.

Her replacement will be the third Tory leader in just two months, but union leaders and opposition MPs say Britain does not want another Conservative prime minister and said only a general election would end the chaos.

Millions have faced soaring mortgages, rents, and prices, falling living standards, and the dual threat of fuel and food poverty following Truss’s disastrous mini-budget.

Unions also told the government that industrial action and current balloting on strike action would continue.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “The Conservative Party has shown it no longer has a mandate to govern. After 12 years of Tory failure, the British people deserve so much better than this revolving door of chaos.

“In the last few years, the Tories have set record-high taxation, trashed our institutions, and created a cost-of-living crisis. Now, they have crashed the economy so badly that people are facing £500 a month extra on their mortgages. The damage they have done will take years to fix.

“The Tories cannot respond to their latest shambles by yet again simply clicking their fingers and shuffling the people at the top without the consent of the British people. The British public deserve a proper say on the country’s future. We need a general election—now.”

Leeds East Labour MP Richard Burgon pointed out that the deep crisis facing communities “will not be resolved by replacing one Tory PM with yet another.

“The Tory Party has overseen 12 long years of crises. The vast majority of people have paid a heavy price. The only solution now is a general election. Let the people decide!”

Unions united to condemn the shambolic Conservative reign, with GMB union general secretary Gary Smith saying: “The Tories have treated the public with utter contempt, trashing the economy and shredding the U.K.’s international standing while people struggle to pay the bills and feed their families.

“They’re tired of being used as lab rats in a catastrophic Conservative economic experiment. In our democracy, it’s the people who are the boss. It’s time they have their say and consign this toxic Tory administration to the history books.”

PCS union (Public and Commercial Services) general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Tory incompetence and right-wing ideology has crashed the economy, meaning our members, who are already struggling, now face higher bills, mortgage increases, and a cost-of-living crisis.

“We urgently need a general election and a government that stops planned cuts to the Civil Service, gives our hard-working members an above-inflation pay rise, and scraps the inhumane plans to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda.

“Until this happens, we will continue fighting back by encouraging our members to vote Yes in our upcoming strike ballot.”

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea declared that the “farce cannot go on” and said the Conservatives have shown themselves unfit to govern.

“The crisis affecting the country is so deep that the only solution is to have an election,” she demanded. “There should be one immediately so voters can choose a government to get the country back on its feet.”

And in a succinct message on Twitter, football pundit and ex-Manchester United player Gary Neville said: “General fucking election now!”

Morning Star


Peter Lazenby
Peter Lazenby

From Leeds, journalist Peter Lazenby is the Northern Reporter at Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Britain, and is active with the National Union of Journalists.