Liz Truss' dramatic departure sparks demands for early elections

Independent petition for poll soon passes 250,000 signatures

Liz Truss' resignation to make way for a third prime minister in just eight weeks has led to a surge in demand for a general election.

Within hours of its announcement, signatures on The Independent's campaign for the live poll passed a quarter of a million and prominent figures joined forces to give the public a voice in deciding the next government.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the public "deserves to have a sound opinion on the future of the country", while Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey issued a call to Conservative MPs to "do their patriotic duty, put the country first and give the people a voice".

And Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The interests of the Tory party shouldn't concern anyone at this time. Elections are now a democratic imperative."

The Independent began campaigning for the general election earlier this week, as it became clear that Ms Truss could no longer hold on to her party's trust and had lost the trust of the general public, as measured in opinion polls.

Truss' successor could be decided as early as Monday if 357 Conservative lawmakers gather behind one candidate. If they are split between the two contenders, the final decision will go back to the roughly 170,000 Conservative Party members who chose Ms Truss as leader in September, with the winner announced on Friday 28 October.

If only one candidate gets the nomination of 100 or more Tory MPs, he or she will become prime minister without a single vote being cast. An estimated 47 million voters in the UK will have no say in their prime minister election.

The eventual winner will be the fourth consecutive prime minister elected by Tory MPs – such as Theresa May – or party members, such as Ms Truss and Boris Johnson. The new PM will be the third this year and the third since the Conservatives last obtained a voter mandate in the December 2019 election.

But he could stay at 10 Downing Street until January 2025 – about 15 months – before having to travel to the country. Sir Keir said: “The Tories cannot respond to their latest mess by once again just clicking their fingers and dragging people over without the consent of the British people.

“They have no mandate to put the country through another experiment; England is not their personal territory to do what they want.

“The British public deserves a proper voice on the country's future.

“They should have the opportunity to compare the Tories mess to Labour's plans to solve their mess, grow the economy for workers and rebuild the country for a fairer and greener future.

“We have to have a chance at a fresh start. We need a general election – now.”

Thanks to constitutional changes brought in by Mr Johnson, the new prime minister will have the power to call elections at a time of his choosing, as long as parliament is dissolved by the December 17, 2024 deadline – five years after it was formed. Dissolution must be followed within 25 days by election.

If the PM refuses to hold an early vote, Conservative MPs will hold the key to delivering the election by voting with opposition parties to advance it.

But with polls showing the elimination of the Tories if elections were held now, most Conservative lawmakers view the idea as a curse.

However, former Conservative minister Anna Soubry – who quit the party to form Change UK – said: “The only way to stop the chaos, restore stability & competence is a general election now. The only person with the skills to lead us through the economic crisis and restore civility in politics is Keir Starmer.”

Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer said: “Governments can't govern – they don't deserve to be in office.

"We need elections now so people can vote for the policies they want to see that will change this mess."

Anti-Brexit campaigner Femi Oluwole said: “By firing Liz Truss and setting aside the election, the Tories override the votes of Tory MPs and Tory members, and refuse to let the public vote either. Think about how dangerous it is historically to allow a few unelected leaders to rise from this mess. General election now."

The Thick of It actor and comedian Chris Addison tweeted: "Elections now". Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: “We can't go on like this. General Election now."

And Tony Blair's former aide Alastair Campbell said a new form of government had been "stitched" between Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt and Penny Mordaunt.

"They have no right to treat the entire foundation of our democracy as a toy for their wretched, rotten and useless party," he said. "General election now."

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford also pushed for the election, saying "people don't take anything less".

And Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar said: “It is true that Liz Truss has resigned. But, in truth, this entire Tory government had to go.

"The next Tory leader will not have the mandate to be prime minister - we need a general election now."

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form