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24 October 2022

The shortest-serving Prime Minister in British history

Liz Truss takes the record from George Canning, who died in office.

By Ben Walker

Liz Truss, elected by 57 per cent of Conservative Party members, succeeded Boris Johnson as Prime Minister on 6 September. Her departure from office makes her Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister.

*48 days to date

George Canning, the previous record holder, died after 119 days in office. He was succeeded by the Viscount Goderich, who was unable to hold together the coalition government Canning had concocted and so lasted only 144 days.

Truss's premiership has been accompanied by a sense of fatality. Her first few weeks, initially occupied by the death of the Queen, were then ruined by a badly received mini-Budget. The huge tax cuts announced caused panic in the markets and a depreciation of the pound. After just 38 days, her Chancellor and close ideological ally, Kwasi Kwarteng, was forced to resign. The successor, Jeremy Hunt, spent his first working day reversing almost all of the mini-Budget. Truss clung on for a few more days, still in office but clearly no longer in power.

[See also: Rishi Sunak becomes prime minister after Penny Mordaunt withdraws]

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