The fallout

Lib Dems have been busy today dealing with the fallout from the resignation of Britain’s shortest ever Prime Minister. I’ll rephrase that – the British Prime Minister who served for the shortest time in office EVER (although the original version is probably also true, if of no political significance).

First, all departing Prime Ministers are entitled to an annual allowance for the rest of their lives of £115,000 to cover office costs. This was covered in a press release yesterday, where Christine Jardine is urging her not to take it. Today Ed Davey told LBC radio:

Most people have to work at least 35 years to get a full state pension. I think working 45 days shouldn’t give you a pension that is many many times what ordinary people out there get after a lifetime of work.

Second, traditionally Prime Ministers can hand out peerages and other honours in a resignation list. Boris Johnson has only just honoured 29 people in that way. Another tranche following so soon from Liz Truss would be completely inappropriate. Wendy Chamberlain, Lib Dem Chief Whip, has written to the Chair of Parliamentary and Political Service Committee:

As you know, it is traditional upon a Prime Minister’s departure from office for them to issue a ‘Resignation Honours’ list. This list signifies individuals who are to be rewarded with an honour from the King which, in turn, would be considered by your committee.

However, because of the unprecedented circumstances surrounding Liz Truss’s tenure and resignation, I am writing to urge you and the committee to reject any Resignation Honours list put forward by her.

Liz Truss will be the shortest serving Prime Minister in British political history. It is possible that by the time she formally resigns, she will not have held office for more than 50 days.

I do not believe that it would be appropriate for Liz Truss to be permitted to issue a resignation honours list, given the extremely short length of her tenure.

I urge you to make it clear that you and your fellow committee members would not sign off on any such honours, which would be the second list in a matter of months.

Third, there is a lot of concern that Boris Johnson is thinking of entering the leadership contest. This was, of course, the Prime Minister who was only persuaded to stand down after 50 ministers resigned. As also mentioned in press releases our MPs have now tabled a motion to stop anyone who has broken the law while in Government from ever becoming Prime Minister. It reads:

That this House believes that the upholding of standards by its Members is of vital importance to the functioning of UK democracy; believes that it is vital that the Prime Minister and Ministers uphold these standards; and therefore resolves that any honourable or right honourable member that is found to have broken the law whilst in Government should be barred from holding Prime Ministerial Office.

Finally, what do we want? A General Election. When do we want it? Now.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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5 Comments

  • Helen Dudden 21st Oct '22 - 4:11pm

    Things have got out of control, MPs behaving badly.

    A new look needs to be put in place, the, it will be in the personal benefit, not the benefit if the country has gone full circle.

    I believe personally, until this happens we have more of the same. Some bad behaviour is difficult to change.

  • Liz Truss seemed to think the whole affair was funny. We need a steady serious leader who plays by the rules.

  • In the very short time that she has been in office, Liz Truss has managed to ensure that interest rates have risen and will probably continue to rise for the forseeable future due to the wilful ignorance shown by her and the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is going to cause many mortgage holders to have, possibly, many years of worrying about how to pay their mortgage. Why should she be “rewarded” for her ignorance by being paid an annual sum which is, probably, far in advance of the earnings of those mortgage holders?

    Furthermore, have Conservative MPs forgotten that it was they who wanted Boris Johnson to resign? There is the possibility that the membership of the Conservative Party will vote for Boris as leader. The Conservatives will then be in exactly the same position as Labour were under Jeremy Corbyn; a leader forced on to the Party by the membership who was not wanted by the majority of MPs.

  • In the very short time that she has been in office, Liz Truss has managed to ensure that interest rates have risen and will probably continue to rise for the forseeable future due to the wilful ignorance shown by her and the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is going to cause many mortgage holders to have, possibly, many years of worrying about how to pay their mortgage. Why should she be “rewarded” for her ignorance by being paid an annual sum which is, probably, far in advance of the earnings of those mortgage holders?

    Furthermore, have Conservative MPs forgotten that it was they who wanted Boris Johnson to resign? There is the possibility that the membership of the Conservative Party will vote for Boris as leader. The Conservatives will then be in exactly the same position as Labour were under Jeremy Corbyn; a leader forced on to the Party by the membership who was not wanted by the majority of MPs.

  • Why, when as you acknowledge the £115K is an allowance, claimable only against expenses, does Ed Davey position it as a ‘pension’. Is he genuinely ignorant? Or deceiving for cheap popularity? Any views, anyone?

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