espite having been the Prime Minister for just six weeks, Liz Truss’s government looked on the brink of collapse on Wednesday (October 19), after a chaotic night that saw the resignation of Suella Braverman as home secretary, as well as allegations of manhandling in the House of Commons.
Braverman’s dramatic departure, coming just five days after Truss sacked her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, risks the Prime Minister losing the confidence of her party and witnessing the kind of mass exodus that forced Boris Johnson to quit.
Seven Tory MPs have already publicly called for Truss to go, with many others are believed to have submitted letters of no confidence.
Tory MPs William Wragg, Steven Double, Charles Walker, Angela Richardson, Crispin Blunt, Andrew Bridgen, and Jamie Wallis have all stated they believe she should resign, while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described her as a “threat”.
The Daily Mail reported that Tory MPs will attempt to oust the PM this week, with more than 100 already planning to submit letters of no confidence.
But, aside from losing a general election or resigning, how can a prime minister be forced to leave?
Can a Prime Minister be made to stand down?
There are a few ways the prime minister can be sacked.
A PM can be fired through a vote of confidence among Conservative lawmakers. However, a vote cannot be held until September 2023, as the party rules state the leader is safe from a formal challenge for their first year in office.
If there was sufficient pressure from within the party, though, the 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers could change the rules and enable a confidence vote to take place earlier.
For this to happen, 15 per cent of the Conservative Party’s 356 lawmakers would need to write a letter to the Chairman of the 1922 committee requesting a confidence vote.
A vote of no confidence could also be put forward by opposition parties. If enough Tory MPs can side with the opposition and the government lost, the PM would be expected to either resign or request a dissolution of Parliament, triggering an election.
Another way the PM could be fired is if she calls a general election.
If Truss steps down or loses a vote of confidence from Conservative legislators in her leadership, the 1922 Committee is in charge of the procedure for choosing a new head of state.
It occurred earlier this year, when a specific number of candidates were needed to qualify for the ballot and were subsequently reduced by lawmaker ballots to a final two – Truss and Rishi Sunak.
It was a lengthy process, so some have suggested the committee should employ a different method, such as supporting a unity candidate by making the nominations hurdle so high that only one candidate could be on the ballot.
However, others have warned that this way of replacing Truss would be undemocratic.