| 14 July 2024, Sunday |

Britain’s shortest-serving Prime Ministers

Liz Truss resigned as prime minister on Thursday 44 days after starting the job, making her Britain’s shortest-serving premier.


Below are the country’s other leaders who did not make it through their first year.


George Canning – 118 days


The Tory statesman’s time in office was cut short by death, aged 57, possibly from pneumonia or tuberculosis, on Aug. 8, 1827. The champion of Catholic emancipation was also famous for fighting a duel when foreign minister.


Viscount Goderich – 143 days


Goderich, whose real name was Frederick Robinson, succeeded Canning but struggled to contain a turbulent coalition and, with the king’s confidence in him fading, resigned in January 1828 in his fifth month in office.


Andrew Bonar Law – 209 days


Law was forced to resign in May 1923 as his throat cancer advanced and made it difficult for him to speak in parliament. The Conservative died less than six months later.


The Duke of Devonshire – 225 days


William Cavendish, the 4th Duke of Devonshire and a Whig, was seen as de facto prime minister during a caretaker government and stepped down in June 1757.


The Earl of Shelburne – 265 days


Dublin-born William Petty, the 2nd Earl of Shelburne, was in office when the treaty of Paris, which ended the American War of Independence, was signed. He resigned in March 1783, pressed by the opposition after falling out with colleagues over reforms.


The Earl of Bute – 317 days


John Stuart, third Earl of Bute, was the first prime minister from Scotland after the Acts of Union in 1707. He had been tutor to Prince George, later George III, and rose on his royal connections, but fell afoul of infighting particularly in the wake of an uppopular Cider Tax, and resigned in April 1763.


Truss’s immediate predecessors, her fellow Conservatives Boris Johnson and Theresa May, both ended their tenures with forced resignations. But they each notched up more than three years first.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat