LIZ TRUSS didn’t want to stick around in No10 after announcing her resignation at lunchtime on Thursday after just 45 days as Prime Minister.
So it fell to her friend and chief of staff Mark Fullbrook to gather the Downing Street employees and thank them for their hard work.
Liz Truss delivered her resignation statement in Downing Street after being told she had lost the confidence of her party
He addressed the troops in No 10’s wood-panelled state dining room.
After praising their dedication, he said of Ms Truss: “The country wasn’t ready for her.”
But surveying the wreckage of her brief but disastrous time in office, most Tory MPs say the opposite is true. Ms Truss was not ready to lead her country.
Mr Fullbrook’s speech ended an astonishing 24 hours which saw politics — and the Tory Party — descend into meltdown.
Parliament’s historic corridors became the scene of fights, tears and foul-mouthed slanging matches as the PM lost her grip on power.
One shell-shocked senior Tory said: “It is utter carnage, the whole place has gone berserk. We are acting like an old communist regime having fights because we can’t sort out our differences like adults.”
It began the day before Ms Truss’s resignation on Wednesday lunchtime. She faced a make-or-break PMQs.
Her authority had been shredded after she sacked Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and watched as her new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, tore up her mini Budget — the very essence of her economic project dubbed Trussonomics.
During a bruising 32 minutes she was left isolated as she refused to respond to stinging criticism that her woeful policies had sent mortgage costs soaring.
Despite the hostility of the vast majority of Tory MPs who sat stony faced and silent around her, she managed to limp through her bout with Keir Starmer just about intact.
However, a few hours later Ms Truss was hit by another — more stinging — blow.
Shortly before 5pm, Home Secretary Suella Braverman stormed out with a blistering resignation letter attacking the “direction of the Government” and accusing the PM of going soft on small boats and immigration.
Officially, the Home Secretary had been sacked for accidentally sending an email containing secret government information from her personal address, flouting strict rules.
The truth was that they had an almighty dust-up over Ms Truss’s plans to throw open the doors to new immigrants.
As news of the shock falling out swept through Westminster, Tory plotters wondered aloud if the PM could survive the blow.
The row left Ms Truss’s battered premiership on life support. But it was the carnage which engulfed the vote on fracking at 7pm that night that killed her off.
Truss’ authority had been shredded after she sacked Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng
Home Secretary Suella Braverman stormed out with a blistering resignation letter attacking the ‘direction of the Government’
Tory MPs had been ordered to vote against a Labour motion which would have banned fracking. Would-be rebels were warned it was a confidence vote, and those who defied the whips would be booted out of the Tory parliamentary party.
Yet after a host of popular Tory MPs threatened to mutiny, No 10 issued a screeching U-turn and the minister in charge told the Commons it would no longer be a confidence vote. But no one had told the whips.
They are in charge of party discipline, and it is their job to enforce the will of the leader. But in a remarkable role reversal, they took an axe to Ms Truss’s authority.
Tory MPs crowded into the division lobbies demanding to know which way to vote.
Amid the mayhem, chief whip Wendy Morton quit on the spot, storming off.
Ms Truss dashed after her through the division lobbies, briefly losing her close protection officers and forgetting to scan her own card to register her vote in the pandemonium that ensued.
As Ms Morton strode forward she told confused MPs: “It is not my problem any more — I’ve quit.”
Deputy chief whip Craig Whittaker also threw in the towel amid the chaos.
As shocked MPs watched, he declared: “I am f***ing furious and I don’t give a f*** any more.”
Tory MP Alex Stafford was said to have been “man-handled” and “jostled” through the division lobbies as appalled MPs around him shouted “it’s a disgrace”.
Furious backbenchers yelled “it’s a shambles” at the PM as she strode “ashen-faced” through the unruly scenes.
Speakaing to HOAR on Sunday from inside the division lobbies, one senior Tory said: “It’s absolute chaos. It’s falling apart.”
Another added: “It’s like a zoo of hungry, wild animals.”
Open-mouthed MPs fled back to one of the bars in Parliament overlooking the Thames to have a pint and swap tales of the carnage they had just witnessed.
One shadow cabinet minister nearly choked on his beer as he told colleagues: “In all my years as an MP I have never seen anything like it. The Tories are at war with each other.
“I walked past and I think one of them called me a twat!”
As shell-shocked Tory MPs streamed back to the bar they openly speculated that it was the end of Ms Truss.
“How can she survive this?”, one said. “It must be all over.”
As they drowned their sorrows late into the night at the Strangers’ Bar, furious party whips were huddled in their office in the House of Commons where they were venting their fury at the PM.
Around 10pm, Ms Truss turned up to try to patch things up with them.
But in an extraordinary act of defiance, a junior whip rounded on the beleaguered PM and demanded she immediately reinstate Ms Morton as chief whip.
Fall on her sword
“If you let Wendy quit or sack her we will all resign”, they barked.
Ms Morton and the PM headed back to No 10, where they spoke late into the night.
Ms Truss told her she had a “reset” on the cards with plans to slash business regulations.
The chief whip agreed to give the PM “one more week” to see if she could salvage her beleaguered premiership.
At 1.33am Tory press HQ issued a hurried statement saying the PM had “full support” in her chief and deputy chief whip.
But deep down, the PM knew she could not survive.
Some of her closest supporters are understood to have texted her that evening saying it was time to fall on her sword.
Ms Truss began texting aides at 4am on Thursday morning.
Ms Truss — and her hopes for a great tax-slashing economic boom — were washed away as the storm proved too much
By 11.40am Tory Sir Graham Brady arrived at No 10. He is the chairman of the 1922 committee, which tells Conservative Party leaders when it is time to quit.
In a frank talk with Ms Truss he told her that after just six short weeks in No10, she had lost the confidence of her party.
At 12.25pm Deputy PM Therese Coffey arrived. As the PM’s closest friend and ally in Parliament, it is understood she was there to “deliver the final message” that all was lost and she must quit.
At 12.49pm Tory Party chairman Jake Berry arrived. He was the final of the three horsemen of Ms Truss’s apocalypse.
She delivered her resignation statement in Downing Street at 1.30pm.
She used the same Jenga-style podium — made specially for her — which she used when she first became PM.
That first day, like her last one, had been rainy. The PM’s car had taken long detours to delay her so she didn’t have to make her first speech as PM beneath a downpour.
In that victory speech, a defiant Ms Truss had vowed to cut taxes and face down Putin as she promised the country: “Together we can ride out the storm.”
In the end the storm proved too much. And Ms Truss — and her hopes for a great tax-slashing economic boom — were washed away.