The Independent has launched a petition calling for a general election to be held in the UK following the turmoil caused by recent political events.
Liz Truss had no mandate for her abrupt change of direction when she became prime minister – except from 81,000 Conservative Party members, a tiny and unrepresentative section of the population. Nor does she have any authority for her U-turns, changing the government’s fundamental stance on taxes and public spending twice in a matter of weeks.
The response of many Conservative MPs, even of many who supported her, is to devise ways in which a third prime minister could take office since the last election, without reference either to Conservative members or to the general electorate. This would be to stretch the democratic process too far.
Here at The Independent we believe that if Ms Truss wants to stay on as prime minister, she must put her case to the British people. If her MPs want to replace her as prime minister, whoever replaces her must do likewise. There are, as new chancellor Jeremy Hunt admits, “eye-wateringly” tough decisions to be made in the budget at the end of this month. There will be more to follow.
These are questions that should be decided in a general election, not in the strange bubble of another Conservative leadership election. And for this reason we are calling for a general election to be held.
It is a simple and fundamental principle that the government derives its democratic legitimacy from the people. The future of the country must not be decided by plotting and U-turns at Westminster; it must be decided by the people in a general election.