A List of the Shortest-Serving UK Prime Ministers (& guess who’s top)

#1 Liz Truss – 44 days

After a tenureship that will certainly go down as one of the most mind-boggling and perhaps underwhelming in all of history, Liz Truss resigned from her post after just 44 days in office! Her quick resignation makes her the shortest serving Prime Minister in the history of the United Kingdom. After her actions in office led to economic and political crisis, the libertarian, anti-monarchy Liz Truss was effectively forced into a corner after several of her key ministers resigned, and officials across the country hounded at her to take responsibility for her actions. The Daily Star, a British tabloid newspaper, began a livestream on 14th October 2022 as part of a gag in order to see whether a lettuce would outlast Truss’ premiership. And, on the 20th October 2022, she announced her resignation long before the lettuce would wilt, leading to the Daily Star declaring the victory of the lettuce over Truss!

#2 George Canning – 119 days

A considerable leap from the 44 days of the previous entry on our list, George Canning was a tory prime minister who took to office in April 1827, only to die four months later after 119 days in office due to ill health. His own rise to power came after the previous Prime Minister had suffered a severe stroke and was forced to step down due to health reasons. Canning’s short-lived tenure has been considered as that of a “lost premiership”, as many historians have speculated what he might have gone on to do if he were to have survived his tuberculosis and served a full term as Prime Minister.

#3 The Viscount Goderich – 144 days

Frederick Robinson, most popularly known as the Viscount Goderich, was a British tory who served as Prime Minister from 1827-1828. Succeeding the previous entry on our list, George Canning, Robinson was unable to hold together a coalition of the two main political parties, the Tories and the Whigs, left behind by his predecessor Canning. As such, he was forced to resign after just 144 days in office. He was succeeded by the famous Duke of Wellington.

#4 Andrew Bonar Law – 211 days

Andrew Bonar Law was a Conservative MP who rose to power after the fall of David Lloyd George’s coalition government in 1922. The popularity of the party was at an all-time high, and they won a staggering majority at the 1922 general election. After becoming party leader, Bonar Law became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom once the party won the election. Unfortunately, due to his relatively short term in office, Bonar Law did not accomplish much, having spent most of his brief tenure in negotiations with the USA over Britain’s WW1 loans. He resigned 211 days after being made Prime Minister due to severe throat cancer, from which he died later that year.

#5 William Cavendish, Lord Cavendish – 225 days

A distant ascendant of the currently reigning King Charles III through his maternal great-grandmother, Lord William Cavendish was a British whig politician who became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1756. During his premiership, he passed the Militia Act and increased taxes to fund the Seven Years War, which Britain would eventually go on to win under his successor. Due to several issues such as the opposition of the currently reigning monarch, as well as a scandal arising from his supposed mishandling of a court martial, he was forced to resign and was replaced by a coalition between Pitt and Newcastle just 225 days into his tenure.

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