Prime Minister Liz Truss has quit – sparking a new Tory leadership contest for Number 10.
The next PM will be installed within days.
Ms Truss is the shortest serving Prime Minister in British political history – a mere 44 days.
Making her announcement in Downing Street, she said she “cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party”.
She added: “I have therefore spoken to His Majesty The King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.
“This morning (Thursday) I met the chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady.
“We have agreed that there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week.
“This will ensure that we remain on a path to deliver our fiscal plans and maintain our countries economic stability and national security.
“I will remain as Prime Minister until a successor has been chosen.”
Ms Truss delivered her announcement without any sense of emotion.
Her husband Hugh stood to her side.
Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, said:
“I have spoken to the party chairman, Jake Berry, and he has confirmed that it will be possible to conduct a ballot and conclude a leadership election by Friday the 28th of October.
“So, we should have a new leader in place before the fiscal statement which will take place on the 31st.”
During Ms Truss’ tenure the country has seen unprecedented political turmoil.
A botched mini budget, that sent world money markets into a tailspin, saw a swift end to Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng holding office.
He was asked to go.
However, the surprise resignation of Home Secretary Suella Braverman was the final straw for the beleaguered PM.
The favourites – so far – to replace Ms Truss are Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Ms Braverman, and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
Jeremy Hunt, who was parachuted in to replace Mr Kwarteng, has said he will not stand.
Once again Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a General Election.
He said: “The British public deserve a proper say on the country’s future”.