Irish Leader Calls for New British PM to be Appointed Fast

Ireland’s prime minister Micheal Martin called for a new British prime minister to be appointed “as quickly as possible” on Thursday, October 20, following Liz Truss’s announcement that she has resigned as leader of the Conservative Party.

“We would like to see the UK system within its capacity be in a position to have a successor selected as quickly as possible and that stability be brought to the situation given to the fairly significant geopolitical issues facing Europe,” Martin said.

Martin, who made his comments while attending a meeting at the European Commission in Brussels, also expressed his sympathies to Truss.

Truss said she would remain on as prime minister until her successor was chosen. The leadership election would be completed within the next week, Truss said.

Truss was appointed prime minister on September 6, following a leadership contest after the resignation of Boris Johnson. Credit: Micheal Martin via Storyful

Video Transcript

MICHAEL MARTIN: Could I just first of all say that we're here today at the European Union Council meeting to deal with a number of major issues but two major ones. Obviously, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis. First of all in terms of the war on Ukraine, we're heading into a very difficult winter.

It's very clear that those increased attacks on civilians, on energy infrastructure in Ukraine, which I think will have consequences down the line, it is war crimes, in essence, happening now in front of our very eyes by a state against a neighboring state. Destroying critical infrastructure for people to live their lives and it's appalling stuff. And I condemn it unreservedly. And call on Russia to stop these attacks on civilians.

In respect of energy, it will be a challenging meeting today given that we're all coming from different perspectives. There's different energy mixes. And so the attempt will be to try and achieve a balanced outcome to the various set of proposals that will come from different member states. Ireland's approaching this in terms of we do want lower prices, we certainly want the stabilization of the market, and some of the measures and the conclusions could lead to a stabilization of the market and avoidance of price spikes.

But all of this is new territory in the sense that it has never been tried before. But it is in the context of an unprecedented energy crisis and price levels, which is also impacting on industry. And we will have a very difficult winter given the energy situation. Our objectives have always been to protect households, protect jobs. But across Europe, there are increasing signs that heavy industry and industries will find the price of energy particularly impactful on their production. Also raising competitive issues vis-a-vis the United States, or indeed China.

So there are very serious issues facing Europe now as a whole in terms of the impact of the energy crisis from an industrial perspective. From our perspective also security supply is key. We import 75% of our gas from the United Kingdom and Norway contributes to that supply also. So whatever measures are taken we're saying that national circumstances have to be taken into account and that they must not in an unintended way interrupt security of supply. So that's a key principle of ours. We believe the conclusions do accommodate national circumstances.

Thirdly, could I say a separate matter, that I've seen the statement, saw the statement of the British Prime Minister Liz Truss, in terms of her decision to resign. On a personal level, I sympathize with her. I think it's been a very difficult time for the British Prime Minister given all that has happened, and so on. And then, therefore, I think what's important as Britain's nearest neighbor, we have significant economic and relationship and many other relationships with the United Kingdom, I think stability is very important.

And we would like to see the UK system within its capacity to be in a position to have a successor selected as quickly as possible. And that stability will be brought to the situation, given the fairly significant geopolitical issues facing Europe. Not least the issues I've just discussed, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis. It's a matter for Britain and the British political system, but stability is important during these times when a major war is underway on the continent of Europe.