In the midst of the chaos that has characterized the brief term in office of British Prime Minister Liz Truss, the UK tabloid Daily Star launched a live broadcast on October 14, titled: “Can Liz Truss outlast a lettuce?” The video was a static shot of an iceberg lettuce dressed up to look like the Conservative Party leader. On Thursday, the Daily Star had an answer to its question, when Truss announced she was standing down as prime minister. At the time of her announcement, more than 2,000 people were tuning in to see the lettuce. “This lettuce has outlasted Liz Truss” read the banner on the video.
The lettuce comparison stems to an October 11 article in The Economist that referred to the Tory leader as “The Iceberg Lady.” Although Truss succeeded Boris Johnson as the British prime minister on September 6, The Economist argued that she had only really been in office for seven days, given that there were 10 days of mourning after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. It was enough time for the UK economy to come close to collapse following her mini-budget, for the pound to fall to unprecedented levels and for her to dismiss her faithful friend, Kwasi Kwarteng, as chancellor. “[Truss] had seven days in control. That is roughly the shelf-life of a lettuce,” stated the article, which accused of her triggering a deep social and political crisis in the UK.
While The Economist article dubbed the prime minister as “Lady Iceberg;” the Daily Star went one further. The tabloid went down to a Tesco supermarket, bought a lettuce and dressed it up in a blonde wig. Since the broadcast went live on October 14, the lettuce has acquired eyes, while a coffee mug and snacks have also entered the scene.
Six days after the video was shared on YouTube, the pressure on Truss from the Conservative Party reached boiling point. The Tory leader tried to resist despite the party rebellion – telling the press “I am a fighter, not a quitter” on Wednesday – but by Thursday, her position had become untenable. Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, Truss said she had informed King Charles III of her decision to step down and explained that she felt she could not “deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party.”
Following the news, the Daily Star announced “this lettuce has outlasted Liz Truss” as the song Celebration by Kool & The Gang played in the background. Bottles of alcohol and disco lights also appeared in the video. In an article, the tabloid described it as a “glorious victory” for the lettuce, adding that the vegetable had not confirmed whether it will run to replace Truss as prime minister.