Liz Truss resigned as Prime Minister on Thursday after just 45 days in office, making her the shortest serving PM in UK history.

The new Conservative leader will be elected over the next week.

While you’re keeping up with all the changes going on, you might come across lots of new words and phrases.

So, we’ve taken some of the key political terms you might be hearing and explained what they mean.

General Election

You can vote in the general election when you turn 18
Photo: The Big Issue

A general election allows adults to have their say on who they want to run the country.

In the UK, you can vote in a general election when you turn 18. You can choose who you want to be your Member of Parliament (MP) – the person who goes to Parliament to represent your local area.

The party with the most MPs usually forms the government.

The UK’s last general election was in 2019 and was won by the Conservative Party.

Member of Parliament (MP)

MPs in the House of Commons
Photo: UK Parliament

A Member of Parliament (MP) is a person who represents a certain area of the country in Parliament.

There are 650 MPs in Parliament, each belonging to an area known as a constituency.

Most MPs belong to different political parties – such as the Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat Party.


Liz Truss and her cabinet
Photo: The Guardian

The Cabinet is the prime minister’s top team.

It’s made up of powerful politicians that are responsible for delivering the PM’s promises.

They are in charge of particular areas of UK life, such as the country’s money, education or transport.


A mandate is the authority given to a PM or party by the public to carry out their plans.

Some opposition parties say that because Liz Truss was not elected by the public, she had no mandate for her very different plans.


Photo: Mammoth Memory

A backbencher is a MP who doesn’t have a role in the government or opposition who sits behind the front benches in the House of Commons.