How Humza Yousaf’s short Scotland stint compares to Liz ‘Lettuce’ Truss

LONDON — Humza Yousaf’s resignation as Scottish first minister after just a year in power sees him join a growing pantheon of British political leaders leaving office when they’ve only just got started.

The number of defenestrations has shot up this side of the millennium, bringing the retirement age for U.K. politicians crashing down.

Let POLITICO guide you through those towering figures we hardly had time to poke fun at — as we calculate how their tenure stacks up against a true all-timer.

Liz Truss — 49 days, or 1 Liz Truss

Where else could we start? Britain’s shortest-ever serving prime minister quit in October 2022 after her mini-budget precipitated market turmoil. Infamously outlasted by a lettuce, Truss now spends her time complaining about the “deep state.” Did you hear she’s got a book out?

Humza Yousaf — 397 days (8.1 Liz Trusses)

New kid on the block Yousaf only took on the job of Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland’s first minister last year. But the botched axing of his power sharing deal with the Scottish Greens saw all opposition parties lose confidence in him, making the job of running a minority government impossible. From then on, the writing was on the wall.

Alec Douglas-Home — 364 days (7.4 Liz Trusses)

Here’s a blast from the past. Prime Minister Douglas-Home entered No. 10 Downing Street in 1963, only to lose the general election the following year to Labour’s Harold Wilson. Still, he made a comeback as foreign secretary in 1970, making him the Original David Cameron.

Henry McLeish — 377 days (7.7 Liz Trusses)

Yousaf can take comfort that he’s not the only Scottish first minister to be ejected from Bute House before really settling in. McLeish, who led Scottish Labour, resigned in 2001 over an expenses scandal dubbed “Officegate.” Yes, that really is as dull as it sounds.

Alun Michael — 273 days (5.6 Liz Trusses)

The debut first secretary of Wales (before the title changed to first minister) stepped down in 2000 to avoid a pesky no confidence vote about EU funding. He’s now living his absolutely best life as police and crime commissioner for south Wales, though he steps down Thursday.

Jackson Carlaw — 167 days (3.4 Liz Trusses)

Now we’re talking. Carlaw officially took over the Scottish Conservatives in February 2020 (a nice quiet time for the world) after the popular Ruth Davidson stood down. Despite a trial run at the helm during Davidson’s maternity leave, Carlow didn’t cut it, and resigned that July after reaching the “simple if painful conclusion” he was not the best person to lead the party. Ouch.

George Barnes — 357 days (7.3 Liz Trusses)

Labour is not known for removing its leaders with haste. Barnes resigned as the left-wing party’s leader in 1911, two months after the December 1910 election. But he later got to serve as pensions minister under David Lloyd George, showing how quitting while you’re ahead can sometimes help.

Jim Murphy — 182 days (3.7 Liz Trusses)

Murphy was handed something of a poisoned chalice as Scottish Labour leader in December 2014 — just three months after the Scottish independence referendum when the SNP was riding high. He led the party into the 2015 general election where it lost … 40 of its 41 seats (including his own) to the SNP. Murphy exited stage right the following month.

Jo Swinson — 144 days (2.9 Liz Trusses)

Britain’s next prime minister? Probably not. Swinson’s ascendency to the top of the Lib Dems in July 2019 came at the height of the country’s Brexit wars. Promising to cancel Brexit if a Lib Dem majority government was elected, the 2019 general election instead saw her East Dunbartonshire seat go to, you’ve guessed it, the SNP.

Edwin Poots — 33 days (0.7 Liz Trusses)

This dude makes Truss look good. Poots’ time as Democratic Unionist Party leader came to an abrupt end in June 2021 after an internal revolt. The young Earth creationist was shown the door — but Poots had the last laugh and now serves as speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Are UKIPing?

Remember this lot? The Brexiteer U.K. Independent Party (UKIP) played a major part in the campaign to get Britain out of the EU. But after achieving its big aim in the 2016 Brexit referendum, the stability Nigel Farage’s leadership offered (no, really) went off a cliff.

Diane James lasted 18 days (0.4 Liz Trusses) while her successor Paul Nuttall managed a comparatively respectable 193 (3.9 Liz Trusses).

Henry Bolton, er, bolted as leader in February 2018 after 141 days (2.9 Liz Trusses) in the job when members backed his removal. Neil Hamilton, a former Tory MP hit by scandal, has now steered the UKIP ship since September 2020. That’s a whopping 27 Liz Trusses.