Liz Truss Will Become UK Conservative PM

The Conservative Party announced on Monday that Liz Truss had been elected as its new leader; she will take office as Britain’s new prime minister on Tuesday, just in time to help the country weather an unprecedented inflationary crisis.

Truss, now 47 years old and foreign secretary, won a leadership battle against Rishi Sunak, a former Treasury official, with the votes of only roughly 170,000 active members of the Conservative Party. The vote count for Truss was 81,326 and for Sunak it was 60,399.

Liz Truss Will Become Uk Conservative Pm
Liz Truss Will Become Uk Conservative Pm

She is under immediate scrutiny to fulfill her campaign pledges to address the cost-of-living crises hitting the United Kingdom and the economic downturn that could last for years.

On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II will formally select Truss as the prime minister of Britain. Because Her Majesty is spending the summer at her Scottish estate, Balmoral, the ceremony will not be held in London, where Buckingham Palace usually is.

As energy and food prices in Britain continued to rise, the country was left with a power vacuum after the two-month leadership contest. Since announcing his resignation on July 7, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made no significant policy decisions, and officials have emphasized that action to address the energy cost crisis will be postponed until Johnson’s successor is in place.

While this is going on, tens of thousands of workers have gone on strike to improve their salaries to keep up with the ever-increasing cost of living. The Bank of England predicts that inflation will hit a 42-year high of 13.3% in October, marking the first time that it has been above 10% since the 1980s. Increasing energy costs are a major factor in this rise; on average, monthly payments will increase by 80% for most households in the United States beginning in November.

I promise to present a radical proposal to reduce taxes and stimulate economic expansion. After her election, Truss assured her party members, “I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy costs, but also dealing with the long term difficulties we have on energy supply.”

“I know that our principles resonate with the British people: our convictions in freedom, in the ability to govern your own life, in low taxes, in personal responsibility,” she continued. “As your party leader, I plan to achieve what we promised those voters right across our great country in 2019, and I know that’s why people voted for us in such large numbers.”

Truss’s dedication to reducing taxes and reducing government involvement has garnered her the support of many conservatives. She and her opponent Sunak have both expressed their appreciation for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her free-market, small-government economic policies.

However, it is unclear how the rest of the British public, especially those who are most in need of government assistance to afford essentials like heating their homes this winter, will react to Truss’s right-wing brand of conservatism, which played so well with party members but who make up far less than 1% of the U.K.’s adult population.

Truss has said he will “immediately” take action to reduce the rising cost of energy, but he has been cagey about providing specifics.

Truss will have to steer the U.K. on the international stage in the face of Russia’s war in Ukraine, an increasingly assertive China, and continuing tensions with the European Union over the aftermath of Brexit, especially in Northern Ireland, though the economy is likely to dominate the first months of his term as prime minister.

Truss received early Tuesday morning compliments from Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, all of which expressed optimism about the prospect of closer connections with the United Kingdom under Truss’s leadership. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern praised May, saying, “She has been a steadfast advocate of the UK’s ’tilt’ to the Indo-Pacific and played a crucial role in negotiating our historic Free Trade Agreement.”

After Johnson, Theresa May, and David Cameron, Truss will become the fourth Conservative prime minister in the United Kingdom in less than six years.

It was the culmination of a string of ethics scandals that ultimately led to Johnson’s resignation in July, when a number of cabinet ministers and lower-level officials resigned in protest over his handling of charges of sexual misconduct by a senior member of his administration.

Truss and Sunak were both influential members of Johnson’s Cabinet; however, Sunak resigned in Johnson’s final days in power.

Prof. Steven Fielding of Nottingham University’s Department of Politics and International Relations speculated that many people could be turned off by a Truss government because of the similarities between his administration and Johnson’s.

She has “made it very apparent that she is a dedicated Boris Johnson admirer,” he said, so “Conservative members have practically elected her as Boris Johnson 2.0.” There’s a good chance she won’t be able to shake the Johnson legacy.

Rather than calling for a general election, the parliamentary system of governance in Britain permitted the center-right Conservative Party to organize an internal election to choose a new party leader and prime minister. It will be necessary to have a fresh general election in December of 2024.