Liz Truss to be UK’s next prime minister
Liz Truss will be the next prime minister of the United Kingdom (U.K.) after winning the race on Monday to lead the Conservative Party.
Truss will take over the role from Boris Johnson, who announced his resignation in July as his relationship with Conservative lawmakers soured over his handling of a number of issues. Truss served as foreign secretary under Johnson.
“I am honoured to be elected Leader of the Conservative Party,” Truss said after the announcement.
“Thank you for putting your trust in me to lead and deliver for our great country,” she continued. “I will take bold action to get all of us through these tough times, grow our economy and unleash the United Kingdom’s potential.”
Truss, who promised to increase defense spending and cut taxes during the campaign, will assume the prime minister role as the country faces skyrocketing energy prices and high inflation.
She received 57.4 percent of the vote, beating out rival Rishi Sunak, Britain’s former finance minister, who received 42.6 percent of the vote.
Truss was largely viewed as the frontrunner during the campaign. Roughly 172,000 dues-paying Conservative Party members cast ballots in the election after the party’s lawmakers nominated eight candidates and narrowed the ballot list to Truss and Sunak.
Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to formally appoint Truss as Britain’s prime minister on Tuesday during a ceremony at her Balmoral estate in Scotland.
In remarks directly following the announcement, Truss doubled down on her plan to grow Britain’s economy by cutting taxes, also emphasizing her belief in “personal responsibility.”
“During this leadership campaign, I campaigned as a conservative, and I will govern as a conservative,” she said.
Truss also vowed to take action on the country’s mounting energy issues, characterizing it as a “crisis.”
Annual energy bills for the average U.K. household have already risen by 54 percent this year, and consumers will see another hike in October that brings the gain to roughly 80 percent.
Global oil and gas prices jumped as demand surged from countries recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Supply strains resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have furthered the imbalance of energy supplies and demand, contributing to price gains and fueling fears of a recession.
Britain’s annual inflation rate hit 10.1 percent in July, a 40-year high that outpaces other places in Europe and the U.S.
“I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply,” Truss said on Monday.
The Conservative Party has maintained a healthy majority since the country’s 2019 elections. Johnson has served atop the party since that year but came under increasing pressure to step aside in recent months over a variety of issues, eventually leading to his resignation announcement in July.
The prime minister attended gatherings in his office and other government buildings in 2020 and 2021 when the country imposed pandemic restrictions on parties, leading Johnson to become the first sitting prime minister to receive fines.
Some in his party later called for Johnson’s resignation over his handling of sexual misconduct allegations against his deputy chief whip.
Sunak, Truss’s most formidable opponent in the race, resigned last year amid the scandals, days before Johnson announced he would leave 10 Downing St.
Truss remained in Johnson’s Cabinet and on Monday called him a “friend.”
“Boris — you got Brexit done, you crushed Jeremy Corbyn, you rolled out the vaccine and you stood up to Vladimir Putin,” she said. “You are admired from Kyiv to Carlisle.”
Keir Starmer, the leader of U.K.’s Labour Party, congratulated Truss on her victory.
“But after 12 years of the Tories all we have to show for it is low wages, high prices and a Tory cost of living crisis,” Starmer tweeted. “Only Labour can deliver the fresh start our country needs.”
Updated at 8:47 a.m.