What to Know About Liz Truss, Britain’s New Prime Minister


Nearly two months after Boris Johnson reluctantly introduced his resignation on the steps of 10 Downing Road, Britain has lastly chosen a brand new chief: Liz Truss.

“It’s an honour to be elected as chief of the Conservative and Unionist Celebration. I’d wish to thank the 1922 Committee, the occasion chairman of the Conservative Celebration, for organizing one of many longest job interviews in historical past,” Truss joked, after the outcomes had been introduced on Monday. “I’d additionally wish to thank my household, my pals, my political colleagues, and all of those that helped on this marketing campaign. I’m extremely grateful for your entire help.”

Truss’s victory over her management rival, the previous Chancellor Rishi Sunak, had been extensively considered a foregone conclusion in Westminster. She rapidly emerged the runaway favourite among the many Conservative Celebration’s card-carrying members (second solely to her erstwhile boss). Regardless of the U.Ok.’s soon-to-be third feminine chief’s efforts to advertise herself because the ideological reincarnate of its first, Margaret Thatcher, Truss is probably most aptly seen because the continuity Johnson candidate. And maybe simply as properly: After she is formally appointed Prime Minister by the Queen on Sept. 6, Truss’s first order of enterprise shall be to deal with the various crises that her predecessor left behind.

Right here’s what to find out about her.

Who’s Liz Truss?

Recognized for being a political chameleon, Truss has worn a number of ideological hats over the course of her life. Born in Oxford to a left-wing household, Truss’s childhood typically concerned becoming a member of her mom on demonstrations in favor of nuclear disarmament and in opposition to Thatcher’s Conservative authorities, which ushered in sweeping financial reforms centered round free markets, privatization, and a small state. As a pupil at Oxford College, she led the centrist Liberal Democrats’ pupil society and advocated for the abolition of the monarchy. She later switched her allegiance to the Conservative Celebration—a transition she attributed to maturity. (“All of us had teenage misadventures,” Truss told Conservative voters on the marketing campaign path. “Some individuals had intercourse, medication, and rock ‘n’ roll. I had the Liberal Democrats.”)

Revelations that Truss had an affair within the early 2000s with a Conservative lawmaker 10 years her senior threatened to derail her parliamentary ambitions. However she was elected an MP in 2010 and rose by way of the Tory ranks. In 2014, Truss grew to become the nation’s youngest female cabinet minister as environmental secretary in David Cameron’s authorities and finally went on to serve within the cupboards of Theresa Could and Johnson.

Throughout the 2016 Brexit referendum, simply six years into her tenure as a Conservative lawmaker, Truss grew to become a vocal proponent for the U.Ok. to remain within the E.U., calling Brexit a “triple tragedy” advocated by these “dwelling in cloud cuckoo land.”

Six years on, Truss is an arch-Brexiteer and a standard-bearer of the nation’s Euroskeptic, Thatcherite right-wing—a place that made her the pure darling of the Conservative Celebration trustworthy. She describes herself as “relentless,” which might assist clarify her fast rise by way of the Conservative ranks. She can also be seen as fiercely loyal, having been one of many few ministers to not resign through the fall of Johnson’s scandal-plagued premiership. To her critics, nonetheless, she is a political opportunist—somebody who can tack quickly and fully to no matter place fits her on the time.

Learn Extra: Why U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Resigned

How does she examine to Boris Johnson?

From all the pieces Truss has stated on the marketing campaign path, it’s clear that she is “broadly continuity Johnson,” says Gavin Barwell, a former Conservative minister and chief of workers to ex-Prime Minister Theresa Could. On issues of overseas coverage, Truss is in lockstep along with her predecessor, particularly in the case of help for Ukraine. On financial coverage, nonetheless, Truss advocates for tax cuts and affords a maybe much more divergent view in some areas—significantly in the case of social spending, the place Johnson had bucked his occasion’s views on restricted authorities.

Like Johnson, Truss is thought for having a little bit of a goofy public persona—one that’s greatest illustrated by her viral speech on British pork markets. What stays to be seen, nonetheless, is whether or not she is going to have the ability to match Johnson’s recognition, particularly among the many Tory grassroots. “Only a few individuals might match Boris Johson’s charismatic enchantment,” says Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary College in London and the top of a research project specializing in the membership of the U.Ok.’s primary political events. “Liz Truss definitely can’t.”

Maybe the necessary commonality shall be whether or not Truss chooses to proceed the Johnsonian legacy of undermining British political norms and conventions. Like Johnson, Truss has indicated that she might not appoint a brand new ethics adviser, a task that’s accountable for advising the Prime Minister on ethics in public life. The final two advisers give up over the Johnson authorities’s failure to stick to the ministerial code of conduct. However the way in which Truss sees it, her authorities received’t be needing such monitoring. “I’m any person who has at all times acted with integrity,” she said on the marketing campaign path, “and that’s what I might do as Prime Minister.”

What do different world leaders make of her?

As Overseas Secretary, Truss has had loads of face time with world leaders. However she is certain to face main challenges, particularly over her relationship with the U.Ok.’s European allies. Relations between the U.Ok. and the E.U. soured earlier this yr after Truss launched laws that threatens to unilaterally undermine the fragile post-Brexit buying and selling preparations on the island of Eire—which is separated by Northern Eire, which is a part of the U.Ok., and the Republic of Eire, which is an E.U. member state. As a candidate, Truss pledged to ship on laws that can unilaterally scrap checks on items going between Northern Eire and the remainder of the U.Ok., regardless of considerations that it might breach worldwide legislation.

Truss drew additional criticism on the marketing campaign path for saying that “the jury’s out” on whether or not French President Emmanuel Macron is a buddy or foe of the U.Ok. (Macron, in a seemingly exasperated response, reaffirmed that the U.Ok. is a pleasant nation, “regardless, and typically despite, its leaders.”)

“That mirrored her actual intestine feeling about coping with the Europeans,” says Peter Ricketts, a former British diplomat who served because the U.Ok.’s ambassador to France. “I feel we’re headed into even rougher waters with the Europeans, even than beneath Johnson.”

One other necessary relationship to observe shall be with the White Home. Truss has reportedly expressed much less enthusiasm for the so-called “particular relationship” between the U.S. and the U.Ok. than previous prime ministers. Though she is going to undoubtedly proceed the shut cooperation between London and Washington, particularly in the case of shared coverage on Russia and China, there’s certain to be friction with the Biden Administration over her plans to proceed with rewriting the Northern Eire Protocol.

Learn Extra: Boris Johnson Shattered Britain’s Political Norms. Ultimately, That Was His Undoing

What’s she up in opposition to?

At this level, it could be simpler to record what she isn’t up in opposition to. Truss’s intray is crammed with quite a few crises left over from the Johnson period, probably the most daunting of which is the nation’s cost-of-living disaster. Britons are going through a winter during which their family power payments might rise by an eye-watering 80%; in July inflation hit a 40-year excessive of 10.1%. Truss has pledged to make passing an emergency finances one among her first orders of enterprise, although she has been tight-lipped about precisely what her bundle of help will entail.

Along with the U.Ok.’s financial challenges, Truss can even need to take care of looming political crises, and never simply in Northern Eire. Over in Scotland, the Scottish Nationalist Celebration shall be awaiting subsequent month’s U.K. Supreme Court hearing on whether or not the devolved Scottish authorities can maintain an independence referendum with out the consent of Westminster—the result of which might renew concentrate on the destiny of the British Union and Truss’s capacity to protect it. Assist for Scottish independence has surged within the years following Brexit—Scotland had voted closely in favor of Stay—reaching a high of 55% final yr. So far as the SNP lawmaker Stewart McDonald is anxious, Truss’s authorities “will nonetheless be voter repellent to most individuals in Scotland,” simply as Johnson’s was.

Past these crises, Truss has additionally to take care of the small matter of uniting her occasion after a bruising management marketing campaign. Whereas this is probably not an excessive amount of of a problem in the case of making peace along with her formal management rivals, a number of of whom are being tipped for plum jobs in her cupboard, it might show harder if her predecessor chooses to play an outsized function in affairs. Like different ex-PMs, Johnson shall be reprising his function in parliament as a rank-and-file MP. However Johnson’s greatest problem to Truss won’t be from the backbenches. “I believe he’ll return to writing an everyday newspaper column, and that can at all times be newsworthy given the sort of particular person he’s,” says Barwell. “And that’s going to be actually difficult for the Prime Minister.”

Will Truss final?

The U.Ok.’s subsequent common election isn’t because of happen till late 2024 or January 2025. Truss might technically name for a snap election earlier than then, although it could be extremely uncommon given the Conservative Celebration’s massive majority in parliament and the opposition Labour Celebration’s significant lead within the polls. However that doesn’t imply that Truss is assured to final by way of to the subsequent election—the Tories have a behavior of booting leaders out. “She might show to be the final on this line of Conservative prime ministers,” says Ricketts. “She’s the fourth in six years. That’s a fairly quick turnover for British politics.”

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Write to Yasmeen Serhan at yasmeen.serhan@time.com.

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