Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Liz Truss to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister


attributed to him…Daniel Leal/AFP – Getty Images

LONDON – Britain’s Conservative Party announced on Monday that its members had chosen to Les Truss To replace Boris Johnson as leader, transforming into a hawkish diplomat, partisan, and free-market champion to rule a country facing the most serious economic crisis in a generation.

Ms Truss, 47, beat out Rishi Sunak, the former treasurer, whose resignation in July led to the ouster of anarchist Mr Johnson. Her win was by a margin of 57.4 percent to 42.6 percent Widely expected in recent weeks Having taken the lead in the opinion polls.

It makes her the fourth female prime minister of Britain in six years and the third female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May. Like them, they will be welcomed A frightening set of problems.

Double-digit inflation, a looming recession, labor unrest, rising household energy bills and the prospect of fuel shortages this winter – all of this will face Ms Truss as she moves into 10 Downing Street. It also has to reform a deeply divided party after Johnson’s turbulent three-year tenure, which culminated in 2019 with a landslide victory in the general election but which descended into relentless scandals afterward.

In a working speech to a party rally after her victory was announced, Ms Truss promised a “bold plan” to cut taxes and boost the economy, adding: “We will deliver, we will deliver and we will implement.”

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Ms Truss, who served in Mr Johnson’s government and was not part of the Tory rebellion that led to his departure, will formally take over as prime minister on Tuesday at a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where the queen is on vacation. Mr Johnson will bid farewell to the King a little earlier, and draw the curtain, at least for the time being, on his career as a front-line politician.

Mrs. Truss, who was Foreign Minister recently, emerged from a crowded field of eight candidates by appealing to party members with a single-minded message about tax cuts and smaller government. Those are the Conservative axes to draw on, but some economists have said her proposals will do little to solve Britain’s problems, and could even make them worse.

Once the field was narrowed to two candidates, Ms. Truss did not give up her lead over Mr. Sunak. He would have made history himself if he had won, becoming the first non-white prime minister in British history.

But Mr. Sunak’s message – that the government should not cut taxes before it tames inflation – was less attractive to the 160,000 party members who voted. Nor did many forgive him for his role in Johnson’s ouster; He was one of two major Conservative figures, along with Sajid Javid, to resign from the government, leading to a wave of schisms that made Mr Johnson’s position untenable.

Mrs. Truss won 81,326 votes to Mr. Sunak’s 60,399, a margin that was not as comfortable as expected from some polls. Analysts noted that Mr. Sunak, not Ms. Truss, was the top pick for conservative lawmakers in the first round of the leadership contest.

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Nonetheless, Ms Truss has made an impressive political journey to the top of the Conservative Party. Raised in a left-wing family, with a father who was a mathematician and a mother who was a nurse and teacher, she was an active member of the British centrist party, the Liberal Democrats, as a student at Oxford University, and once called for a vote to abolish the monarchy.

Moving to the Conservative Party after her graduation, Ms Truss advanced through six cabinet positions under three Conservative prime ministers: Mr Johnson, Mrs May and David Cameron. Like Mr Cameron, she campaigned against Brexit in the 2016 referendum campaign, but became a staunch supporter of Brexit after the vote.

Ms Truss will likely be judged by her handling of Britain’s next economic storm. With household energy bills soaring 80 per cent and some economists predicting inflation will hit 20 per cent by early next year, many believe Ms Truss will have to announce sweeping measures to protect vulnerable families.

She declined to elaborate on possible government aid and ruled out measures such as fuel savings or the imposition of a windfall profit tax on energy companies. At her latest campaign event in London last week, Ms Truss pledged not to levy any additional taxes, a promise some experts said would be difficult to keep.