New Premier Truss offers plan to fix UK economy
Britain’s new Conservative leader Liz Truss pledged “bold” action on Monday to tackle the country’s worst economic crisis in decades as she was confirmed as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s successor after a grueling party contest.
The Foreign Secretary resisted the pressure of a politically perilous snap election to confirm her new term, promising instead to “deliver a big victory for the Conservative Party in 2024”.
Truss beat his rival, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, by around 57-43% after a summer contest decided by just over 170,000 Tory members – a tiny fraction of the British electorate.
Sunak – who has been lukewarm about whether he will serve in Truss’ cabinet – tweeted that the time had come for the party to unite as “one family”.
But Truss ignored her cheering rival as she took the stage at the central London convention hall, calling it an “honor” to be elected after enduring “one of the longest job interviews in the story”.
“I campaigned as a Conservative and I will govern as a Conservative,” she said, touting the Conservative values of low taxes and personal responsibility.
Truss has promised a “bold plan” to deal with tax cuts and the energy crisis, which she says will be financed by much higher borrowing, even at the risk of fueling double-digit inflation.
Truss, 47, will be the UK’s third woman to become prime minister after Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher.
She will officially take office on Tuesday, after Johnson tendered her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
“I know she has the right plan to fight the cost of living crisis, unite our party and continue the great work of unifying and leveling our country,” Johnson tweeted.
“Now is the time for all Tories to support her 100 per cent.”
The leadership race began in July after Johnson announced his departure following a series of scandals and resignations from his government, including that of Sunak.
Truss reserved part of his short speech to praise Johnson’s record, including on Brexit and the Covid pandemic, and said he was “admired from Kyiv to Carlisle”.
This was applauded by loyal Tories in attendance. The right-wing ideologue, however, faces a difficult task in winning over public opinion.
A YouGov poll in late August found 52% thought Truss would make a “poor” or “terrible” prime minister.
Forty-three percent said they didn’t trust him ‘at all’ to deal with the cost of living crisis as energy prices soared amid Russia’s war in Ukraine .
Truss is also viewed with suspicion by some of Britain’s allies, after taking a hard line against the European Union over post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland.
“I look forward to a constructive relationship, in full respect of our agreements,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, pointing to climate change and Ukraine as areas of cooperation. (AFP)