The new prime minister

September 11, 2022

Defeating her rival Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss has become the third female prime minister of the United Kingdom

The new prime minister


iz Truss has become the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party and the prime minister of the United Kingdom, succeeding Boris Johnson, who resigned earlier this year.

The Tories have been in power for the last 12 years, following the general election in May 2010. After defeating her rival Rishi Sunak by polling 57 percent of the party vote, Liz Truss became the third female prime minister of the United Kingdom. All female prime ministers so far have been Conservative.

Soon after her election, she went to Glasgow, where she met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral Castle for her approval. The Queen has appointed every prime minister, but Liz Truss was the first invited to Scotland. Former prime minister Boris Johnson also met the Queen for his farewell meeting in Glasgow.

After taking charge, Truss delivered her first speech in the House of Commons. She pledged to “start cutting taxes from day one”. This includes scrapping the National Insurance hike that came into force in April and suspending green taxes from energy bills to help people cope with increasing costs. She has unveiled relief planning and announced that household energy bills could be capped at around £2,500 a year, with businesses also likely to get some relief. The government is expected to borrow at least £100 billion to pay for it. “I know that families and firms were worried about how they will make ends meet this winter,” said Ms Truss.

“Wholesale gas prices could be capped, meaning the new prime minister’s plan would also help thousands of small businesses teetering on the brink of collapse,” she said.

The economists expect the UK to fall into a recession despite Ms Truss’s energy support plan - albeit a shorter and less severe one. The Bank of England has predicted that the UK will enter a recession later this year.

Local media reported earlier that the cost of UK government borrowing is currently at its highest level for eight years, with the yield on 10-year bonds rising above 3 percent.

The rise in yield indicates investors’ anticipation that the government will have to borrow more in future. It also means any future borrowing will be more expensive.

The UK PM pointed out that Putin’s war in Ukraine and weaponisation of gas supply in Europe was causing global prices to rise. “This has only made more apparent that we must boost our long-term energy security and supply. We will act immediately to help people and businesses with bills but also take decisive action to tackle the root cause of these problems so that we are not in this position again,” she said.

Social care, burden on the NHS, staff shortages in hospitals and care houses, strikes in different departments, cost of living crisis, climate and global warming, illegal immigrants, law and order, gun- and knife-crime are the other issues the prime minister faces.

Liz Truss has announced her 30-member cabinet. She has appointed Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor, Suella Braverman, who stood against her in the leadership contest, takes over from Priti Patel at the Home Office and James Cleverly has been promoted to foreign secretary.

Her closest political ally, Therese Coffey, takes over from deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab. She has rejected calls to appoint a unity cabinet to unite the party after the bruising leadership contest by sacking all the major cabinet-level supporters of her leadership rival Rishi Sunak, including Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, Steve Barclay and George Eustice.

Penny Mordaunt, whom Truss beat to make the final two in the leadership contest, has been rewarded with the leadership of the Commons. Johnson stalwart Kit Malthouse will become education secretary. Lord True has been named the House of Lords leader. Jake Berry will be the new minister without portfolio and Conservative party chairman. Nadhim Zahawi and Simon Clarke will be housing and communities secretaries; Jacob Rees-Mogg, the business and energy secretary. Kemi Badenoch has entered the cabinet as international trade secretary. Chloe Smith will be the health secretary. Alok Sharma will stay on as president for COP26, Brandon Lewis will be justice secretary, Kit Malthouse education secretary, Ranil Jayawardena environment secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan transport secretary, Chris Heaton-Harris Northern Ireland secretary, Alister Jack secretary of state for Scotland, Robert Buckland secretary of state for Wales and Vicky Ford the development minister.

Chris Philp has been appointed chief secretary to the Treasury. Michael Ellis has been appointed attorney general.

Liz Truss, originally from Liberal Democrats, enters office with the most concerning economic inheritance since Margaret Thatcher’s. If the Tories lose the next general election, she will go down in history as the shortest serving prime minister for almost sixty years.

The writer is a correspondent for Geo News, Daily Jang and The News in London

The new prime minister