Liz Truss to become British Prime Minister after winning party vote

·3-min read
© AP - Kirsty Wigglesworth

Britain’s Conservative Party has chosen Foreign Secretary Liz Truss as the party’s new leader, putting her in line to be confirmed as prime minister by Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday.

Truss’s selection was announced on Monday in London after a leadership election in which only the 180,000 dues-paying members of the Conservative Party were allowed to vote.

Truss beat rival Rishi Sunak, the government’s former Treasury chief, by promising to increase defence spending and cut taxes.

Truss received 81,326 votes to Sunak's 60,399, taking about 57 percent of the vote.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for the ruling Conservative party to rally around her.

The Brexit figurehead said he backed her plans to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and address inequality.

"Now is the time for all Conservatives to get behind her 100 percent," he tweeted.

Truss herself said she was honoured to lead the Conservative Party.

The 47 year-old will be the UK's third female prime minister following Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher.

Allies and friends

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was quick to congratulate Truss on her victory.

"I am looking forward to our cooperation in these challenging times. The UK and Germany will continue to work closely together – as partners and friends," Scholz said on Twitter.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he had congratulated Liz Truss and that the two countries needed to cooperate closely in the field of energy, notably on nuclear, even if "connections and solidarities" were different since Britain is no longer an EU member.

"I have said welcome to Liz Truss, I have given her congratulations from France and we are available to work together, as one would say, as allies and friends," Macron said in a thinly veiled reference to recent comments by Truss.

Asked at a leadership hustings whether she viewed France as a friend or foe she replied "the jury is still out".

India's President Modi also tweeted his congratulations saying he was confident the India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will be further strengthened.

'Difficult inheritance'

Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to formally name Truss as Britain’s prime minister on Tuesday.

The ceremony will take place at the Queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland, where the monarch is on holiday, rather than at Buckingham Palace.

The two-month leadership contest left Britain with a power vacuum at a time when consumers, workers and businesses were demanding government action to mitigate the impact of soaring food and energy prices.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had no authority to make major policy decisions since 7 July, when he announced his intention to resign.

The Bank of England has forecast that inflation will reach a 42-year high of 13.3 percent in October, threatening to push Britain into a prolonged recession.

“The new prime minister is facing a very, very difficult inheritance,” said Tim Bale, a political analyst and professor at Queen Mary University of London.

A YouGov poll in late August found 52 percent thought Truss would make a "poor" or "terrible" prime minister.

Forty-three percent said they did not trust her "at all" to deal with the burning issue of the rise in the cost of living, as energy prices and inflation soar amid Russia's war in Ukraine.

Under Britain’s parliamentary system of government, the centre-right Conservative Party was allowed to hold an internal election to select a new party leader and prime minister, without going to the wider electorate.

A new general election isn’t required until December 2024.

(with newswires)