Liz Truss confirmed as Britain’s next prime minister

LONDON — Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been announced as the U.K.’s next prime minister, after beating Rishi Sunak in the Conservative Party leadership race on Monday.

Truss, 47, said it had been an “honor to be elected,” and thanked her party for organizing “one of the longest job interviews in history.”

Liz Truss, at the microphone, emphasizes a point.
Liz Truss, Britain's foreign secretary, was announced in London as the next prime minister on Monday. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The contest of who would take over from Boris Johnson began weeks ago with a broader field of contenders, but the race was whittled down to Truss and Sunak, the former chancellor of the Exchequer. The pair battled it out, with Truss eventually taking a clear lead in the polls.

On Friday, roughly 160,000 members of the Conservative Party voted in the election of their next leader. After a weekend of counting ballots, Truss ultimately won 81,326 votes and Sunak 60,399 votes.

Rishi Sunak waves, with Liz Truss standing by his side.
Rishi Sunak, former chancellor of the Exchequer, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss at an event in London on Aug. 31 during the campaign for the Conservative Party leadership. (Reuters/Hannah McKay)

In her victory speech, Truss announced a new “bold plan” to cut taxes and deliver on the country’s energy crisis. “We will deliver, we will deliver, we will deliver,” she told a crowd of her fellow party members at Westminster on Monday afternoon.

She also thanked her “friend” Johnson, who was brought down amid a series of scandals, including his handling of a sexual misconduct allegation against his former deputy chief whip.

“You are admired from Kyiv to Carlisle,” Truss said of Johnson.

Truss will be the third woman ever to be elected U.K. prime minister, following in the steps of Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May. She will be the 15th prime minister of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

 Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ben Bathurst pass a row of flags of NATO nations.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and a British military representative to NATO, Ben Bathurst, leave NATO headquarters in Brussels on March 24, after a summit meeting on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.(Reuters/Henry Nicholls/Pool)

Truss’s journey to No.10 Downing Street began on July 7. Hours after Johnson announced his resignation as prime minister, Truss cut short her attendance at a G-20 event in Indonesia and announced her bid for the leadership race.

At home, Truss has promised to cut taxes immediately, as well as to “keep corporation tax competitive.” She has also vowed to “unlock the huge opportunities of Brexit, with bold reforms.” As foreign secretary dealing with Brexit, Truss has created controversy over her hard-line stance.

A poster reads: No Irish Sea Border, Unionists Against NI Protocol.
A Ulster Unionist poster protesting the Northern Ireland Protocol at the port in Larne in Northern Ireland in June. (Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

The EU has bristled at Truss’s proposal to revise the Northern Ireland Protocol. Under the protocol, which Boris Johnson concluded with the EU, there have been no new checks between the U.K.-controlled border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which has remained an EU member.

Truss has also said that if she is appointed prime minister, she will declare China an official threat for the first time. Like Johnson, she takes a tough line on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In July, she told the BBC that “All of Ukraine that has been invaded by Russia is illegally occupied.”

Truss will travel to Scotland on Tuesday to meet Queen Elizabeth II, who will ask Truss to form a government in her name.