Liz Truss officially becomes UK Prime Minister as Boris Johnson finally steps down

·3-min read
Liz Truss has been appointed as UK Prime Minister
Liz Truss has been appointed as UK Prime Minister

LIZ Truss has been officially appointed as Prime Minister after a brief audience with the Queen at Balmoral.

The Tory leadership race winner met with the monarch at her Aberdeenshire residence at around 12.20pm on Tuesday and emerged around 30 minutes later, after having been asked by the Queen to form the next Government.

Boris Johnson formally stepped down earlier in the day after officially informing the Queen he would resign.

She becomes the first Prime Minister in the Queen’s 70-year reign to be appointed outside of Buckingham Palace.

This is because the Queen is unwell and felt unable to travel back to London after spending the summer in Scotland.

Truss will travel back to London and is expected to give a speech outside Downing Street later in the day.

She now faces the task of appointing her Cabinet – the top group of Government ministers in charge of home affairs, foreign, health, education and energy policy.

Some Johnson loyalists, such as Scottish Secretary Alister Jack are expected to stay on, while others, such as former culture secretary Nadine Dorries and ex-home secretary Priti Patel have already ruled themselves out of a Truss Government.

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And she is thought to be finalising plans to offer struggling households a loan to pay their energy bills which they may be forced to repay "for years", Labour have claimed.

The Daily Telegraph reported that among the measures under consideration is a scheme to freeze bills until the next general election in 2024 while the Times suggested the measures could also apply to businesses whose energy prices are not covered by the household cap.

Details have yet to be announced, with Bloomberg suggesting the Truss administration could directly fix a new unit price that households will pay for electricity and gas, with regulator Ofgem sidelined from its role in setting the price cap.

Treasury Chief Secretary Simon Clarke, a close ally of the new Prime Minister, declined to give details of the package, which is expected to be announced as soon as Thursday.

But he said it will “come very shortly” and “there is a clear commitment to rise to the level of events and to provide early certainty to families and businesses that there will be help available to meet the undoubted challenges that this autumn and winter are going to bring”.

In a sign of lingering resentment at the manner in which he was forced out, Johnson said in his resignation speech, “the baton will be handed over in what has unexpectedly turned out to be a relay race – they changed the rules halfway through, but never mind that now”.

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He said his career is now like a booster rocket “that has fulfilled its function and I will now be gently re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the Pacific”.

Johnson declared “like Cincinnatus, I am returning to my plough” – a reference is to ancient Roman statesman Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.

Before entering No 10, an ambitious Johnson had frequently said he would serve as prime minister if he was “called from my plough” like the Roman.

He added: “I will be offering this Government nothing but my most fervent support”, calling for Tories to unite behind the new leader at a “tough time for the economy”.

“I say to my fellow Conservatives, it’s time for politics to be over, folks,” he said.

“It’s time for us all to get behind Liz Truss and her team, and her programme, and deliver for the people of this country.