What’s next for Liz Truss? The new Tory leader’s first days

·4-min read
What’s next for Liz Truss? The new Tory leader’s first days

Liz Truss has been named the new leader of the Conservative Party.

She garnered the most votes from Tory party members to beat rival Rishi Sunak in the contest to succeed Boris Johnson, as was widely expected.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbench MPs, made the formal announcement on Monday.

Here is a look at what comes next for Ms Truss.

– September 5 2022

Following her emergence as the new Conservative leader and her acceptance speech in Westminster, Ms Truss is expected to spend the rest of the day finalising her choices for Cabinet and wider ministerial roles and writing her first prime ministerial speech.

While officials from her team start being brought into government, Ms Truss – who is not yet prime minister – has to wait until the following day to pass through the famous door of No 10.

– September 6 2022

In a break with tradition, Mr Johnson and his successor will go to Balmoral in Scotland for the appointment of the new prime minister on Tuesday, rather than Buckingham Palace.

Under normal circumstances, the pomp and drama of the appointment is mostly confined to London over the course of an afternoon, with the outgoing premier making a statement outside No 10 before a short car ride to Buckingham Palace.

But this time, the departing and incoming prime minister will both have to make the 500-mile journey to the Queen’s Aberdeenshire retreat.

Mr Johnson is expected to make a farewell address outside No 10 at around 7.30am on Tuesday before departing Downing Street for the last time.

Mr Johnson and Ms Truss are expected to fly to Aberdeen on separate planes – a journey likely take a couple of hours.

He is expected to arrive at the door of Balmoral Castle at 11.20am for an audience with the Queen in which he will formally tender his resignation, in what has been described by allies as likely to be a “very sad” occasion for him.

The Queen formally appointed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in Buckingham Palace in July 2019 (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
The Queen formally appointed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in Buckingham Palace in July 2019 (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

Once he has left, the new Tory leader will be invited in for her private audience with the Queen. Ms Truss is die to arrive at Balmoral at 12.10pm and will be appointed Britain’s next prime minister and asked to form an administration.

After around 30 minutes with the Queen, Ms Truss is then expected to fly back to London and arrive at Downing Street to address the nation for the first time as PM at around 4pm.

Lord O’Donnell, who was cabinet secretary when David Cameron took over from Gordon Brown, said “people are forgetting the passion” of the day.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is an incredibly exciting day for that person coming through the door at No 10, it’s the highlight of their career and that may be the biggest moment in their lives”.

Ms Truss will be greeted by the Cabinet Secretary at the door of No 10 and get clapped in by staff before heading into the Cabinet Room to receive “quite scary” security and intelligence briefings from civil servants, he explained.

Liz Truss during a hustings event in Norwich (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)
Liz Truss during a hustings event in Norwich (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

She will be handed the nuclear codes and write “letters of last resort” to commanders of submarines carrying Trident nuclear missiles with orders on what to do if the Government has been wiped out in a nuclear attack.

She is expected to make senior Cabinet appointments. Veteran Westminster watchers have started to speculate about who will take the top spots in her Cabinet, with Kwasi Kwarteng thought to be in line for Chancellor and James Cleverly for Foreign Secretary.

Ms Truss will also receive calls from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, US President Joe Biden and other world leaders wishing her well in the new job.

The change in procedure could delay the highly-anticipated reshuffle, which could potentially be pushed into the late evening if she wants to meet and greet her new team from London as opposed to over the phone.

As constitutional expert and Institute for Government fellow Dr Catherine Haddon has suggested, the change could see appointments announced in “batches” throughout the rest of the week.

It is also likely to have a knock-on effect on the time and place of briefings and congratulatory phone calls, with the new premier being forced to potentially work on-the-move as she journeys back to London.

– September 7 2022

The new Cabinet is due to meet on Wednesday morning before Ms Truss faces Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during her first Prime Minister’s Questions at noon.

She will continue to receive briefings and calls from international leaders as she starts working through her in-tray, which is more daunting than that of many of her recent predecessors, with challenges ranging from the cost-of-living crisis to Ukraine and industrial unrest.