Liz Truss: The 7 most common questions about Britain's likely next prime minister

·6-min read
Liz Truss speaking during a hustings event at the NEC in Birmingham as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister. Picture date: Tuesday August 23, 2022.
Liz Truss is expected to win the race to become Britain's next prime minister. (PA)

In less than a week, the UK will have its new prime minister and the red-hot favourite to take over at Number 10 is Liz Truss.

In a recent poll from YouGov, the foreign secretary has a healthy 66% to 34% lead over her rival in the Conservative Party leadership contest, former chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The next prime minister will not be decided by the public, but by around 200,000 Tory members, who are expected to name Truss as the country's next leader when the outcome is announced on Monday, 5 September.

Read more: The big problem facing the UK's likely next prime minister

The deadline for their ballots to be returned, is 5pm on Friday, 2 September, which means barring a political disaster in the next few days, Truss will become prime minister.

So who is she? And what do Britons want to find out about her?

Here, according to Yahoo search data, are the seven most common questions asked about Liz Truss online:

1. Who is Liz Truss?

Liz Truss during a hustings event at the Holiday Inn, in Norwich North, Norfolk, as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister. Picture date: Thursday August 25, 2022.
Liz Truss during a hustings event at the Holiday Inn, in Norwich North, Norfolk. (PA)

While her name has become more familiar to millions of Britons since she emerged as the frontrunner in the Tory leadership contest this summer, Liz Truss is still something of an unknown quantity to huge swathes of the population, which is why this question is among the most searched, according to Yahoo.

She is the current foreign secretary, previously the minister for women and equalities, and has been the MP for South West Norfolk since the 2010 general election.

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Before she went into politics, Truss was an accountant, working for oil and gas giant Shell between 1996 and 2000, later working for now defunct telecommunications company Cable & Wireless as economic director.

Before joining the Conservatives in 1996, Truss had been active in the Liberal Democrats - she was president of the party's branch at the University of Oxford.

Truss went against her left-wing parents' political views when joining the Conservative Party.

2. How old is Liz Truss?

Liz Truss during a visit to Condimentum Ltd, The Food Enterprise Park, in Norwich, Norfolk, as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister. Picture date: Thursday August 25, 2022.
Liz Truss during a visit to a food factory in Norwich, Norfolk, as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister. (PA)

It's the age-old online question about a public figure's age. Yahoo data shows that one of the most common searches about Truss relates to how old she is.

Aged 47, Truss would be eight years younger than her predecessor, Boris Johnson, when he took the job at the age of 55.

But in recent history there have been younger prime ministers - David Cameron and Tony Blair were both 43 when they became leader of the country. John Major was also 47 when he took the top job in politics.

3. Is Liz Truss married?

Liz Truss at Alexander Stadium to watch the athletics with husband Hugh O'Leary on day nine of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday August 6, 2022. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
Liz Truss at Alexander Stadium with her husband, Hugh O'Leary, seated left, during the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. (PA)

Yahoo data revealed that Britons are also interested in Truss's marital status.

She is married to Hugh O'Leary, an accountant who attended the London School of Economics. The couple met at the 1997 Conservative Party conference.

In an interview with You magazine in May 2019, Truss said of their first date: "I invited him ice skating and he sprained his ankle."

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The couple's marriage was tested when it emerged in 2006 that Truss had an affair with married Tory MP Mark Field, her political mentor, between 2004 and 2005. Field's marriage ended in divorce in 2006.

The affair led to a deselection vote in 2009 after Truss had been put forward to be the Tory candidate for South West Norfolk for the following year's general election.

A motion was put forward at the constituency's Conservative Association to end her candidature, but was defeated by 132 votes to 37.

4. Does Liz Truss have children?

Truss and O'Leary have two children, daughters Frances and Liberty, who are in their teens. Truss has kept her children out of the public eye, but did reveal that they have been helping her with her leadership campaign.

She told The Telegraph last month: "My oldest daughter's working on the digital team. She's done a computing GCSE so she's helping out on that.

"And my younger daughter was there as well, giving general political advice."

5. Where was Liz Truss born?

Liz Truss at an event in Leeds as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister. Picture date: Thursday July 28, 2022.
Liz Truss at an event in Leeds, where she grew up, as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister. (PA)

Although her profile on her own website says she was born in Leeds, Liz Truss was, in fact, born in Oxford. Her real name is Mary Elizabeth Truss, but she adopted the shortened version of her middle name from an early age.

She recalls marching up to her primary school teacher at the age of five to demand that her "Mary" name badge be changed.

Truss did grow up in Leeds, in the area of Roundhay. She was criticised for claiming recently that some pupils at her old school had been "let down".

6. Where does Liz Truss live?

Conservative Parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk Elizabeth Truss, whilst canvassing in the village of West Walton, in Norfolk.
Liz Truss campaigning in the village of West Walton, Norfolk, before the 2010 general election. (PA)

According to her website, Truss lives with her husband and two daughters, "dividing her time between Norfolk and London".

Truss lives in the Norfolk market town of Thetford, where she and her family are reported to have been in the same home for about 12 years.

7. Why does Jacob Rees-Mogg support Truss?

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (L), Chief Whip Mark Spencer (C) and Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg (R) leave 10 Downing Street on December 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Pinney/Getty Images)
Liz Truss and Jacob Rees-Mogg pictured leaving 10 Downing Street last December. (Getty Images)

Another popular online question, according to Yahoo data, is about Jacob Rees-Mogg, junior minister for Brexit opportunities, who backed Truss last month in the race to be leader.

He has supported her over a number of issues, and deflected recent criticism of her suggestion that British workers need "more graft".

Rees-Mogg said her remarks, made during her time as a Treasury minister between 2017 and 2019 and leaked last week, were "sensible".

There has been speculation that Truss will make Rees-Mogg housing secretary if she becomes prime minister.

In an interview with You magazine in 2019, Truss called Rees-Mogg "a real sweetie".

Watch: Liz Truss applauded by Tory members after Macron put-down