Liz Truss has been confirmed as Britain’s next prime minister. A beaming Liz Truss has taken the stage after her victory to a huge standing ovation, saying it’s an honour to be elected as the leader.
The foreign secretary saw off a Tory leadership challenge from former chancellor Rishi Sunak to win the race to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and the UK’s next PM. She thanked the party for “organising one of the longest job interviews in history”, as well as her supporters.
Liz Truss has pledged to follow through on her promises to voters, saying the Tory party needs to show it can deliver over the next two years. The new prime minister’s manifesto promises on tax, healthcare, climate, Brexit and Ukraine.
She says she has a “bold plan” to cut taxes and grow the UK economy.Ms Truss pledged to cancel out the rise in National Insurance that was announced by Mr Sunak and came into effect in April, in order to put more money in citizens’ pockets.
While she has since been cagey indeed about tackling the cost of living crisis, Ms Truss has promised help with energy bills within a week of taking office and to hold an emergency budget as soon as possible, with the country facing runaway inflation in double-digits and soaring costs while wages stagnate.
Ms Truss also pledged at the outset to scrap Mr Sunak’s planned rise in corporation tax, due to increase from 19 per cent to 23 per cent in 2023 and promised £30bn worth of tax cuts, which she insisted was the only way to revive the ailing British economy.
About 57% of valid votes cast were for Liz Truss. Turnout was pretty high too, with 82.6% of members casting a vote, with 654 rejected, possibly spoiled or filled out incorrectly.
On the NHS – once more on its knees with autumn flu season approaching and a fresh wave of Covid far from unlikely – Ms Truss has backed shifting a greater proportion of healthcare spending towards social care and bringing more doctors out of retirement to help out (surely a sticking plaster if ever there was one).
She has also said that making GP’s surgeries more accessible is key to relieving some of the strain on the UK’s hospitals, which are currently battling dangerously long waiting times and treatment backlogs while starved of resources.
Despite having supported Remain and spoken out at the time about the importance of ready access to Europe, Ms Truss now casts herself not just as the reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher but also as the Brexiteer’s Brexiteer, even more so than Mr Sunak, who actually voted to leave the bloc.
Like Mr Johnson, she has threatened to risk the fragile peace at home by tampering with the Northern Ireland Protocol, insisting that trade between Great Britain and the region must be “free-flowing” and left up to UK courts to legislate, while also pledging to scrap or replace any EU regulations that she views as holding back Britain’s economic recovery.
Apparently still not a matter of much concern to many Tories despite a summer of record temperatures, drought and associated transport chaos, Ms Truss, also a former environment secretary, has at least said she intends to honour the UK’s pledge to hit net zero by 2050 and promised protections for wildlife and biodiversity.
That said, she has also called for a review into the ban on harmful fracking in pursuit of shale gas, encouraged more nuclear power stations and labelled solar farms “a blight on the landscape”.
Potentially placing the new PM in further conflict with the environment is her pledge to see 300,000 new homes built in the UK every year.
Elsewhere, she has also said she hopes to help first-time buyers by incorporating rental payments into mortgage assessments.
Ms Truss has said every pupil must be entitled to “the best opportunity to succeed” regardless of their background, an aspiration drawing on her own supposedly gritty origins at a Leeds comprehensive.
Ms Truss has otherwise said she would like to expand academically-successful academies, introduce more free schools and reform university admission procedures so that places in higher education are offered only based on actual, not predicted, grades while making Oxbridge places available automatically to anyone with the right results.
Ms Truss has moved to reassure Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky that Britain’s support for his country in the face of Russian aggression will be unwavering, six months into an increasingly brutal and costly war that Mr Johnson did much to involve himself with, securing the admiration of Mr Zelensky and his people in the process.
On the prevailing issue of rising energy bills, she says she will “deliver” when it comes to crisis by not only dealing with bills but also the long term supply issues.
“We will deliver, we will deliver, we will deliver,” concludes Truss, focusing on a theme that she returned to constantly during the leadership contest.
The new Tory leader adds that the party will defeat Labour at the 2024 general election.
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