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UK CONSERVATIVES PUT THEIR TRUST IN LIZ TRUSS

Front Pages 05 Sep, 2022 Follow News

UK CONSERVATIVES PUT THEIR TRUST IN LIZ TRUSS

UK CONSERVATIVES PUT THEIR TRUST IN LIZ TRUSS

Liz Truss has been confirmed as the next British Prime Minister.

The 47-year-old becomes the country's 56th prime minister, the third woman to hold the post after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May - who were also Conservatives, the fourth since the controversial Brexit referendum of 2016, and the second since Boris Johnson led the Conservative Party to a major electoral victory in 2019.

The elevation to Prime Minister from Foreign Secretary is the outcome of a selection process within the Conservative Party - first in a shortlist chosen by MPs and subsequently presented to paid-up members of the ruling Conservative Party - to replace Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson whose time at the helm since 2019 was tarnished by a series of scandals, was forced to step down in July in a revolt against his leadership by members of his own cabinet and several other Conservative Party MPs.

Starting her political career as a member of the Liberal Democrats Party, she subsequently defected to the Conservative Party. Liz Truss had also voted against Brexit but has since become one of its strongest advocates.

As Foreign Secretary in the last government, she had ultimate cabinet responsibility for the Overseas Territories, including the Cayman Islands.

The internal battle to replace Mr Johnson has been marked by a bitter six-week campaign between Liz Truss and the former Chancellor of the Exchequer - Minister of Finance - Rishi Sunak, the final two left following an equally fractious selection process.

Mr Sunak was the second cabinet member to dramatically withdraw support from Boris Johnson over issues of the now ex-Prime Minister's judgement and personal integrity while Ms Tuss has remained a ‘Boris loyalist’.

Mr Sunak was the preferred choice among Conservative Party MPs to replace Boris Johnson outpolling her in their parliamentary vote. However, when the choice for leadership was put to ordinary party members following a blistering leadership campaign across the country, the paid-up members tipped the balance in favour of Liz Truss.

She won by a margin of just under 31,000, securing 81,377 votes to her opponent Rishi Sunak’s 50,399, the highest margin since the party introduced new rules for selecting its leaders. Turnout was 83.6 per cent of the registered 172,000 Conservative members.

Despite being members of Mr Johnson’s cabinet, the two had torn into each other’s stance and record on the same policies they had championed as part of the same government.

The new Prime Minister inherits an inbox of prioirty issues including post-Covid recovery, a ballooning cost of living crisis, challenges of implementing Brexit(the exit from the European Union), Russia’s war on Ukraine, alongside a battery of other pressing national and global issues.

Although the leadership campaign was peppered with a series of broad promises, the specifics will be anxiously awaited by British citizens worried over making ends meet.

The mantra of the choice of heating or eating has become embedded in the lexicon of discourse over the state of the economy.

Whatever steps the new prime minister takes to address these urgent policy decisions awaiting her, a close eye will be kept on the political calendar for the next two years with elections are due by 2024.

In her acceptance speech, Liz Truss referred to the gruelling campaign as “the longest ever job interview". She committed to “deliver a bold plan to cut taxes” - a key point of difference between her and Mr Sunak her former cabinet colleague.

She also said she will take urgent steps to alleviate the pressure caused by high energy bills on households and businesses, support the UK's treasured National Health Service(NHS).

In a statement this past weekend, outgoing Prime Minister Johnson called for a halt to the infighting, not just between the Truss and Sunak camps, but within the wider party.

In the coming period, Prime Minister Liz Truss’s policy decisions and political manoeuvrings will be closely scrutinised both within the UK and internationally.

The Conservative Party which she now leads has seen its lead in the polls cut alongside a drop in Mr Johnson’s once seemingly unassailable popularity. It has also lost several critical by-elections recently.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Labour Party has been experiencing a gradual resurgence in its electability along with that of the other opposition - the Liberal Democrats (LibDems).


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