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05th Sep 2022

Liz Truss elected leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Jack Peat

She will be sworn in by the Queen at Balmoral on Tuesday 

Liz Truss has been elected leader of the Conservative Party and the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The former Foreign Secretary won 81,326 votes to Rishi Sunak’s 60,399. Turnout was 82.6 per cent among 172,437 party members.

Speaking at the event, Truss thanked Johnson for his work as Prime Minister.

She said: “You got Brexit done, you crushed Jeremy Corbyn and you stood up to Vladimir Putin.

“You are admired from Kyiv to Carlisle.”

Addressing the public, Truss said she will “deal with the energy crisis” and “deliver and deliver” as leader of the Conservative Party.

The win was closer than many expected, with Johnson winning by a margin of almost double her total in 2019.

Leadership contest

Boris Johnson triggered a leadership contest after he signalled his intention to resign on July 7th.

It came just days after his Chancellor, Sunak, and Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, spectacularly quit his cabinet, leading to a raft of resignations that eventually forced his hand.

When Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, opened nominations to replace Johnson on July 11th there were more than ten MPs vying to take his job.

By July 20th, just two were left, after Suella Braverman and Penny Mordaunt were eliminated from the race.

Truss and Sunak have since spent the summer campaigning to win the votes of Conservative Party members, who elect the new leader of the party.

The former Chancellor and the MP for Richmond campaigned on fiscal prudency, refusing to entertain the notion of tax cuts ahead of a looming cost-of-living crisis.

Truss, conversely, opted to do the opposite in a move that is expected to benefit the highest earners 250 times more than the poorest.

It will also create a £60 billion hole in the public finances by 2026, according to calculations by the Financial Times.

When will Boris Johnson resign?

Boris Johnson announced his resignation on July 7th, but has stayed on as caretaker Prime Minister until now.

In that time, he has managed to squeeze in not one but two holidays, heading out to Greece after spending a week at a Slovenian spa.

He has also deferred cost-of-living crisis help to his predecessor, raising questions over how much ‘caretaking’ he actually did.

Some within the party, such as Lord Michael Heseltine and former PM Sir John Major, called for Johnson to go immediately when he announced his intention to stand down in July.

But in true Boris Johnson fashion, he managed to cling on.

The Prime Minister will officially resign on Tuesday when he heads up to Balmoral to address the Queen.

Once Mr Johnson’s audience with the Queen has finished the new prime minister will be sworn into their role, during a service known as ‘kissing hands’.

What will happen then? 

After this has taken place Liz Truss is expected to travel back to No 10 Downing Street, where she will deliver a speech to the assembled media and lay out her vision for the UK.

She will also make public their new cabinet, though this could take until the early hours of the following day to be finalised.

Who is likely to be in a Liz Truss Cabinet?

Former Foreign Secretary Truss is expected to include a handful of her leadership rivals in her Cabinet, as well as her most loyal backers.

Tim Shipman, Chief Political Commentator at the Sunday Times, has unveiled a comprehensive list of Tory MPs expected to make it into top jobs.

Among them, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries will be handed positions, the former as Business Secretary and the latter keeping her role as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Kwasi Kwarteng will be installed as Chancellor and James Cleverly, the current Secretary of State for Education, will be moved to the Foreign Office.

Ben Wallace will remain Defence Secretary while Therese Coffey will come in as Health Secretary and Brandon Lewis will be made Justice Secretary, kicking Dominic Raab out of the position.

What has Liz Truss promised to deliver as Prime Minister? 

Liz Truss has said she will press ahead with plans for the UK to be a low-tax economy with less focus on wealth redistribution under her premiership.

When she was shown calculations that her planned reversal of a recent rise in national insurance would benefit top earners by about £1,800 a year, and the lowest earner by about £7, she said: “Yes, it is fair.”
She has also pledged to dramatically increase the defence budget, even though her likely Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, has said the department wouldn’t be able to put the money to good use immediately.

What cost of living help, if any, is she expected to announce?

Liz Truss is strongly considering freezing energy bills in a bid to ease the burden on households this winter, according to reports.

But having made tax cuts a key priority during her leadership campaign, it is not clear where the money to fund such a move would come from.

According to reports in The Times the package could be on the scale of the furlough scheme introduced by then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, while the Telegraph suggests the specifics of such a policy are still being debated.

Either way, experts have called on her to act immediately to curtail what could be a long and punishing winter for many.

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