As the Conservatives hope to govern, they pin their hopes on Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, who is known for her wake-bashing, free-trading, and tax-cutting policies. POLITICO has a handy primer on the latest incoming Prime Minister of the UK, where you can pretend to know what you’re talking about with friends. Since 2016, David Cameron and Theresa May have all failed, and now Boris Johnson is hoping to succeed.
The important measurements
Truss, who is a Conservative, has been an MP for 12 years and a Cabinet minister for eight years, serving under three prime ministers. She is also the current foreign secretary, meaning she is the person in charge of the country’s post-Brexit relations with the EU. If you’re reading this in Brussels, you may already be aware of the events unfolding, as Johnson exits the stage and Tuesday marks the start of her work.
The private life
She tried the tried-and-tested route of settling in Canada before belatedly settling at Westminster, studying economics and politics philosophy at Oxford University. She later attended a school in Leeds, England, where she was accused of setting “low expectations” for its pupils. She grew up in Scotland and was born in Oxford, where the incoming leader of the U.K. Was also born. She is married to Hugh O’Leary, an accountant, and they have two daughters together.
The political landscape
Truss is perceived as a libertarian who loves small states and low taxes. She wrote a book in 2012 called ‘Britannia Unchained’, which was pitched by newly-elected Tory MPs as a wake-up call for low-productivity in Britain. She took a swipe at young people who are more interested in pop music and football than the world, dubbing them as the worst idlers among U.K. Workers.
Throughout her career, Truss has proven to be a pragmatic shape-shifter, adept at managing various government departments and avoiding criticism openly. She wisely kept the inner circle of Johnson, refusing to be openly critical during the brutal Conservative coup, which was referred to as the Johnson-hit scandal. Additionally, she has morphed from a bright-eyed moderate Cameroon supporter to a champion flag-waver for post-Brexit Britain.
Jacob-Rees Mogg, a key ally of the incoming Prime Minister, has called for a complete rethink of certain functions of the state. Truss, a supportive MP under the shock culture of the 1980s, told POLITICO last month that Britain could be heading for a 1980s-style culture. She also mentioned that she wants to tackle the “woke” culture in the civil service and scrap outdated EU laws that are still in the British statute book. Truss wooed grassroots Conservatives with promises to slash taxes and saw off her rival, Rishi Sunak, comfortably.
Truss has insisted that she is not a duplicate of Margaret Thatcher (despite this, she has still borrowed the late Conservative prime minister’s most exquisite clothing).
Thanks to the tireless efforts of POLITICO intern Noah Keate, you can read all 149 of her policy commitments here.
The incoming tray
Britain is currently facing a tumultuous period as it is gripped by a wave of strikes that is causing major disruptions to the railways, leading to sewage dumping companies pouring their waste into the sea, creating a “shitstorm” in the cross-Channel ports. Additionally, the country is battling soaring energy costs, partly due to the war in Ukraine, and is on the brink of a full-blown recession. In the midst of these challenges, Truss takes the helm to navigate Britain through this turbulent time.
Liz, under no pressure, has been tasked with turning around the fortunes of the Conservative Party, which has been in power for 12 years, as this year has seen a decline in its popularity due to the scandals of its host, Johnson, and its response to them. Truss is at the forefront of the political front.
The core group
The secretary of energy and business, who is a die-hard Brexiteer, Rees-Mogg, appears to be the frontrunner. He currently holds a senior role in pensions and work, but is rumored to be tipped for a higher position. His fellow Cabinet ministers, Therese Coffey and Kwasi Kwarteng, are also his karaoke-loving friends and scribes for Britannia Unchained. Kwarteng, in particular, seems to have an instinctive small-state conservative ideology. It is almost certain that Truss will become the top finance minister, as expected by key figures. This new top team usually means that a new prime minister is on the horizon.
Regardless, do not anticipate the gentleman who referred to Truss’s economic strategy as “unethical” to eagerly seize the opportunity, although the vanquished opponent and previous finance minister Sunak may or may not receive a job offer.
The Brexit transformation
Perhaps the most striking shift in the journey of top pragmatic Truss, as we might generously describe it, has been her switch from a worried Remainer to an avid Brexit-backer ahead of Britain’s fateful EU referendum in 2016. As the environment secretary at the time, Truss passionately argued for the country to stay in the bloc, warning that leaving would be a hugely retrograde step on environmental protection and could usher in “a wasted decade” for the U.K. Economy.
Thank you so much, the economy of the United Kingdom is performing exceptionally well. It’s a stance she has maintained since then and, fortunately, the “enormous economic issues” she was concerned about Britain experiencing independently had “not materialized.” Truss had already retracted her statement, stating that the situation had changed. Fast forward to 2017.
The rebellious envoy
The leader of the British prospective campaign for honor earned the ultimate badge, pissing off the French. On the trail of leadership, she should be prepared to arm Taiwan, suggesting outrage in China and unnerving the West, which risks ripping up the hard-won protections for Northern Ireland in the controversial Brexit deal. The EU says she’s shepherded the legislation through, which she hasn’t been afraid to ruffle a few feathers as the foreign secretary of the UK.
The Baltic states, who are spooked by the threat of Russia, see a leader who will stand up for them when the going gets tough, and are a bit more enthusiastic about talk of free trade, which no-nonsense conservatives in Australia love.
The skill of negotiation
Truss’s favorability ratings among grassroots Conservatives soared as she secured key trade deals post-Brexit, ensuring the continuity of trade links. She also had the opportunity to elevate herself from a daily middle-ranking Cabinet job to a daily middle-ranking Cabinet job, giving her the chance to fly the flag for Britain.
Since her departure from the job, there has been a rise in criticism from agriculture and farming organizations who claim that she disregarded cautionary advice regarding the negative impact of allowing inexpensive imports from Australia and New Zealand. However, the scrutiny surrounding the trade deals she personally negotiated as trade secretary has only intensified. Due to her extensive activity on the social network, her department has been mockingly referred to as the “Department for Instagramming Truss,” and some have even labeled her Department for International Trade (DIT) as such. Nevertheless, her approach has not been without controversy, as she has faced criticism from members of Parliament who believe she prioritizes her own public image excessively.
The pork industry situation
It is a disgrace that two-thirds of our cheese is imported. She also won applause for informing her audience with a determined gaze. In her highly enthusiastic speech to the Conservative Party as the faithful Environment Secretary in 2014, she possibly included the most rapturous use of the phrase “pork markets” ever recorded. Truss has long embraced a somewhat goofy public persona and, erm, shouting about pork… Was previously known as Britain’s best-known next prime minister, perhaps surprisingly.
Truss, a representative from Norfolk West South and a member of the Conservatives, faced criticism from her opponents who claimed that her colorful personal life was unbecoming for someone with political aspirations. These critics also accused her of being too militant, dubbing her “Turnip Taliban.” However, Truss ultimately prevailed, proving her critics wrong and becoming a successful MP in rural areas.
Truss’ true hidden secret
When she was invited to have a conversation with the Queen at Balmoral on Tuesday during lunchtime, she should at least present something that she believes should lead to the abolishment of the monarchy. In 1994, she informed her center-left opposition party’s conference that she would be willing to give up her misspent youth as a representative of tree-hugging, socks-and-sandals-wearing, small-state libertarian Britain by becoming a Liberal Democrat.