London — Tuesday, immediately after Boris Johnson met with Queen Elizabeth to formally give his resignation, Liz Truss arrived to the royal residence of Balmoral in Scotland and was expected to becomes New PM of the UK Liz Truss
During their audience, the queen will ask Truss, the Conservative Party leader, to become Britain’s new leader, as the country faces a severe cost-of-living crisis.
Truss, 47, takes office a day after the ruling party’s 172,000 members elected her as their leader, putting her in line to be named prime minister in Tuesday’s carefully choreographed ceremony at the queen’s summer residence.
Truss is expected to deliver her first speech as president of a nation of 67 million people concerned about rising energy costs and a winter of recession and labour unrest. Because Johnson announced his intention to step down in early July, he had no authority to make major policy decisions for the past two months.
The transfer of authority will take place at Balmoral for the first time in the queen’s 70-year reign rather than London’s Buckingham Palace. The 96-year-old queen has mobility issues that have required palace authorities to make decisions regarding her travel on a daily basis, so the event was moved to Scotland to offer certainty about the timetable.
Before leaving for Scotland, Johnson made the following remarks in front of his Downing Street office: “After my three years in power, Britain has the economic strength to assist people weather the energy crisis.” He ended with his customary colourful language.
Johnson compared himself like a booster rocket that has completed its mission. I’m about to gently re-enter the atmosphere and splash down invisibly in some uncharted territory of the Pacific.
After Theresa May, his predecessor, failed to deliver on Britain’s exit from the European Union, Johnson, 58, was elected prime minister three years ago. With the pledge to “get Brexit done,” Johnson went on to win an 80-seat majority in Parliament.
However, a string of scandals that culminated in the resignation of dozens of Cabinet secretaries and lower-level officials in early July drove him out of power. In his final remarks, he made a passing reference to that failure, saying that he was passing the baton to Truss in “what has unexpectedly become a relay race.”
Johnson compared himself to Cincinnatus, the Roman tyrant who gave up power and went back to his farm to live in peace, and promised Truss his support, even though many observers anticipate Johnson to make an attempt at a political comeback.
He declared, “Like Cincinnatus, I am going back to my plough.” And I promise to give this government nothing but my utmost support.
Truss will need to say “an awful lot more,” according to Bronwen Maddox, director of the global affairs research tank Chatham House, to appeal to a larger electorate.
At this point, “everything, every road, comes down to cost of living,” Maddox remarked. “And if she delivers, to use her phrase on that, then you might see the mood growing lot more positive.”
In Britain, many people are still learning about the future leader of their country.
Truss went slowly through the Conservative ranks before being named foreign secretary, one of the top Cabinet positions, just one year ago, in contrast to Johnson, who established himself as a media star long before he became prime minister.
The typical household’s energy costs are expected to increase in the coming month to 3,500 pounds ($4,000), putting pressure on Truss to explain how she intends to assist those who are having trouble paying their bills.
She pledged assistance for anyone having trouble paying their expenses during the leadership race but would not specify how she would do it.
The U.K. inflation rate has risen beyond 10% for the first time in four decades as a result of the price spike brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the fallout from COVID-19 and Brexit. The Bank of England predicts that it will reach 13.3% in October and that the U.K. will enter a recession by year’s end.
Train drivers, port workers, garbage collectors, postal workers, and lawyers have all gone on strike to demand that pay raises keep up with inflation, and millions more, from teachers to nurses, could follow suit in the coming months.
Truss, a low-tax, small-government conservative, says her top priority is to reduce taxes and regulations to spur economic growth. Critics argue that this will exacerbate inflation while failing to address the cost-of-living crisis. Money markets have been rattled by the uncertainty, driving the pound down to $1.15, its weakest performance against the dollar since the 1980s.
Truss’ first task will be to form a Cabinet to address the government’s mountain of problems.
Kwasi Kwarteng, Johnson’s business secretary, is widely expected to be named Treasury Secretary. Kwarteng, like Truss, is a free-marketeer in the mould of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. However, the magnitude of the economic crisis may force him and Truss to abandon their small-state instincts and spend billions to assist people in making ends meet.
On Monday, Kwarteng wrote in the Financial Times that a Truss government would “take immediate action… to get families and businesses through this winter and the next.” He, too, did not provide any specifics.
Truss, in theory, has plenty of time to make an impression: she doesn’t have to call a national election until 2024. However, opinion polls show that the main opposition Labour Party already has a steady lead, and the worse the economy gets, the more pressure will build.
Truss and her new Cabinet are also dealing with a number of foreign policy crises, including the Ukraine conflict and tense post-Brexit relations with the European Union.
Truss was a staunch supporter of Ukraine’s resistance to Russian invasion as Foreign Secretary, and as Prime Minister, she will maintain the United Kingdom’s civilian and military assistance to Kyiv. She has stated that her first phone call will be to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Another pricey promise she has made is to increase U.K. defence spending from slightly more than 2% of GDP to 3%.
With EU leaders, she’s likely to have considerably more amicable discussions than Truss did in her previous role as foreign secretary during negotiations over trade regulations for Northern Ireland, an unsolved Brexit issue that has strained ties between London and Brussels. The issue might spiral into a trade war between the U.K. and the 27-nation union as a result of the U.K. threatening to violate the legally binding divorce pact and the EU taking legal action in retaliation.
Simon Coveney, the foreign minister of Ireland, expressed optimism that Truss will take a more reasonable stance after assuming office.
“Many of the key decision makers are attempting to reach out and send a signal to Liz Truss that if she decides to alter path to a more positive one in terms of trying to find a reasonable compromise with the EU, that we can find a way ahead on this problem,” said the official.