After marrying an accountant named Hugh O’Leary in 2000, Liz Truss threw herself into politics. She failed twice to become a Conservative MP but was elected to the UK parliament in 2010 after being challenged by local party activists. Her success was controversial and many local party members tried to have her deposed as a candidate. Truss and her husband have two teenage daughters.
Theresa Truss, the UK’s new prime minister, is likely to deliver a speech outside 10 Downing Street later Tuesday. Truss faces a tough task. Her government is facing record energy costs, while the conflict in Ukraine has contributed to rising inflation, which threatens to push the country into a deep recession. Despite her promise to make changes, Truss has not yet given specific details on her plans to tackle energy bills.
Before becoming prime minister, Truss was a member of the Liberal Democrats, a center-left opposition party. She served as the party’s president during her time at Oxford University. During a 1994 conference, she called for the dissolution of the monarchy. In subsequent years, she changed her political allegiance, and became a Brexiteer.
There is no doubt that Liz Truss has a history of rapid shifts in position, but this record is not what you would call exemplary. As foreign secretary of state for trade, she was instrumental in negotiating a historic free trade deal with New Zealand. Jacinda Ardern, the leader of the Labour Party, said she looked forward to working with Truss in her new role.
In the UK, Truss, who is a critic of Gordon Brown’s economic policies, is keen on approving new extraction of oil in the North Sea, ending the moratorium on fracking and encouraging new nuclear power. She is also promising to suspend the environmental levies on household bills, which currently amount to around $176 a year. She has also rejected the notion of windfall taxes on the oil industry, saying it would be inappropriate and counterproductive.
Truss has drawn criticism for her comments on antisemitism and other issues deemed offensive to Jews. She has spoken out against the UN Human Rights Council and its agenda and has overruled Foreign Office officials. Truss’s remarks have also raised questions about her lack of principle and leadership.
As Britain’s new prime minister, Truss will face many challenges. She must manage the expectations of her party regarding the next general election. Every takeover prime minister is greeted with calls for an election as soon as possible. This is because they want to win a fresh mandate from voters to cement their authority and begin anew.
Truss is keen to show that she is business-friendly. She has promised to scrap a planned rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25% by 2023 and will tackle the rising costs of energy within a week of taking office. She has also promised to introduce an emergency budget in the first few weeks.
Liz Truss has a track record of working with Europe. She attended the Extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council of the European Council after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, joining the US, Canada, and NATO secretary general in this effort to resolve the crisis. The United Kingdom is a strong supporter of Ukraine, and is a necessary partner for Europe’s security. Truss’s appointment opens a window of opportunity for a more effective relationship with Europe. Truss’ political rise was fueled by her cultivation of a Brexiteer wing, and she will face a difficult time giving ground in the Brexit dispute. However, Britain’s relationship with the EU is increasingly intertwined with its relationship with the United States.
In the days ahead, UK Prime Minister-elect Liz Truss will face tough challenges. As a Tory, she has pledged to support Ukraine’s freedom and stand up against the Russian invasion. She has also said that the UK is Ukraine’s greatest ally and is willing to do whatever it takes to stop the Russian advance. Truss’s remarks are not surprising given the UK’s reputation as a hawk when it comes to Russia. Nonetheless, her party has already split over her policy on Ukraine.
Truss has sought to position herself as a political heir to Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister who championed free markets, lower taxes, and privatization of large state companies. She has served in Johnson’s government as the foreign secretary and trade minister and has vowed to stick by Britain’s stance against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.