Liz Truss will be Britain’s next Prime Minister after beating former chancellor Rishi Sunak in the contest to become the new leader of the ruling Conservative Party.
Truss, seen as the new standard-bearer for the Conservative right wing, beat Sunak by 20,000 out of 172,000 votes in a poll of Conservative Party members.
Speaking afterwards, she said she believed “in freedom, in the ability to control your own life, in low taxes, in personal responsibility.”
She paid homage to the outgoing Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, saying: “Boris, you got Brexit done. You crushed Jeremy Corbyn, you rolled out the vaccine. And you stood up to Vladimir Putin. You were admired from Kyiv to Carlisle.”
She added: “We will deliver a great victory for the Conservative Party in 2024.”
She will next be invited to Balmoral to see the Queen, who will ask her to form a new government.
Truss, the current foreign secretary, takes over from Johnson, who won a landslide general election in 2019, but was undone by a scandal-plagued tenure in Downing Street that involved parties during lockdown, a sex pest and gold wallpaper.
Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer who led Britain through the COVID pandemic, was ultimately defeated because he was seen as a centrist, while Truss cast herself as a boosterish flag-bearer for post-Brexit Britain.
She first shot to the consciousness of most British people after delivering a truly surreal speech about cheese and pork markets as Environment Secretary, which later went viral on social media.
The new Prime Minister was chosen by 172,000 members of the Conservative Party, most of whom are old men from the south of England. Truss is unpopular with the general public – some 52 percent of the public thinks she will be poor or terrible in the role, according to a YouGov poll. Fewer MPs from Truss’ own party backed her prior to the vote among members, with Sunak marginally more popular.
Truss will take power as the country braces for an unprecedented cost of living crisis and spiralling inflation. Energy prices will increase by 80 percent in October as the price of wholesale gas rises, which will plunge millions of homes into fuel poverty. Inflation is predicted to grow to 18 percent next year.
The Conservative leadership campaign focussed on issues close to the heart of party members, such as tax cuts and shrinking the power of the state.
During the campaign, Truss managed to spark an argument with the French president by saying “the jury’s out” when asked if Emmanuel Macron was a friend or a foe.