Liz Truss becomes the new British Prime Minister. The former foreign secretary won the British Conservative party’s internal vote on the successor to Boris Johnson, the Tory party announced on Monday. The 47-year-old Truss received 57 percent of the votes, the former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak got 43 percent.
Truss promptly announced a “bold plan” for tax cuts and growth. She is the third female Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May.
Up to 200,000 party members have been able to vote by post or online over the past few weeks on who will lead the new government and move into Downing Street.
Sunak and Truss had previously prevailed in several rounds of voting by the Conservative MPs – among these, however, Sunak was still the clear favourite.
The next Prime Minister, Truss, will be assigned to the right wing of the party. In the inner-party election campaign, the 47-year-old was particularly convincing with her plan to immediately lower taxes despite enormously high inflation.
She also scored points with the party base – which is significantly older, more male and wealthier than the average British population – with a confrontational line towards the EU and populist statements about refugees, left-wingers, environmental activists and social minorities.
Sunak accused his rival of telling “fairy tales” with her economic plans and portrayed himself as a politician who is not afraid to speak unpleasant truths in times of crisis. He would not consider tax cuts until inflation is under control again. That wasn’t enough.
After the announcement of the winner, the change at the top of the British government will take place on Tuesday. Johnson will address the population one last time as prime minister and then resign from office.
Both he and his successor then travel to Scotland and are received one after the other by Queen Elizabeth II, who is spending her summer holidays at her country estate, Balmoral Castle.
The fact that the audiences will take place there and not in London’s Buckingham Palace is extremely unusual and has to do with the mobility problems of the now 96-year-old monarch.
After numerous scandals, Johnson is leaving office under pressure from his cabinet. The “Partygate” affair about banned lockdown celebrations in Johnson’s official residence had shaken him. Several other scandals and his handling of them ultimately brought him down. When prominent members of his cabinet resigned, triggering a mass exodus from the ranks of the government, the 58-year-old felt compelled to resign.
However, a possible comeback is not ruled out. Johnson himself made hints with the words “Hasta la vista, baby” in the London House of Commons. The politician, who will initially remain a simple MP, still has a strong support base in the party.
According to reports, some of them are already preparing a vote of no confidence against his successor in order to bring Johnson back to office as quickly as possible.