Liz Truss Picked To Replace Boris Johnson As U.K. Prime Minister

Truss defeated former Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the race for Conservative Party leader and prime minister.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on Monday won the Tory Leadership contest to succeed Boris Johnson as next Conservative Party leader and take over as the country’s new prime minister.

Truss, who was the frontrunner in the race, defeated former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, securing 81,326 votes, as opposed to Sunak’s 60,399.

Only Conservative Party members were allowed to vote as part of this election, with voting closing Friday afternoon.

In her victory speech, Truss said it was an “honor” to be elected prime minister and pledged to “govern as a conservative.”

“We will deliver a great victory for the Conservative Party in 2024,” she said.

Truss also praised outgoing Prime Minister Johnson.

“Boris, you got Brexit done, you crushed Jeremy Corbyn, you rolled out the vaccine and you stood up to Vladimir Putin. You’re admired from Kyiv to Carlisle,” Truss said.

While Sunak secured the support of the biggest amount of members of Parliament going into the race, Truss managed to gain momentum, emerging as the favorite and securing endorsements from prominent conservatives, including Johnson allies.

Truss is set to be appointed by Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, following Johnson’s resignation earlier in the day. The new leader will then fly to London where she will give her first speech as prime minister and announce her new Cabinet.

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, congratulated Truss on her win but said it’s only his party that can deliver what the country needs at the moment.

“After 12 years of the Tories all we have to show for it is low wages, high prices, and a Tory cost of living crisis,” Starmer wrote on Twitter.

Truss takes over as leader at a challenging time for the U.K. with rising inflation, recession fears, and perhaps more pressingly an energy crisis looming this winter with the average British household expected to pay over £3,500 ($4,030) per year on energy bills starting Oct. 1.

“We need to show that we will deliver over the next two years. I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy. I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with peoples’ energy bills but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply,” Truss said in her victory speech.

Local media reports on Monday said Truss will announce a gas and electricity price freeze as part of her new economic agenda, according to the Times of London. But Truss on Sunday did not reveal any details about her plans for energy bills.

“If I am elected as prime minister, within one week, I will make sure there is an announcement on how we are going to deal with the issue of energy bills and of longterm supply,” Truss told the BBC.

Truss also pledged to cut taxes and resisted suggestions that a recession is inevitable, which put her at odds with Sunak who argued the country’s priority should be putting the brakes on inflation.

The two-month-long contest, which included several debates between the two candidates, has been described as “brutal,” with party officials worrying it could damage the Conservatives’ standing with the country, according to the Financial Times.

The race took hold after Johnson was forced to resign due to a slew of scandals, including holding parties breaking coronavirus restrictions, and misconduct allegations of a top aide, which prompted the resignation of over 50 ministers earlier this summer.

Truss, unlike Sunak, did not resign from Johnson’s government.

Truss will be the U.K.’s third woman prime minister, after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May.

Truss, who campaigned to remain in the European Union during the referendum in 2016, has pulled a U-turn on the issue, turning herself into a staunch Brexiteer in recent years.

Truss, 47, has served in various Cabinet roles under three Conservative prime ministers: David Cameron, May and Johnson.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Truss’ age. She is 47.

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