‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja -Conservative Party leader Liz Truss is Britain’s new leader after Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned. In a first speech, she presented a “bold plan” to introduce tax cuts, bolster the NHS, and face the energy crisis.
Liz Truss is the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister after traveling to meet Queen Elizabeth at her Scottish residence Balmoral before appointing a new cabinet.
Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson had already handed over his resignation to the UK monarch.
In her first speech as leader outside 10 Downing Street, lasting less than 10 minutes, Truss outlined her top three priorities.
“Firstly, I will get Britain working again. I have a bold plan to grow the economy through tax cuts and reform,” she said in front of her Downing Street office. “I will cut taxes to reward hard work and boost business-led growth and investment.”
She said she hoped to turn the country into an “aspiration nation.”
She also said she would “deal hands on with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war,” as many Britons worry about how they will heat their homes this winter.
Her third priority, she said, was to deal with the nation’s beleaguered healthcare system: “I will make sure that people can get doctors’ appointments, and the NHS services they need. We will put our health service on a firm footing.”
Truss also expressed admiration for her predecessor and former boss, calling Johnson “hugely consequential.”
“Boris Johnson delivered Brexit, the COVID vaccine and stood up to Russian aggression,” she said. “History will see him as a hugely consequential prime minister.”
Johnson resigned after a series of scandals ultimately led to mass-resignations within his own cabinet, with his allies saying they could no longer work under him. Truss, the outgoing foreign secretary, was one of the few heavy hitters not to break ranks — first breaking her silence when announcing her plans to run for the leadership after Johnson said he would resign.
A break with tradition
Truss had traveled to Balmoral Castle on Tuesday afternoon to ask Queen Elizabeth’s permission to form a new government. Johnson, who announced his intention to step down two months ago, formally resigned during his own audience with the queen a short time earlier.
It was the first time in the queen’s 70-year reign that the handover of power took place in Scotland, rather than Buckingham Palace in London. The ceremony was moved to the queen instead of having her travel as the 96-year-old monarch faces increasing mobility issues.
Liz Truss flew to Balmoral in Scotland for a symbolic ceremony with Queen Elizabeth II, who was deemed unfit to travel back to London at short notice
After Truss left Balmoral, US President Joe Biden congratulated her and said he would speak with her by phone later on Tuesday.
“I look forward to deepening the special relationship between our countries and working in close cooperation on global challenges,” Biden wrote on Twitter.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy followed suit, saying he was the first foreign leader Truss had spoken to as prime minister.
He said he invited her to Ukraine and thanked the UK for “major defense and economic aid.”
What is Truss facing as she takes office?
The Truss government will be expected to deal with an energy crisis and soaring inflation, driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit.
UK inflation has risen above 10% for the first time in four decades, and the Bank of England forecasts it will reach 13.3% in October. The bank said that Britain could enter recession by the end of the year.