Liz Truss was named Britain’s next Prime Minister and leader of the governing Conservative Party on Monday, defeating Indian-origin Rishi Sunak after over a six-week-long gruelling campaign. UK Foreign Secretary Truss takes over from Boris Johnson at a time when the UK is saddled with rising inflation and its worst cost-of-living crisis.
Truss becomes the UK’s third female Prime Minister following Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher. The 47-year-old has pledged immediate tax cuts to tackle the cost-of-living crisis during her campaign. Truss has said that within a week, she would come up with a plan to tackle rising energy bills and secure future fuel supplies.
Childhood And Early Life
Mary Elizabeth Truss was born in Oxford in 1975 and raised in a left-wing household. Her father was a mathematics professor and her mother a nurse. Truss completed her schooling from Roundhay in Leeds.
At the age of seven, she played the role of Margaret Thatcher in her school’s mock general election, BBC reported. In fact, her dress sense and love for photo opportunities — posing in a tank in Estonia and wearing a fur hat in Moscow — have earned her comparisons to Thatcher.
She completed her graduation from Oxford University, where she read philosophy, politics and economics. She was active in student politics, initially for the Liberal Democrats. However, she later switched to the right-wing Conservative Party.
After her graduation, Truss worked as an accountant for Shell, and Cable & Wireless. In 2000, she married fellow accountant Hugh O’Leary. The couple has two children.
Electoral Debut And Rise In Politics
Her electoral debut for the Tories was unsuccessful as she lost from Hemsworth, West Yorkshire, in the 2001 general election. Truss suffered another defeat in Calder Valley, also in West Yorkshire, in 2005.
The next year, she was elected as a councillor in Greenwich, south-east London, and since then there has been no looking back.
Truss’ political rise was noticed by then Conservative leader and former UK PM David Cameron, who selected her to stand from the seat of South West Norfolk in the 2010 election.
Truss went on to win the seat by more than 13,000 votes despite controversy over revelations that she had had an affair with Tory MP Mark Field some years earlier.
Just two years after becoming an MP, she was made the education minister and in 2014, was promoted to environment secretary.
Truss has also co-authored a book named “Britannia Unchained”, which recommended stripping back state regulation to boost the UK’s position in the world, BBC reported.
In 2014, her remark on cheese while speaking about British exports during her speech at the 2014 Conservative Party conference inspired several memes and was mocked on social media. In the speech, a stone-faced Truss said it was “a disgrace” that Britain imported two-thirds of its cheese.
During the Brexit, Truss originally campaigned for the UK to remain in the European Union. However, she later switched her position and backed Brexit after her side lost.
Under Theresa May, she served as justice secretary before becoming the chief secretary to the Treasury.
When Boris Johnson became prime minister in 2019, Truss was made international trade secretary. In 2021, she took over one of the most high-profile jobs in the government as the foreign secretary.