It’s official, Liz Truss will be the next British prime minister, and will head to Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Tuesday to be appointed by the Queen.
Truss will be the fourth British prime minister in a little over six years, and takes over at a delicate time for the country, with soaring costs of living exacerbated by rampant gas prices caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Truss won 81,326 of the vote, compared to Rishi Sunak’s 60,399 votes, Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 backbench committee, announced on Monday.
“I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy. I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply,” Truss said after she was elected.
“I know that our beliefs resonate with the British people: Our beliefs in freedom, in the ability to control your own life, in low taxes, in personal responsibility,” she added. “I know that’s why people voted for us in such numbers in 2019 and as your party leader I intend to deliver what we promised those voters right across our great country.”
Britain’s third female PM
Truss, 47, will become Britain’s third female prime minister, after Thatcher, who governed from 1979 to 1990, and Theresa May, who held office from 2016 to 2019.
Pollsters had long tipped Truss to be the likely victor, with her platform appealing more to the 170,000 Conservative party voters able to take part in the election.
In the end, Truss’ margin of victory, 57%, was a comfortable one, though short of the 66% that her predecessor, Boris Johnson, received in 2019.
However, there will be little time for celebrations for Truss, who inherits a host of challenges that could make for a grim winter for the United Kingdom.
At the top of her in-tray will be the challenge of dealing with spiralling energy bills for households and businesses this winter. The average UK household energy bill is set to rise to more than £3,500 (€4,000) a year — almost triple the level of a year ago.
Inflation is now above 10% for the first time since the 1980s and the government is facing increasingly urgent calls to deliver financial support to help millions pay for essential heating and electricity to get through the winter.
After voting closed on Friday, Truss pledged to act within a week to tackle soaring energy bills and rampant inflation, without giving details. She’s also proposed a big package of tax cuts, worth tens of billions of euros.
“During this leadership campaign, I campaigned as a Conservative and I will govern as a conservative,” Truss said in her victory speech. “I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy.”
“I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply. And I will deliver on the National Health Service,” she added.