Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss: What you need to know

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Liz Truss, currently Britain’s foreign secretary, will become the United Kingdom’s 56th prime minister following the resignation of Boris Johnson in July.

Britain’s Conservative Party announced Monday that Truss defeated rival Rishi Sunak, the former treasury secretary, in a leadership election, paving the way for Truss to become Britain’s third female prime minister after Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher.

Truss will become Britain’s new Prime Minister after an audience with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday.

Here’s what you need to know about Britain’s new Conservative prime minister:

UK PRIME MINISTER ELECTION SEES LIZ TRUSS VICTORY OVER RIVAL RISHI SUNAK

Growing up in a ‘left-wing household’

Mary Elizabeth Truss was born in Oxford in 1975, the daughter of a math professor and a nurse.

Liz Truss and Conservative Party chairman Andy Stephenson shake hands outside the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) following the announcement that she is the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister, in London, on Monday.

Liz Truss and Conservative Party chairman Andy Stephenson shake hands outside the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) following the announcement that she is the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister, in London, on Monday.
(Kirsty O’Connor/PA via AP)

Her left-leaning parents took her on anti-nuclear and anti-Thatcher protests as a child, where she recalled shouting: “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie — out, out, out!”

Truss described in a 2018 speech that she began developing her own political views early, “arguing against my socialist parents in our left-wing household.”

Despite being the child of left-wing parents, Truss grew up to be an admirer of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Comparisons to Margaret Thatcher 

As Britain’s third-ever female prime minister, the 47-year-old Truss has frequently been compared to the Iron Lady – as Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher was known.

In this 1980 file photo, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher poses for a photograph in London. Truss has frequently been compared to Britain's Iron Lady.

In this 1980 file photo, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher poses for a photograph in London. Truss has frequently been compared to Britain’s Iron Lady.
(AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)

Mark Littlewood, a libertarian commentator who has known Truss since university, said Britain’s new leader is less a conservative than a “radical,” who — like Thatcher — wants to “roll back the intervention of the state” in people’s lives.

David Laws, a former Cabinet minister who worked with Truss in government a decade ago, recalled her as energetic and “mind-bogglingly ambitious,” comparing her in his memoir to “a young Margaret Thatcher on speed.”

Liz Truss most recently served as Britain's foreign secretary under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Liz Truss most recently served as Britain’s foreign secretary under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
(AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)

Victoria Honeyman, associate professor of British politics at the University of Leeds, said that by stressing her modest background, Truss is evoking comparisons to grocer’s daughter Thatcher – “the working-class girl done good.”

Truss in Conservative politics

Truss, 47, was appointed foreign secretary, in September 2021 by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

As Britain’s top diplomat, Truss drew praise for securing the release of two British citizens jailed in Iran, where her predecessors had failed.

Liz Truss arrives at Conservative Central Office in Westminster after winning the Conservative Party leadership contest in London, on Monday. Truss will become Britain's new Prime Minister after an audience with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday.

Liz Truss arrives at Conservative Central Office in Westminster after winning the Conservative Party leadership contest in London, on Monday. Truss will become Britain’s new Prime Minister after an audience with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday.
(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

She was previously trade secretary under Johnson and before that served as justice secretary before former Prime Minister Theresa May demoted her to a more junior role in the Treasury in 2017.

Truss served as a local councilor in London and ran unsuccessfully for Parliament twice before being elected to represent the eastern England seat of Southwest Norfolk in 2010.

Work before politics

Before entering politics, Truss worked as an economist for energy company Shell and telecommunications firm Cable and Wireless. 

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She also worked for a right-of-center think tank while becoming involved in Conservative politics and championing free market Thatcherite views.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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