Liz Truss came to the head of the UK government with the promise of challenging so-called “orthodoxy”, demanding faster and more radical action to tackle the cost of living crisis and get the country out of what, according to her, are years of slow growth. However, only 44 days after his inauguration, after exacerbating one of the worst economic crises the country has experienced with an ambitious tax reform plan.
His government is the shortest in history.
A great admirer of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose ultra-liberal policies she wants to emulate, Liz Truss was the third woman to lead the British government. Like Thatcher, nicknamed the “iron lady” for the heavy hand with which she governed from 1979 to 1990, Truss, 47, represents the most right-wing wing of the Conservative Party.
Here’s what we know about Truss, her political career, and her ideology.
Origin and studies
Born on July 26, 1975, married with two daughters, “Liz is not afraid to speak her mind,” boasts her website.
She herself has described her father, a math teacher, and her mother, a nurse and a nuclear disarmament advocate, as “leftist” people.
Truss scandalized her parents whom she accompanied to demonstrations as a child, by eventually joining the Conservative Party to adopt very right-wing positions.
Her childhood friends and college classmates at Oxford, where she majored in politics and economics, recall a provocative but low-key student who did not appear as a future prime minister.
“She wasn’t one of the more outgoing girls so I was a bit surprised that she became so outspoken as an adult,” one of them told The Times .
Hesitant at the start of her campaign in August, she built up confidence over the six weeks until she appeared firm and blunt at her closing rally.
Even as a child “she was someone who had to win,” explained Francis Truss, one of her three brothers, to the BBC in 2017, recalling how her “father said she cheated to win” when they played board games like Monopoly or Cluedo.
After a decade in the private sector, most notably as chief commercial officer for companies including energy company Shell, she was first a councilor in southeast London and then an MP in 2010.
In 2012 she entered government and held a series of portfolios, first as Secretary of State for Education and then as Minister for the Environment from 2014 to 2016.
She was also the first female Minister of Justice and, later, Chief Secretary of the Treasury.
Boris Johnson, whom she replaces, appointed her as head of the Foreign Trade portfolio, a position in which Truss became the face of the UK’s trade negotiations after Brexit.
He worked to forge new alliances and concluded free trade agreements with countries such as Japan and Australia, but failed to achieve the big trade deal with the United States that London coveted.
Likewise, some of his statements and attitudes seem not to have been well received by the Joe Biden administration.
For nearly a year she was foreign minister, at one of the most tumultuous times for Europe in decades.
His appointment to the head of Foreign Relations had been both a boost and a means for his predecessor, Boris Johnson, to try to control the ambitions of this rising figure who now replaces him at Downing Street.
In that position, he stood up to the Beijing regime for its human rights violations and to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
He even imitated Thatcher by posing in a Russian fur cap in Red Square in February, during a trip to Moscow to try to dissuade the Russian president from invading Ukraine.
Truss has proven several times throughout her career to be a politician who knows how to survive difficult situations, according to BBC political editor Chris Mason.
“I’m not someone who takes no for an answer. I keep pushing and I keep pushing until I get things done,” Truss told Conservative Party members during the campaign, referring to her role in drafting a bill that unilaterally changes trade rules agreed as part of the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Addressing Conservative lawmakers and activists after being announced as the party’s next leader and Britain’s new prime minister, she said to applause: “We will deliver, we will deliver and we will deliver.”
Those who have worked with her at the Foreign Office support her description, with two officials telling Reuters she has a laser-like approach to certain issues, trying to find creative solutions from the start and then moving on, ignoring any doubts. .
Liz Truss and Brexit
Heading the Foreign Trade portfolio, Truss became the face of UK trade negotiations after Brexit.
It was quite a change of direction for a woman who had defended Britain staying in the European Union during the 2016 referendum before saying she saw great economic opportunity in Brexit.
In her role as British chancellor, Truss was firm against the European Union, determined to unilaterally modify the post-Brexit agreement.
After her election, the president of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, said that she expects the United Kingdom to comply with all aspects of the Brexit agreement.
“We are facing many challenges together, from climate change to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I look forward to a constructive relationship, fully respecting our agreements,” von der Leyen said in a tweet.
Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister
As Thatcher did during his government, Truss has promised to carry out a series of ultra-liberal reforms to boost the British economy.
Britain faces runaway inflation, a lengthy recession, the biggest hit to living standards in decades and the threat of strikes by millions of workers, while its party has shown it is prepared to topple any leader who fails to deliver.
“I believe in a brighter and better future for Britain. I have a bold plan that will grow our economy and deliver higher wages, more security for families and world-class public services,” he said at the close of the vote with the that less than 200,000 members of the Conservative Party appointed her as the new head of government.
“I will do it by reducing taxes, promoting reforms and eliminating red tape that is holding companies back,” he stressed.
He has suggested that he will also offer immediate help to those struggling to pay their energy bills.
This, plus a promise to review the powers of the Bank of England, has emboldened party supporters but rattled financial markets, causing foreign investors to dump the pound and government bonds for fear of what is to come
With information from AFP and Reuters