Liz Truss won the race to be the leader of the Conservative Party, and she will take over for Boris Johnson as the next prime minister of Britain. On September 6, she is expected to move into 10 Downing Street.
Liz Truss’s was not the avalanche victory that was expected. The new leader Tory got 81,326 votes (57.4%), while Rishi Sunak stopped at 60,339 votes (42.6%). Of more than 172 thousand entitled to vote, the turnout was 82.6%.
As the British media point out, this is the Tory primary win by the narrowest margin since 1998, when the party introduced the rules still in place for choosing leadership. Since then, each winning candidate has always exceeded 60%. The last was Boris Johnson, who in 2019 obtained 66% of the preferences in the challenge with Jeremy Hunt.
So, the Foreign Secretary will become the 56th prime minister of Britain and the 15th during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Truss is also the third woman to lead the country as prime minister.
In her speech after the election, Truss promised to “take bold action” to help the country through “tough times” and boost the British economy. She specifically promised to fix the energy crisis, lower taxes, and bring down high electricity bills.
Truss also said that she would “deliver” on her job and help her party win the next general election, which is set to happen in 2024. In her speech, the soon-to-be-sworn-in new prime minister didn’t say much about the aid packages she will put in place to help Brits deal with rising prices and electricity bills. Media reports suggest that these packages could be big, but still not enough.
Truss and her opponent Rishi Sunak spent the summer trying to get Conservatives to vote for them.
The Tory leadership race began when Boris Johnson said in July that he would step down after several scandals and the departure of government officials and Cabinet ministers over how Chris Pincher’s Deputy Chief Whip handled allegations of sexual misconduct.
Reactions to the fact that Liz Truss will be the next Prime Minister of the UK
The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, congratulated Truss on her victory in the Tory race. However, he stressed that his party must replace the conservatives in government if real change is to happen in the country. He said that the Tories were to blame for the high cost of living right now and that it was time for a change.
Boris Johnson, who is stepping down as Prime Minister, told his party to “back” the newly elected Truss “100%.” He said he was sure she would be able to solve the cost-of-living crisis and bring the country together. Rishi Sunak, who didn’t win the race, said the same thing as Johnson and asked the party to come together behind Truss.
Nicola Sturgeon, the Prime Minister of Scotland, also congratulated Truss on her win and promised to try to build a “good working relationship” with the new PM, even though they have “deep political differences.”
At the same time, Sturgeon took the chance to poke fun at Truss by saying that his 57% of votes only represent “47% of the total [Tory Party member] electorate.” So, her win would have been considered “invalid” by the rules London uses for Scotland’s independence votes.
How do other nations feel about the election of Liz Truss?
Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, congratulated Liz Truss on her win and said that he looks forward to their countries continuing to work together “in these difficult times” and “as partners and friends.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that it doesn’t see any reasons why relations with the UK will get better under the new government. This is because Truss has repeatedly said that he will keep going down the same destructive path with Russia that Boris Johnson started.