Today, 5 September, it was announced that Liz Truss will be taking over from Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party (starting from 6 September). This will make her only the third female Prime Minister in history. But who exactly is Liz Truss, what's her voting record like and is she likely to be any better than the outgoing PM?
In her acceptance speech, Truss said she wanted to thank "[her] friend" Boris Johnson and praised him "getting Brexit done", "crushing Jeremy Corbyn" and "standing up to Vladimir Putin", and described her bid for victory as the "longest job interview" ever. (Sidenote: honestly, why are they still so obsessed with Corbyn? We're just imagining him in his allotment hearing that and then immediately putting Mariah Carey's 'Obsessed' on repeat for the rest of the day).
She also described the Tories - quite without irony - as the "greatest political party on earth", despite the current ongoing cost of living crisis, soaring use of food banks, multiple strikes taking place across industries spanning from public transport to the postal service, and the many other issues plaguing the UK. It could be said that her tone was overly jovial in spite of all these pressing issues, causing sleepless nights for many.
Addressing the public, Truss pledged to cut taxes, deal with the energy crisis (and the longterm issues regarding energy supplies) and has pledged to "deliver on the National Health Service", without yet sharing concrete plans as to how she'll do this. Truss won the voting contest by 57% to Rishi Sunak's 43% – despite initially not having the backing of all of her peers, which will of course soon be forgotten when they start vying for roles in Cabinet.
In response to Truss' victory, leader of the Labour party, Sir Keir Starmer said, "We've heard far more from the latest Prime Minister about cuts to corporation tax over the summer than we have about the cost of living crisis - the single most important thing bearing down on so many millions of households. That shows, not only that she's out of touch, but that she's not on the side of working people. She needs to deal with the cost of living crisis, the fact that the NHS is on its knees... There can be no justification for not freezing energy prices."
Who is Liz Truss?
Born Mary Elizabeth Truss, the new PM has a turbulent CV under her belt, with her most recent positions seeing her serve as Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs since 2021 and Minister for Women and Equalities since 2019 (something that many accused her of treating as a "side hustle"... ouch). Prior to that, she has been the MP for South West Norfolk since 2010 and has held various other Cabinet positions under PMs such as David Cameron and Theresa May.
In her personal life, Truss has been married to accountant Hugh O'Leary since 2010 (who she cheated on with a fellow MP, Mark Field, in from 2004 to mid-2005) and the pair share two children.
How has Liz Truss voted on...
Let's start with something positive, shall we? Truss has consistently voted in favour of same-sex marriages, however there have been concerns surrounding her attitude towards the trans community. During the TalkTV leadership hustings on 25 August, when asked if "trans women are women", Truss responding saying no.
According to They Work For You, the political site that breaks down the voting record of MPs, Truss has almost always voted against the UK's membership of the EU and against further EU integration. She has also generally voted against EU nationals already living in the UK having a right to remain.
In 2010, Truss voted that the tuition fee cap should be raised to £9,000 a year and in general, has always voted for tuition fees at university to remain in place. Cheers for that then, Liz.
We all know the cost of renting in the UK today, especially in larger cities, can be astronomical – and that those magical fees letting agencies seem to pluck out of nowhere certainly don't help. Whilst things on that front are better these days, thanks to housing campaigners working hard to have a cap put in place on sky-high deposits and lofty admin charges, Truss did not appear to be convinced. Her voting record shows she almost always voted against capping the fees charged by letting agents.
Sadly it seems that Truss is not a fan in offering greater support for those who rely on benefits, having consistently voted against raising welfare benefits to at least be in line with prices that have increased due to inflation.
Again, according to the parliamentary tracking website They Work For You, Truss has routinely voted against measures to help protect planet earth, such as blocking a request for the government to "develop and implement a plan to eliminate the substantial majority of transport emissions by 2030".
Where does Liz Truss stand on...
During a debate over the summer, Truss rejected pleas to restore the abortion ban in Northern Ireland but has previously been accused of keeping quiet during the overturning of Roe vs Wade in America, which saw many over here in the UK seek reassurances over our reproductive rights remaining protected.
Violence against women
During her time as Minister for Women and Equalities, rape convictions plummeted to the lowest number yet and the country watched on in horror as multiple murders of young women, such as Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, dominated headlines. In response, Truss said: "Through increased police training, new offences, faster processes for rape victims and our Domestic Abuse Register, we will ensure victims are protected, and crimes are prevented in the first place." Women's charity Refuge have urged her to do more.
The cost of living crisis
During a campaign appearance, Truss pledged that she would cut taxes in order to claw back £30 billion, helping those struggling with bills. "The tax cuts I’m talking about will be delivered on day one because we have an immediate issue that families are struggling with the cost of fuel, with the cost of food." She is yet to release a detailed plan on how she hopes to deal with the current situation, which is only set to worsen as the days turn colder.
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