London: Liz Truss will become Britain’s next prime minister after coming out on top in a leadership race for the governing Conservative Party on Monday, promising to press ahead with guaranteed tax cuts and action to handle extending the energy and cost of living crisis.
Following quite a while of an often bad-tempered and disruptive leadership challenge, Truss, currently the foreign minister and the favorite to win, beat former finance minister Rishi Sunak in a vote of Conservative Party members, winning by 81,326 votes to 60,399.
“I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy,” Truss said after the result was announced. “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 takes over as the nation faces a crunch on household finances, industrial turmoil, a recession, and a battle in Europe, where Britain has been a leading backer of Ukraine. She appeared to rule out another national election before 2024 when she vowed to convey a great triumph for her party.
However, in an indication of deep divisions in her party, her winning margin was much narrower than had been expected and the narrowest in any Conservative leadership election held this century. Truss also won with the support of less than 50% of members, as almost one in five did cast a ballot.
“It’s right we now unite behind the new PM, Liz Truss, as she steers the country through difficult times,” Sunak said on Twitter.
Truss will succeed Boris Johnson, who was forced to announce his resignation in July after months of scandals saw support for his administration drain away and ministers quit to force him out.
Johnson will head out to Scotland to meet Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday to officially tender his resignation. Truss will follow him and be asked to frame a government by the ruler.
“I know she has the right plan to tackle the cost of living crisis, unite our party and continue the great work of uniting and leveling up our country,” Johnson said on Twitter. “Now is the time for all Conservatives to get behind her 100 percent.”
Long the front-runner to supplant him, Truss will become the Conservatives’ fourth prime minister since a 2015 election. Since then Britain has staggered from one crisis to another and presently is seen confronting a long recession and inflation that hit double digits in July.
Within minutes of her victory, business leaders from the hospitality sector to manufacturing and chemical industries demanded to assist with the soaring cost of energy and tight labor markets to stop firms from becoming bankrupt.
Truss, has vowed to act rapidly, saying within a week she will come up with a plan to handle rising energy bills and secure future fuel supplies.
She indicated during her leadership campaign she would challenge convention by scrapping tax increases and cutting other levies in a move some economists say would further fuel inflation.
That, and a vow to survey the transmit of the Bank of England while protecting its independence, has prompted some investors to dump the pound and government bonds.
Truss faces a long, costly, and challenging to-do list, which opposition parties say reflects 12 years of the unfortunate Conservative government. Several have called for an early election – something Truss has rejected.
Truss has said she will delegate a strong cabinet, getting rid of what one source close to her called a “presidential-style” of governing, and will need to win over some Conservative lawmakers who had upheld Sunak.
“It was closer than expected,” said Conservative member of parliament Andrew Bridgen. “By the end of the week, we’ll get a new government and you’d be amazed at how this party can come together and unite.”