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Liz Truss: What you should know about new British Prime Minister

Following the resignation of Boris Johnson, Liz Truss has been announced his successor and will take over his position as the United Kingdom prime minister.

After a summer-long contest by just over 170,000 Conservative members, a tiny sliver of Britain’s electorate, the foreign secretary beat her rival, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, by about 57% to 43%.

Having won the conservative party leadership contest, she will have to confront Britain’s deepest economic crisis in decades as UK’s third female prime minister following Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher.

After Johnson tenders his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II, she will formally take office on Tuesday.

Truss’ early life and professional Career

Mary Elizabeth Truss was born 26th July 1975 in Oxford, England, to John Kenneth, an emeritus professor of pure mathematics at the University of Leeds Priscilla Mary Truss, a nurse, teacher and member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

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When she was four years old, the family moved to Paisley, Renfrewshire in Scotland, living there from 1979 to 1985 and there, she attended her West Primary School before attending Roundhay School, in the Round hay area of Leeds.

Truss lived and studied in Canada for a year before her admission to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Merton College, Oxford, and graduated in 1996.

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While in school, her passion in the Liberal Democrats earned her the president of Oxford University Liberal Democrats and also a member of the national executive committee of Liberal Democrat Youth and Students (LDYS).

Truss worked for Shell from 1996 to 2000 and she qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA) in 1999.  She also worked in Cable & Wireless, rising to the position of economic director before leaving in 2005.

She became the full-time deputy director of Reform, advocating more rigorous academic standards in schools, a greater focus on tackling serious and organized crime, as well as urgent action to deal with Britain’s falling competitiveness in January 2008 after losing her first two elections.

She has co-authored books such as The Value of Mathematics, Fit for Purpose, A New Level and Back to Black: Budget 2009 Paper and amongst others.

Political Career

From 1998 to 2000, Truss served as the chair of the Lewis ham Conservative Association.

In 1998, she unsuccessfully contested the Greenwich London Borough Council elections for Vanbrugh ward and Blackheath Westcombe in 2002.

On 4 May 2006, she was elected as a councillor for Eltham South in the Greenwich London Borough Council election.

At the 2001 general election, Truss stood for the constituency of Harmsworth in West Yorkshire, a safe seat for the Labour Party where she came a distant second, but increased the Conservative vote by 4%.

In October 2009, she was selected for the South West Norfolk seat by members of the constituency Conservative Association where she won over 50% of the vote in the first round of the final against five other candidates. Shortly after her selection, some members of the constituency association objected to her selection, due to her failure to declare a prior affair with the married Conservative MP Mark Field. While a motion was proposed to terminate Truss’s candidature, this was defeated by 132 votes to 37 at a general meeting of the association’s members after three weeks.

On 6th May 2010, she campaigned for issues including the retention of the RAF Tornado base at RAF Marham in her constituency. Over seven months she asked 13 questions in the Commons about RAF Marham, secured a special debate on the subject, wrote dozens of letters to ministers and also collected signatures on a petition which was delivered to Downing Street.

On 4 September 2012, Truss was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Education and also scheduled with responsibility for childcare and early learning, assessment, qualifications and curriculum reform, behaviour and attendance, and school food review; a role that enabled her develop some of the policy areas that she had pursued as a backbencher.

In July 2014, during a cabinet reshuffle, Truss was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, replacing Owen Paterson. In apparent contrast to her predecessor, Truss declared that she fully believed that climate change is happening, adding that human beings have contributed to that.

By November 2014, She had launched a new 10-year bee and pollinator strategy to try to reverse the trend of falling bee populations which includes a strategy to revive traditional meadows which provide the most fertile habitat for pollinators and in July 2015, she approved the limited temporary lifting of an EU ban on the use of two neonicotinoid pesticides thereby enabling their use for 120 days on about 5% of England’s oil seed rape crop to ward off the cabbage stem flea beetle;

On 14 July 2016, Truss was appointed as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor in Theresa May’s first ministry. She became the first woman to hold either position and the first female Lord Chancellor in the thousand-year history of the office. Even though May’s decision to appoint her was criticised by the then Minister of State for Justice Lord Faulks, who then resigned from the government, as she questioned – on behalf of the judges – whether Truss would have the clout to be able to stand up to the Prime Minister when necessary.

On 11 June 2017, following the general election, Truss was moved to the position of Chief Secretary to the Treasury, attending the cabinet but not a full member of it, in what was seen by some as a demotion.

On 19 March 2020, Truss introduced to Parliament the Trade Act 2021, which established the legal framework for the UK to conduct trade deals with nations around the world.

On 15 September 2021 during a cabinet reshuffle, Truss was promoted from International Trade Secretary to Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, hence, becoming the second woman to hold the position after Margaret Beckett.

On 10 July 2022, Truss announced her decision to run in the Conservative Party leadership election to replace Boris Johnson.

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