Liz Truss is a fish with a few peculiarities. As a result of the political leanings of both of her parents, who she describes as being “to the left of Labour,” she had a strong left-leaning education while growing up. Then, when she was attending university (of course, Oxford, as is customary for all contenders for the Tory leadership), she served as the President of the Oxford Uni Lib Dems. And she was a minister of government for the Tory Party. It is quite the political journey. Now her travelling reached to her destination by becoming PM of Britain.
Liz Truss marched in protests against Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a child. She grew up admiring Margaret Thatcher, who was Britain’s first female leader. Now that she has won the race to replace Boris Johnson, she is ready to take over 10 Downing Street with the same drive to change the country that Thatcher had.
The party says that about 57% of Conservative members voted for Britain’s current foreign secretary, Liz Truss, while about 43% voted for Rishi Sunak, who was the head of the Treasury before.
Truss, 47, will be Britain’s third female prime minister, after Thatcher from 1979 to 1990 and Theresa May from 2016 to 2019.
She worked as an economist for the oil corporation Shell and the telecoms business Cable and Wireless, as well as for a right-of-center think tank, while getting interested in conservative politics and advocating Thatcherite free market principles. She ran for Parliament twice and lost both times. In 2010, she was finally elected to represent the Southwest Norfolk constituency in eastern England.
During the Conservative Party internal election, she secured 81,362 votes and defeated Rishi Sunak. Rishi received 60,399 votes. According to political experts, it is a major political achievement of Rishi that he gave a tough fight to Truss. Rishi Sunak, of Punjabi origin, was Treasury Secretary in Boris Johnson’s ministry, and Truss was Foreign Secretary. Truss will meet Britain’s Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral on Tuesday, after which the Queen will invite her to become Prime Minister and take the oath of office.
Born in 1975, Liz Truss studied at Oxford University. She joined the Conservative Party in 1996 and was elected to the House of Commons in 2010. She became Deputy Minister for Environmental Affairs in David Cameron’s ministry in 2014 and has held various positions in subsequent ministries. Liz Truss supports neoliberal policies in economics but is considered liberal on social and environmental issues. She supports lowering corporate taxes. In her speech after winning, she repeated her promise to reduce taxes. In contrast, Sunak has been opposed to tax cuts even though he too promised to cut taxes at the last minute of the election.
Born in 1980, Sunak studied at Oxford and Stanford universities. In 2009, he got married to Akshata Murthy, daughter of NR Narayan Murthy and Sudha Murthy, founders of Infosys. He was elected to the House of Commons in 2015 and became the finance minister of the country in 2020. Sunak’s candidacy for the post of Prime Minister is significant as Indians are the largest minority supporters of the Conservative Party after Jews.
According to Neha Shah of Oxford University, Indians arrived in England in large numbers in two periods: first, during the 1940-1950s when England needed workers; and secondly, during the 1970s when they were expelled from the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Indians arriving in England in the first period (1940s–50s) participated in labor movements and opposed apartheid; he became more and more a supporter of the Labor Party. A large number of Indians who arrived in Britain during the 1970s became supporters of the Conservative Party.
Rishi Sunak, former Home Minister Priti Patel, and Attorney General Suella Braverman are the sons and daughters of Indians who came to England in the 1970s.
According to Neha Shah, the elders of these Indians got the patronage of the British government in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, due to which they made economic and political progress. For this reason, they are mostly supporters of the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party believes in stricter immigration laws. Despite all this, the election of Truss as Prime Minister is a testimony to the fact that internal democracy is maintained in the political parties of England and the work of electing leaders is done with transparency.
England is facing a major economic crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Liz Truss supports more sanctions against Russia. Truss will be England’s third Prime Minister under a Conservative Party government since 2016; this phenomenon represents the country’s political crisis. Both Theresa May and Boris Johnson held the responsibilities of Prime Minister for three years with difficulty, and their leadership was challenged. Truss also has to face similar challenges.
Liz Truss’s aides have been briefing the media on her plans for a major emergency help package for Britons suffering from a cost-of-living crisis, as well as a ceiling on energy costs, during the previous few days. It’s unclear how this meshes with her claims of low taxes and noninterventionism. She also faces significant difficulties from Scottish nationalists pushing for another independence referendum, as well as the legal morass that will be Northern Ireland’s trade after Brexit.
Israel and Iran are not likely to get much of her attention in the near future.
Surjit Singh Flora is a veteran journalist and freelance writer based in Brampton Canada