Who Is Liz Truss?
|Topics:||International Relations, ✔️ Political Science, Foreign Policy, 🏳️ Government|
Table of Contents
After the United Kingdom parliamentarians forced former Prime Minister Boris Johnson out of office, there was widespread speculation about who would replace him. After lengthy party and parliamentary meetings and campaigns, Elizabeth Mary Truss (aka Liz Truss) emerged as the frontrunner. She was confirmed on the 6th of September in 2022 as the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, becoming the 15th and the last Prime Minister in the era of Queen Elizabeth II. Elizabeth Truss, who has held the South West Norfolk parliamentary seat since 2010, is no stranger to British politics. Truss had held cabinet positions in the previous governments of her predecessor, Johnson, and former premiers David Cameron and Theresa May. Before usurping the prime ministerial seat, Truss was serving as the country’s foreign secretary. Truss’s political viewpoints and foreign policy experience will prove critical in moving the country forward, given the challenge of Covid-19 and an escalating energy crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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The Domestic Agenda
Liz Truss ascends to the premiership at a critical moment in the UK’s economic position. There is soaring inflation, an immediate looming energy crisis, increasing worker strikes, climate change challenges, the situation in the NHS, and a water crisis, among others. Truss has been predominantly a conservative politician and has been in politics for over a decade. She will need to put her plans into action. The Prime Minister has previously been associated with advocating for tax cuts and reducing state functions for a leaner government. In one of her first official functions, Truss declared a 150-billion-pound package to deal with the energy crisis for the next two years. This, according to Truss, will cap the household energy bills at £2,500 per year until there is a structure or deal regulating wholesale energy prices.
Unfortunately, the demise of the country’s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, will probably shift her concerns, though in the short term, to non-economic matters. As a libertarian and politically minded person, Truss will probably have to push some of her policies in Parliament, as they might not seem very popular with parliamentarians (Honeycombe-Foster, 2022). However, Liz Truss is quite convincing, and she will probably use her leading ministers, including the internal, foreign, and finance ministers, to push some of her controversial policies. With only two years before the next general election, Truss will probably not like to lose any votes on the domestic agenda.
The Foreign Policy
On foreign policy, Truss has not been silent on her viewpoints on the international stage. She was quite vocal on matters of Brexit. There is a need to amend specific laws concerning the Brexit issue (Kirkwood, 2019). In recent times, Truss has become a vocal advocate for increased sanctions on Russia and increased military support for arming Ukraine. In Chinese-Taiwanese political issues, she has supported increased military supply for Taiwan. Such viewpoints have put her on a collision path with her foreign affairs counterparts in Beijing and Moscow.
As the UK’s new Prime Minister, Truss will be responsible for ensuring that the above issues are done in a diplomatic way (Matthijs, 2020). Elizabeth Truss is a vocal diplomat; there is a possibility that part of these negotiations might need addressing from a “gunboat” diplomatic standpoint. However, she has categorically denied being some kind of “Thatcherian.” Truss is not afraid of ruffling feathers if she believes her viewpoints are idealistic. The energy crisis, for instance, might cause her government to seek alternative solutions to how to deal with Russia, especially if that might cause her to lose domestic support for her other policies. Issues involving refugees and ongoing migration issues will also need addressing by the Truss government (McGee, 2022).
Expectations are that Liz Truss will lead Britain into an uncertain but better future. This uncertainty might cause her to seek alternative solutions to Britain’s challenges, the European Union, and the world. Once a vocal advocate for the abolition of the British monarchy, the recent demise of the Queen might act as her first test on how she will see through the change of guard with the new King, Charles III, taking over the throne. Additionally, her failure to detail how funding the £150 billion energy bailout already started raising questions within her conservative party and the labor party. However, expectations are that the next few months of her leadership will test her worth and political tardiness. Fortunately, Britain is not the only country facing most of the challenges she is facing. Thus, collaborations with other European leaders or unilateral United Nations declarations might act in support of her style of leadership.
- Honeycombe-Foster, M. (2022, September 5). Everything you wanted to know about Liz Truss but was too afraid to ask. Politico. https://www.politico.eu/article/everything-know-liz-truss-afraid-ask/
- Kirkwood, S. (2019). History in the service of politics: Constructing narratives of history during the European Refugee “Crisis”. Political Psychology, 40(2), 297-313.
- Matthijs, M. (2020, June). The right way to fix the EU: Put politics before economics. Foreign Affairs. 99(3), 160-170.
- McGee, L. (2022, September 9). Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, is a political shape-shifter. Now she’s set for her toughest transformation yet. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/05/uk/liz-truss-british-prime-minister-profile-intl-cmd-gbr/index.html