- The Washington Times - Monday, September 5, 2022

Liz Truss, the next British prime minister, vowed to act swiftly on pressing issues, including a sagging economy and skyrocketing energy prices, that have been on the back burner since July 7, when her predecessor, the embattled Boris Johnson, announced he was stepping down.

On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II will invite Ms. Truss to form a government in her name — a ceremonial event known as “kissing hands” — at Balmoral, her castle in Scotland. 

It will be the first time in Elizabeth’s 70-year reign that she will not install a prime minister at Buckingham Palace in London. The change was made because of concerns about the health and mobility of the 96-year-old monarch.

Ms. Truss won the Conservative vote over her main rival, former treasury chief Rishi Sunak, with a tough-sounding plan of action meant to echo a conservative predecessor, Margaret Thatcher.

“Our beliefs resonate with the British people. Our beliefs in freedom, in the ability to control your own life, in low taxes [and] in personal responsibility,” she said Monday after Conservative officials announced that she had won the vote to lead the party and therefore become the next head of government.

“As your party leader, I intend to deliver what we promised those voters right across our great country,” Ms. Truss said.

SEE ALSO: Boris Johnson arrives at queen’s estate to offer resignation

Mr. Johnson offered congratulations for what he called her “decisive win.”

“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,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement. “Now is the time for all Conservatives to get behind her 100%.”

Mr. Johnson said he was proud of the work his government accomplished over the past three years, including pushing through the British withdrawal from the European Union, overseeing the country’s battle against COVID-19 and providing vital assistance to Ukraine after Russia’s invasion in February.

Ms. Truss saluted the outgoing prime minister in her speech.

“Boris, you got Brexit done, you crushed [former Labor Party leader] Jeremy Corbyn, you rolled out the vaccine and you stood up to Vladimir Putin,” she said. “You are admired from Kyiv to Carlisle.”

Ms. Truss said it is vital for her government to deliver a two-year plan to cut taxes and strengthen the economy.

“I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues that we have on energy supply,” she said. “And I will deliver on the National Health Service.”

Nigel Farage, a British broadcaster and former politician who was an early leader of the country’s Brexit movement, said it has been clear for some time that Ms. Truss, Mr. Johnson’s combative foreign secretary, would emerge victorious in the Conservative Party election.

“She said, ‘I was elected as a conservative and I will govern as a conservative.’ They haven’t done that in the last 12 years,” Mr. Farage said in a YouTube posting. “They just pretend they’re conservative at election time, and then govern very differently.”

The next prime minister needs to focus on three specific issues, Mr. Farage said: immigration from across the English Channel, the looming energy crisis and the moribund economy.

“They have let so many people down. Nothing actually works anymore,” he said. “By the next election, we must be energy independent. It can be done.”

Nile Gardiner, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, called Ms. Truss a “conservative, principled politician” whose election could rattle the nerves of Democrats in Washington and the Beltway elite.

“A Truss-led government could be the most radical British conservative administration since Margaret Thatcher, a game changer on the world stage, willing to challenge the old guard and offer conservative ideas and solutions to global problems,” Mr. Gardiner said in The Telegraph.

“It is highly encouraging that Ms. Truss is feared, even hated by the enemies of the free world in Moscow, Beijing and Tehran. They understand that she will stand her ground. As foreign secretary, she amply demonstrated that she will not be intimidated by dictatorial regimes,” he said.

Ms. Truss will likely meet with President Biden on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. She isn’t expected to take her country in a radically different foreign policy direction and acknowledges the importance of the “special relationship” with the U.S. 

Still, her relationship with the Biden administration could be frosty. She has strong admirers among conservatives in Washington, where supporters have cast her as an heir to Thatcher.

“Congratulations and best wishes for success to Liz Truss. America is stronger with a free, safe and prosperous United Kingdom,” Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, said in a Twitter post.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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