LONDON, Sep 6: Conservative Party leader Liz Truss was on Tuesday appointed as Britain’s new Prime Minister – the third female premier of the country – amid pressure to tackle the looming energy crisis and soaring prices.
Truss travelled to Queen Elizabeth II’s Balmoral Castle residence in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, to meet the 96-year-old monarch. Earlier, Boris Johnson formally resigned as the head of the UK Government in an audience with the Queen.
The 47-year-old leader is the 15th Prime Minister to serve during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, the first being Winston Churchill in 1952.
Until now, the constitutional process of the monarch inviting the leader of the majority party to form a Government in her name has taken place at Buckingham Palace in London. But with the Queen cutting back on her travels, it had been decided that she would receive Johnson and Truss at her summer residence of Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, marking a historic first.
“The Queen received in Audience The Right Honourable Elizabeth Truss MP today and requested her to form a new Administration. Ms Truss accepted Her Majesty’s offer and kissed hands upon her appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury,” a royal announcement confirmed.
A picture of the Queen and Truss showed them meeting in the drawing room of Balmoral in front of an ornate fireplace. The smiling monarch, who was wearing a tartan skirt and holding her walking stick, was pictured shaking hands with Truss – symbolically referred to as kissing hands.
Truss assumed the office at a time when the country is facing a looming energy crisis and the focus is on her plan to address the challenge.
The current Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke – who is tipped to to become levelling up secretary – says Truss’s plan to tackle soaring prices will provide certainly to families and businesses as the weather gets colder, BBC reported.
Prime Minister Truss will fly back to Downing Street for her inaugural speech at her new office-residence before she begins unveiling her top team in the Cabinet.
Attorney General Suella Braverman is expected to be the only Indian-origin MP in her top team, as the Goan-origin former leadership contender is likely to be promoted to replace Priti Patel, who resigned as Home Secretary on Monday evening.
Rishi Sunak, the British Indian former Finance Minister who lost his Tory leadership bid to Truss 57-43 per cent, has almost ruled out the prospect of serving in a Cabinet led by his rival but promised her government his support.
Among the other key posts in the new Cabinet, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng – a close ally – is being lined up as Chancellor of Exchequer and Education Secretary James Cleverly is to be promoted to take over Truss’ current portfolio of Foreign Secretary.
Other former leadership hopefuls such as British Pakistani Sajid Javid might be offered Northern Ireland Secretary and Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi could be shifted to the role of Cabinet Office minister.
A handful of incumbent ministers, such as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, are expected to retain their jobs. Therese Coffey, a close friend of Truss, is expected to replace Steve Barclay as Health Secretary.
According to UK media reports, besides the Cabinet, a widespread change of guard is also due within Downing Street with some of Johnson’s senior-most aides set for an exit or reshuffle. (PTI)