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Liz Truss becomes UK’s prime minister after meeting queen

Britain´s Queen Elizabeth II and new Conservative Party leader and Britain’s Prime Minister-elect Liz Truss meet at Balmoral Castle in Ballater, Scotland, on September 6, 2022. Photo: AFP
Britain´s Queen Elizabeth II and new Conservative Party leader and Britain’s Prime Minister-elect Liz Truss meet at Balmoral Castle in Ballater, Scotland, on September 6, 2022. Photo: AFP 

LONDON: Liz Truss on Tuesday formally became the new UK prime minister after being appointed by Queen Elizabeth II during an audience at her Balmoral estate in Scotland.

Royal officials released a picture of the monarch and Truss shaking hands to formalise her appointment after Boris Johnson earlier tendered his resignation.

A day prior, Britain’s Conservative party Monday announced Liz Truss as its new leader to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson and confront Britain’s deepest economic crisis in decades.

The foreign secretary comfortably beat her rival, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, by about 57%-43% after a gruelling summer-long contest decided by just over 170,000 Conservative members — a tiny sliver of Britain’s electorate.

In a short victory speech at the announcement in a central London convention hall on Monday, Truss said it was an “honour” to be elected after undergoing “one of the longest job interviews in history”.

“I campaigned as a Conservative, and I will govern as a Conservative,” she said, touting Tory values of low taxes and personal responsibility.

Truss vowed a “bold plan” to address tax cuts and the energy crisis.

Details are expected in the coming days.

Truss, 47, is the UK’s third female prime minister following Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher.

The leadership contest began in July after Johnson announced his departure following a slew of scandals and resignations from his government, including Sunak’s.

Truss reserved a portion of her short speech to praising Johnson’s record, including on Brexit and the Covid pandemic, and said he was “admired from Kyiv to Carlisle”.

That won warm applause from the Tory faithful present. However, the right-wing ideologue faces a tough task in winning over public opinion.

A YouGov poll in late August found 52% thought Truss would make a “poor” or “terrible” prime minister.

Forty-three per cent said they did not trust her “at all” to deal with the burning issue of the rise in the cost of living, as energy prices and inflation generally rocket amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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