Liz Truss will take over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Liz Truss will take over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, succeeding Boris Johnson. First and foremost, combat inflation.

LONDON - In just over three years, Britain will have its third prime minister. Following an internal party election, the ruling Conservative Party named Liz Truss as its new leader on Monday.

Truss succeeds Boris Johnson, a divisive figure who has bucked many of Britain's political traditions. Johnson resigned in July after top members of his cabinet turned against him in a series of scandals including violations of his own coronavirus ban restrictions and declining support for his populist initiatives.

Because the United Kingdom elects a party rather than a single head of government, the ruling party has considerable leeway in replacing a new prime minister. Truss was chosen by around 172,000 Conservative Party grassroots members. This figure reflects less than 1% of the United Kingdom's 67 million population.

The next prime minister enters office on Tuesday, at a time when energy prices in British families have reached unsustainable levels for millions of people.

Truss thanked Johnson in a brief speech.

"Boris, you brought about the Brexit. You destroyed Jeremy Corbyn, you brought out the vaccine. And you stood up to Vladimir Putin. You were admired from Kiev to Carlisle."

Liz Truss will take over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Liz Truss reacts as she is greeted by supporters upon her arrival in Birmingham for a Conservative Party campaign rally on August 23, 2022. Getty Images via AFP

Truss got 81,326 votes, while Sunak received 60,399.

Truss, 47, has attempted to present herself as the political heir of Margaret Thatcher, Britain's "Iron Lady" and the country's first female prime minister, who championed free markets, reduced taxes, and the privatization of key state-owned industries ranging from telecoms to electricity. 

Truss served in Johnson's administration as both commerce secretary and foreign secretary. She has adopted a firm position against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

"The unifying thread running across Truss' career is a conviction in limited government," former Conservative Party lawmaker Daniel Hannan said in an opinion article on his website. In the House of Lords, Hannan is now known as Lord Hannan of Kingsclere, the unelected upper house of Parliament to which Johnson appointed him.

Liz Truss will take over as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
London's Queen Elizabeth Tower at sunset on August 24, 2022. AP Alastair Grant

Sunak, 42, was Treasury Secretary during Johnson's presidency, where he handled a multibillion-dollar coronavirus relief program for companies and workers. His campaign struggled to remove the unappealing to conservative political philosophy idea that he was directing a significant government involvement during the coronavirus outbreak. This was done to avoid mass unemployment and an economic downturn.

Political experts believe that the new British leader will not make significant changes to British foreign policy that would jeopardize close ties with the White House. However, one possible flashpoint that Truss inherits from Johnson is the question of what should happen to the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and Ireland, which is part of the European Union, when the United Kingdom exits the European Union (Brexit).

According to US and European officials, the Conservatives want to change customs and immigration rules, endangering the fragile peace in Northern Ireland that has existed since the US-brokered Good Friday Agreement went into effect in 1998.

"Truss is a diehard Atlanticist, as is Sunak, who considers Britain to be the most essential partner (NATO)," said Matt Beech, director of the Centre for British Politics at the University of Hull in England, alluding to the United States and the United Kingdom's tight security collaboration.

Truss' first task will be to reassure the British public that the government has a strategy in place to deal with rapidly rising energy costs and spiraling inflation caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Russia's unprovoked war in Ukraine, and the United Kingdom's departure from the EU bloc nearly two years ago. All three disasters have caused supply chain disruption and increased consumer expenses.

The United Kingdom consumes little Russian-supplied oil and gas, but the average British home is likely to spend approximately $4,200 per year for heating and electricity next month, according to Ofgem, the country's energy regulator. This represents an 80% yearly increase and demonstrates how the UK government has built its energy system to be reliant on wholesale costs, which have surged in the aftermath of the Ukraine war.

According to projections, energy costs in the United Kingdom might reach more than $7,700 early next year, which is more than many of the country's people spend for rent or mortgage. This implies that millions of people will experience "energy poverty," and many small enterprises will be forced to close.

"There would be a societal catastrophe if the government does not interfere," independent financial analyst Martin Lewis stated on a recent BBC radio show.

Queen Elizabeth will receive Johnson and Truss on Tuesday at her Balmoral estate in Scotland as part of the power transition, according to Buckingham Palace.

This is a departure from the norm. The queen usually greets outgoing and arriving British heads of state at her London palace, something she has done 15 times throughout her 70-year reign. The 96-year-old king has been attending fewer royal responsibilities in recent months.

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