By Martha Ewing ’26
On Tuesday, September 6th, Liz Truss beat competing politician Rishi Sunak in the race to become Britain’s new Prime Minister. A meeting followed between the new Prime Minister and the Queen which turned out to be her last official engagement before her death, two days later.
Her predecessor, Boris Johnson, had lost the confidence of the nation after his “Partygate” scandal which involved him secretly hosting parties after he had told his people to isolate themselves during the rise of COVID-19 in 2020, and his subsequent denying of these allegations against him. He was forced to step down from his position, meaning another member of the Conservative Party needed to take over until the next general election. This person was Liz Truss. But, is she who the nation needs in this unsettling time as the rising cost of living becomes a crisis for Britons?
Liz Truss, a member of the Conservative Party with political views leaning to the right, was an avid supporter of Brexit: the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Interestingly, Mrs Truss is a former Liberal Democrat activist who protested against past Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. Now, her supporters claim that she is carrying the “Thatcherite flame.” Liz herself appears to model herself after Thatcher, even wearing noticeably similar outfits to interviews and functions.
During her first speech as Prime Minister, standing in front of her new Downing Street home, Liz Truss said, “We will transform Britain into an aspiration nation with high-paying jobs, safe streets and where everyone everywhere has the opportunities they deserve. I will take action this day and action every day to make it happen.”.
The electoral system in the UK differs from that of the United States. The UK has many political parties. The two most predominant are called the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. The Conservative Party is right wing, and the Labour Party is left. The election that resulted in Liz Truss becoming Prime Minister was a relatively unusual one. Since the Conservative Party won the last general election which voted Boris Johnson into office, the “replacement” Prime Minister needed to also be from the Conservative Party until the next general election which usually happens every five years. So instead of the nation voting who should take office, it was the Members of Parliament (MPs), affiliated with the 150,000 Conservative Party members, who would elect this person.
According to author and former MP Rory Stewart who used to work for Liz as a Junior Minister, she enjoyed putting him and his fellow Juniors on the spot, grilling them with challenging mental math questions during meetings. “I found it quite traumatizing,” says Mr. Stewart during an episode of the podcast he co-hosts with fellow politician, Alaister Campbell, called The Rest is Politics, when talking about the experience. Mrs. Truss was educated at Oxford University. She studied math for her A levels (similar to SATs in America), and her father was a math professor at the University of Leeds. “She was very interested in economics: she reads economics, she reads books about economics.” says Rory Stewart.
The sudden election of a new Prime Minister disconcerted many people in the United Kingdom. After the drama and scandals from the last leader, British citizens are seeking an honest, sensible, and strong administration that can guide them out of these tough times. Does current Prime Minister, Liz Truss, have what it takes?