Liz Truss will be the next UK PM after beating Rishi Sunak – POLITICO


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LONDON — Liz Truss will be Britain’s next prime minister after comfortably seeing off rival Rishi Sunak in the race to lead the ruling Conservative Party.

Truss, currently UK Foreign Secretary, won 81,326 votes (57.4%) from Conservative members to 60,399 (42.6%) for Sunak, the former Chancellor who quit over his differences with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Truss will fly to Balmoral, the Queen’s Highland estate, on Tuesday to be formally sworn in as prime minister before choosing his new cabinet.

Speaking after the announcement, Truss pledged to deliver on a series of promises she made during the campaign and lead the Tories – currently trailing in the polls – to victory in the next election. “I know our beliefs resonate with Britons,” she said, adding, “I campaigned as a Tory and I will govern as a Tory.”

Using his victory speech to talk about a “bold plan” to cut taxes and deal with rising energy prices, Truss promised, “We’ll deliver, we’ll deliver, we’ll deliver.”

The new prime minister is expected to announce a bailout within a week of taking office in a bid to help households and businesses cope with soaring inflation and rising energy bills.

Truss was criticized during the campaign for her refusal to lay out a detailed plan to tackle the cost of living, but won over conservative members early in the race with a pledge to cut taxes and a turnaround in her performance from debate.

She promised to cancel a planned corporation tax hike, reverse a National Insurance personal tax hike and unveil an emergency budget soon after taking office.

Sunak’s campaign, which easily won support from Tory MPs in the first round of the contest only to fail in the broader vote of grassroots Tory members, argued that Truss’ economic proposals will only increase inflation.

Truss said Sunak had waged a ‘hard-fought campaign’ and insisted the fierce competition over the summer to find a new Tory leader had ‘shown the depth and breadth of talent in our Conservative Party’. Sunak urged the party to “now unite behind the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, as she leads the country through difficult times.”

Liz Truss won 81,326 votes from Conservative MPs to 60,399 for Rishi Sunak | Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

The Tory leadership race was sparked by Johnson’s resignation in July after months of anger from his party colleagues over his handling of a series of scandals, including allegations of sexual misconduct against a minister of high rank and a political ally.

Johnson remains prime minister until the official handover on Tuesday. He will also travel to Balmoral after delivering his final speech outside Downing Street.

Paying tribute to her ‘friend’ Johnson in her acceptance speech, Truss said: “Boris, you’ve done Brexit. You’ve crushed [former Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn. You deployed the vaccine and stood up to Vladimir Putin. You are admired from Kyiv to Carlisle.

In turn, Johnson hailed her “decisive victory” and said “she has the right plan to deal with the cost of living crisis”.

Although Truss won by a clear margin, she received a lower vote percentage than polls had predicted during the campaign – and lower than any Tory leader since the current system was introduced.

In 2019, Boris Johnson won 66% of the vote in the membership ballot, while Jeremy Hunt won 34%. David Cameron managed an even bigger share in 2005, winning 68% to David Davis’ 32%.

The opposition Labor Party was quick to reject Truss’ victory. Deputy leader Angela Rayner said: ‘All Britain has to show in the last 12 years of Tory government is low wages, high prices and a Tory cost of living crisis. Liz Truss offers more of the same old failed conservative ideas that got us into this mess.

This story has been updated.




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