Liz Truss: New British PM says she will deliver on promise to cut taxes

Opposition leaders say new Conservative Party leader is out of touch with real issues affecting British public

Liz Truss has said she will deliver on her promise to cut taxes while helping people with their energy bills when she becomes Britain’s prime minister on Tuesday. The foreign secretary won a clear victory over former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak in the Conservative leadership contest, winning 57 per cent of party members’ votes to his 43 per cent.

But Ms Truss won a smaller share of the vote than any previous Conservative leader since the choice was first turned over to party members in 2001. Following the announcement in Westminster, Ms Truss paid tribute to her predecessor Boris Johnson and promised to show that her government could deliver on its promises over the next two years.

“During this leadership campaign, I campaigned as a Conservative and I will govern as a Conservative. My friends, we need to show that we will deliver over the next two years. I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy. I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long term issues we have on energy supply. And I will deliver on the National Health Service,” she said.

Mr Johnson was among the first to congratulate his successor, who will become prime minister on Tuesday after meeting Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Mr Sunak called on the Conservative party to unite behind the new leader and promised to give her his support.


“I’ve said throughout that the Conservatives are one family. It’s right we now unite behind the new PM, Liz Truss, as she steers the country through difficult times,” he said.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey and Labour leader Keir Starmer also congratulated the new Conservative leader. But Sir Keir said the leadership contest had revealed Ms Truss to be out of touch with the concerns of most people in Britain.

“We’ve heard far more from the latest prime minister about cuts to corporation tax over the summer than we have about the cost-of-living crisis, the single most important thing that’s bearing down on so many millions of households. That shows not only that she’s out of touch, but she’s not on the side of working people. So she needs to deal with the cost-of-living crisis, she needs to deal with the fact the NHS is on its knees, and she needs to deal with the collapse of law and order,” he said.

Ms Truss is expected to announce her full cabinet after she makes a statement in Downing Street on Tuesday afternoon. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is set to become chancellor of the exchequer, with James Cleverly as foreign secretary and Suella Braverman as home secretary.

Priti Patel resigned as home secretary on Monday and neither she nor deputy prime minister Dominic Raab are expected to be in Ms Truss’s cabinet. Mr Sunak indicated during the campaign that he would not accept a ministerial post.

The most urgent item on the new prime minister’s agenda will be how to address the huge rise in energy bills due to come into effect next month. Although she ruled out handouts during the campaign, she is expected to adopt a version of Labour’s proposed freeze on energy bills at their current rate, with the government paying the difference at a cost of tens of billions of pounds.

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Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton

Denis Staunton is China Correspondent of The Irish Times