© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss speaks as she is interviewed by British radio presenter Nick Ferrari during a hustings event, part of the Conservative leadership campaign, in London , UK August 31, 2022. REUTERS / Hannah McKay / F
By Elizabeth Piper and Kylie MacLellan
LONDON (Reuters) -Liz Truss will become Britain’s next prime minister after winning the race for the leadership position for the ruling Conservatives on Monday, vowing to push ahead with promises of cutting cuts. reduce taxes and deal with the growing energy crisis.
After weeks of often heated and divisive leadership contest, Truss, now foreign minister, defeated former finance minister Rishi Sunak in a Conservative vote, winning it. 81,326 votes to 60,399.
“I’m going to come up with a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy,” Truss said after the results were announced. “I’m going to solve the energy crisis, solve people’s energy bills, but also solve the long-term problems we have in terms of energy supply.”
Truss took over as the country faced a cost-of-living crisis, industrial unrest, recession and war in Europe, where Britain was Ukraine’s top backer. She appears to be ruling out another national election in the next two years, saying she will win a big win for her party in 2024.
She succeeds Boris Johnson, who was forced to announce his resignation in July after months of scandals that saw support for his administration dwindle.
He will travel to Scotland to meet Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday to formally submit his resignation. Truss would follow him and be asked by the monarch to form a government.
With the lead replacing him, Truss will become the fourth Conservative prime minister since the 2015 election. In that span, the country has been plunged into crisis after crisis. , and is now facing what is forecast to be a protracted recession as inflation spiked to 10.1 percent in July.
Secretary of State under Johnson, Truss, 47, has promised swift action to address the cost-of-living crisis, saying within a week she will lay out a plan to tackle the energy bills. volume is increasing and ensuring fuel supply in the future.
She signaled during her leadership campaign that she would challenge convention by scrapping tax increases and cutting other taxes in a move that some economists say will spur inflation.
That, plus the Bank of England’s commitment to review transfers while protecting its independence, has led some investors to dump sterling and government bonds.
Kwasi Kwarteng, believed to be his finance minister, sought to calm markets on Monday, saying in an article in the Financial Times that under Truss there would need to be “some financial easing”. ” but her administration will act “a financially responsible way”.
Asked if he would become finance minister after Truss’ victory, Kwarteng told Reuters he did not know.
Truss faces a long, expensive and difficult list to execute, which opposition lawmakers say is the result of 12 years of poor governance by the Conservative government. Some have called for an early election – something Truss has said she will not allow.
Veteran Conservative lawmaker David Davis described the challenges she will assume as prime minister as “perhaps the second most difficult of post-war prime ministers” after Margaret Thatcher of the Conservatives. in 1979.
“I really don’t think any candidate, not one of them who’s been through it, really knows how big this is going to be,” he said, adding that the cost could run into the tens of thousands. billion pounds.
Truss has said she will appoint a strong, distributed cabinet with what a source close to her calls “presidential style” and that she will have to work hard to win first. several legislators in his party who supported Sunak in the race. .
Her victory among party members was also the narrowest of any Conservative leadership election held this century.
The Institute for Government Studies says Truss will have a weaker starting point than any of her predecessors, because she is not the most popular choice among lawmakers in her party.
First, she will turn to the pressing issue of soaring energy prices. The average annual household utility bill is expected to rise 80% in October to £3,549, before it is expected to rise to £6,000 in 2023, denting personal finances.
Britain has lagged behind other major European nations in offering to support consumer energy bills, which opposition lawmakers blame for a zombie government’s inability to act. while the Conservatives run their leadership contest.
“We’ve heard more from the latest prime minister about the corporate tax cut over the summer than we did about the cost of living crisis, the most important of which is affecting millions of households. “, said opposition Labor Party Leader Keir Starmer.
In May, the government launched a £15 billion support package to help households with energy bills as part of a £37 billion cost-of-living support scheme.
Italy has budgeted more than 52 billion euros ($51.75 billion) so far this year to help its people. In France, electricity bill increases are capped at 4%, and Germany said on Sunday it would spend at least 65 billion euros to protect consumers and businesses from rising inflation.
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