the conservative Liz Truss became the new British prime minister on Tuesday, ending the controversial three-year term of Boris Johnsonwho on leaving office promised him his “most fervent support”.
The 47-year-old former Foreign Minister was appointed the day before in the internal election for the leadership of the Conservative Party, against former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, a 42-year-old former banker billionaire, grandson of Indian immigrants.
On Tuesday he traveled to the Scottish residence of the Queen isabel II in Balmoral, where, in a formal meeting of just half an hour, the queen and head of state commissioned him to form a government as the new majority leader.
In an image released by officials of the royal house, both women were seen smiling, shaking hands.
Third woman at the head of the British executive, after Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) y Theresa May (2016-2019), Truss represents the most right-wing wing of the party and promised to lower taxes to boost a British economy on the brink of recession.
Just before, the monarch had received Johnson, who officially presented his resignation as Prime Minister, “which Her Majesty had the gracious pleasure of accepting,” according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.
The controversial conservative politician, 58, forced to resign in early July by his own deputies outraged by a multiplication of scandals, said goodbye early in the morning at the gates of Downing Street, before a crowd of supporters and relatives.
He took stock of his three years in office, recalling that in 2019 he achieved the most important conservative majority since 1987 with the promise of carrying out a Brexit that seemed impossible after years of political chaos.
From “the fastest distribution of vaccines in Europe” against covid-19, to the “early delivery of weapons to the Ukrainian forces” against the Russian invasion, through “unemployment at a minimum never seen since I was 10 years old”, One by one he reviewed his achievements.
“I am like one of those booster rockets that has served its purpose and now I will gently re-enter the atmosphere and plunge invisibly into some remote and dark corner of the Pacific” and “I will offer this government only my most fervent support,” he said.
Main challenge, the famine
The transfer of power usually takes place in Buckingham, in the center of London, less than 10 minutes by car from Downing Street.
But this year, due to the 96-year-old queen’s mobility problems, both Johnson and her successor traveled more than 500 miles to Scotland.
Later, Truss undertook the return to the capital, where she must give her first speech as prime minister in the same place where Johnson said goodbye, before forming her new executive.
On Wednesday Truss will preside over her first council of ministers and will have to face the opposition leader, Labor Keir Starmer, in the House of Commons, who on Monday accused her of “not being on the side of working people”, suffocated by inflation of more than 10 percent.
British households will face an 80% rate cap increase on gas and electricity bills from October and many businesses and institutions, including hospitals and schools, have warned that they will have to cut back or even close due to the inability to pay. .
Elected in a vote open only to the 172,000 members of the Conservative Party, in a country of 67 million inhabitants, several polls showed that a large part of the British do not trust Truss’s ability to face the challenge of the crisis.
Despite the scandals, from “Partygate” – the parties held in Downing Street during lockdowns – to accusations of cronyism, Johnson continues to enjoy popularity with the Conservative base and is said to be hurt to leave.
But on Tuesday he reiterated his call for unity, to overcome the divisions in the party aggravated by the power struggle between Truss and Sunak.
“I’m just saying to my party that if Dylan and Larry have been able to overcome their occasional difficulties, so can the Conservative Party,” he joked, referring to his dog and cat who live in Downing Street.
In his first speech on Monday, Truss ruled out calling early legislative elections, but promised victory in the next ones, scheduled for January 2025 at the latest, against a Labor Party that continues to gain ground.
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