The outgoing Prime Minister will travel to Scotland to formally hand in his resignation to the Queen after leaving his office in Downing Street for the last time.
LONDON, UK — Liz Truss may be following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who left his Downing Street office for the last time early Tuesday for Scotland to formally tender his resignation.
The British leader, who announced her resignation two months ago, is due to meet the monarch at her Balmoral estate later this morning to begin the transfer of power to Leeds Terrass.
Truss was named leader of the ruling Conservative Party on Monday, and she will be appointed Prime Minister soon after in a meeting with the Queen.
Outside 10 Downing Street, Johnson said his policies had helped Britain’s economy help people through the energy crisis, and he called on the Conservative Party to come together in support of Truss during the ” difficult times’ facing Britain. Then he said goodbye in his typically colorful language.
“I’m like one of those pitchers who gets the job done,” Johnson said. “I will now gently re-enter the atmosphere and dive unseen into a remote, dark corner of the Pacific Ocean.”
Johnson, 58, became prime minister three years ago after his predecessor, Theresa May, failed to get Britain out of the European Union. Johnson then won an 80-seat majority in parliament with a promise to “get Brexit done”.
But he was driven away by a series of scandals that culminated in the resignation of dozens of cabinet secretaries and lower-level officials in early July. He mentioned the crash as he split, saying he passed the baton to Truss and “it unexpectedly turned into a relay race”.
While many observers expected Johnson to attempt a political comeback, he expressed support for Truss, likening himself to Roman dictator Cincinnatus who gave up power and returned to the farm to live a peaceful life.
“Like Cincinnatus, I’m going back to my plow,” he said. “I will offer nothing but my most enthusiastic support to this government.”
Johnson will officially step down at noon, when he meets Elizabeth at Balmoral, his summer retreat in Aberdeenshire.
It was the first time in the Queen’s 70-year reign that the transfer of power had taken place at Balmoral, and not at Buckingham Palace in London. The ceremony was moved to Scotland to provide certainty on the schedule as the 96-year-old Queen ran into issues forcing palace officials to make day-to-day decisions about her travels.
Truss, 47, took office a day after 172,000 Conservative Party members elected his leader.
On Tuesday afternoon, she is due to deliver her first speech as the leader of a country of 67 million people worried about soaring energy bills and a looming winter of recession and social unrest. The problems have escalated over the past two months as Johnson lacks the power to make key policy decisions after announcing his intention to step down.
Speaking to Conservative Party members on Monday, Truss promised to “deliver” the economy, the energy crisis and an overburdened healthcare system, although she gave few details on her policy. On Sunday, Truss pledged to unveil his plan to tackle the cost of living crisis within a week.
Bronwyn Maddox, director of international affairs at Chatham House, said Truss “needs to say more” to reach a wider constituency.
“At this point, everything per street comes down to the cost of living,” Maddox said. “When she delivers, in her words, the mood can become more positive.”
Many Britons are still learning about the man who will soon be their leader.
Unlike Johnson, who became a media personality long before he became prime minister, Truss quietly rose through the ranks of the Conservative Party before being named foreign secretary, one of the top Cabinet posts, a year ago. .
Truss is under pressure to explain how she plans to help individuals and businesses struggling to pay their energy bills, which are expected to reach £3,500 ($4,000) next month for the average household, tripling the cost a year ago.
During her leadership campaign, she pledged to help people struggling to pay their bills, but declined to say what form that help would take.
The price hit more than 10% for the first time in 40 years due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and aftershocks from COVID-19 and Brexit. The Bank of England forecasts 13.3% in October, with the UK entering recession by the end of the year.
Train drivers, port workers, garbage collectors, postal workers and lawyers have all gone on strike to demand pay rises keep pace with inflation, and millions of teachers and nurses are set to quit their jobs in the coming months.
The truth of the small-government, low-tax Conservatives said his top priority was to cut taxes and reduce regulation to spur economic growth. Critics say it will fuel inflation while leaving the cost of living crisis unresolved. Uncertainty rocked currency markets, with the pound falling to $1.15, its weakest performance against the greenback since the 1980s.
Truss’ first priority will be to appoint a cabinet to deal with the many challenges facing the government.
Kwasi Kwarteng, a former economy minister in the Johnson government, is seen as the darling of the key role of chief financial officer. Like Truss, Kwarteng is a liberal woman in the style of 1980s Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But the scale of the economic crisis could mean he and Truss must suppress their small-country instincts and spend billions helping people to pay their bills.
Kwarteng wrote in the Financial Times on Monday that the lattice government would “take immediate action…to get families and businesses through this winter and into the next.” He also did not provide any information.
In theory, Truss has time to succeed: she has yet to call a national election in 2024. But opinion polls have given the main opposition Labor party a solid lead, and the worse the economy is getting , the greater the pressure.
Truss and his new cabinet have also faced several foreign policy crises, including war in Ukraine and a frosty relationship with the European Union after Brexit.
As foreign secretary, Truss is a strong supporter of Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression, and as prime minister she will continue to provide Kyiv with British civilian and military support. She said her first phone call with world leaders would be with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
She also pledged to increase UK defense spending to 3% of GDP from just over 2% – another costly promise.
She is expected to have calmer talks with EU leaders who are angry at Truss’ hardline stance as foreign secretary in Northern Ireland trade rules talks, an unresolved Brexit issue. which has damaged London’s relations with Brussels. The dispute could escalate into a trade war between Britain and the 27-nation bloc as Britain threatens to break a legally binding divorce agreement and the European Union takes legal action in return.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney expressed hope that Truss would adopt a more moderate approach once in office.
“Many key decision makers are trying to shake hands with Liz Truss and send a signal that we can find a way forward on this issue if she decides to change course in a more positive way and come to an intelligent compromise with EU,” he said. .
Suzy Bran contributed to this story.