September 6, 2022

UK’s Johnson bows out as PM, Liz Truss to be appointed by queen

Truss is asked by the British monarch to form a new government a day after the Conservative Party picked her as a leader.

Liz Truss has became Britain’s next prime minister after meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, who asked her to form a new government.

Truss, 47, took office on Tuesday in the carefully choreographed ceremony with the monarch a day after the ruling Conservative Party announced that Truss was elected as its leader.

“The Queen received in Audience The Right Honourable Elizabeth Truss MP today and requested her to form a new Administration,” a Buckingham Palace statement said.

“Ms Truss accepted Her Majesty’s offer and kissed hands upon her appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury,” it added.

Her predecessor, Boris Johnson, formally stepped down during his own audience with the queen at her Balmoral estate in Scotland.

Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with his wife Carrie Johnson, arrives to deliver a speech on his last day in office
Johnson, with his wife Carrie Johnson, arrives to deliver a speech outside Downing Street [Henry Nicholls/Reuters]

In his last speech as the prime minister, Johnson said earlier on Tuesday that his policies had given the country the economic strength to help people weather the energy crisis before he signed off with his typical bluster.

“I am like one of those booster rockets that has fulfilled its function,” Johnson said before getting into a car and leaving the gates of Downing Street for the last time as prime minister.

“I will now be gently re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the Pacific.”

On Monday, the Conservative Party’s 172,000 members elected Truss to lead their party.

On Tuesday afternoon, she is expected to make her first speech as leader of a nation of 67 million people anxious about soaring energy bills and a looming winter of recession and labour unrest.

Those problems have festered for the past two months because Johnson had no authority to make major policy decisions after announcing his plan to step down.

Speaking to Conservative Party members on Monday, Truss promised to “deliver” on the economy, the energy crisis and the overstretched healthcare system, though she offered few specifics on her policies.

Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan, reporting from London, said that as Truss settles behind the prime ministerial desk, the political tempo will accelerate immediately.

“Urgent issues are screaming for attention … The number one priority at 10 Downing Street is undoubtedly Britain’s deepening cost-of-living crisis, and central to that is the cost of gas and electricity,” he said.

“IMF data says Britain is being hit harder than any other western European country by massive fuel price rises. In 2021, a typical UK household paid around $1,400 a year for energy. By early next year, an average bill could hit $7,600 a year,” he added.

“It means fuel poverty for millions of people. The new prime minister says she has a plan.”

On Sunday, Truss promised to unveil her plans for tackling the cost-of-living crisis within a week.

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