Liz Truss becomes new UK prime minister after meeting Queen
Liz Truss has become the UK’s new prime minister after meeting the Queen at Balmoral, where she was asked to form a government after the resignation of Boris Johnson.
Truss, 47, is the UK’s 56th prime minister and its third female leader. She is expected to return immediately to Downing Street and will give an address to the nation at about 4pm, before beginning to appoint her cabinet.
One of her first significant acts as prime minister is expected to be an announcement on plans to tackle the energy price crisis, with allies understood to be discussing a £100bn package to freeze bills.
The package could come as soon as Thursday and is expected to be paid via extra borrowing, rather than a windfall tax on suppliers as Labour has proposed.
Truss’s team has swiftly updated her Twitter profile to mark her new role. “Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Leader of the Conservative Party. MP for South West Norfolk,” the description states.
Key cabinet appointments are expected to be made later on Tuesday with junior roles following over the coming days. Truss is expected to appoint a cabinet of loyalists, including Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor, James Cleverly as foreign secretary and Suella Braverman as home secretary.
Other key appointments are expected to include Thérèse Coffey as health secretary, but there will be no role for her defeated leadership rival, Rishi Sunak.
Several roles are still in flux after a standoff over jobs for other key leadership rivals, including Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch and Sajid Javid. Senior sources said offers of transport, culture, education and Northern Ireland posts were among those that had not yet been assigned.
Johnson and his wife, Carrie, spent almost 40 minutes with the Queen before leaving Balmoral a few minutes before midday. Earlier, Johnson had hinted at a hope to return to frontline politics as he compared himself to a Roman statesman who was called back for a final battle
The outgoing prime minister said in remarks outside Downing Street that he would remain loyal and supportive to Truss after his departure. “Let me say that I am now like one of those booster rockets that has fulfilled its function and I will now be gently re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the Pacific.
He said he would be offering the new government nothing but “the most fervent support”.
But in a reference to the Roman statesman Cincinnatus, he said he was “returning to my plough” – although Johnson was likely to know the remark would raise eyebrows. Cincinnatus returned to Rome when called upon to be appointed temporary dictator and Johnson has used the reference before as London mayor.
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