Liz Truss has emerged as the most favourite to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the ruling Conservative party and prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Truss’s only competitor, Rishi Sunak sparked the contest after resigning in opposition to a government scandals. Sunak’s resignation prompted others to follow and Boris Johnson had to step down.
Rishi Sunak, however, came under fire for clinging to fiscal orthodoxy to tackle the economic crisis.
Truss has hammered home a direct and consistent message, promising massive tax cuts, and has shied away from criticising Johnson.
Truss, 47, has described her ascent towards the top of British politics as a “journey” that has been criticised for being ambitious. She comes from a left-wing family and initially joined the centrist Liberal Democrats before joining the right-wing Conservatives.
Liz Truss became MP for the South West Norfolk constituency in eastern England in 2010, surviving revelations of an affair that almost cost her the nomination.
Since 2012 she has held some important ministerial posts in the education, finance and departments, including a difficult spell in justice.
In 2016, she campaigned for the UK to remain in the European Union but quickly became one of its strongest supporters when Britons voted for Brexit.
“She’s a better politician,” said John Curtice, a political scientist at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
“If you ask me what Liz Truss’s campaign was about I will immediately say to you: ‘a tax cut not a handout’. Very clear,” he told AFP.
“There is no strapline for Sunak, nothing.”
For Curtice, Truss has effectively conveyed “traditional Conservative messages” to Tory members while Sunak has been more nuanced.
“It’s also a bit of a lecture,” he said, assessing that he has come across as “a wee bit brittle” under pressure.
“You can see that she’s been in the game for longer,” he added.
When the UK left the EU, Johnson put her in charge of negotiating new free trade deals before appointing her as foreign secretary last year.
In the role, she took on the controversial task of trying to overhaul differences with Brussels about post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland.
Like Johnson, she has talked tough on Russia and given unswerving backing for Ukraine.
Truss’s dress sense and photo opportunities — posing in a tank in Estonia and wearing a fur hat in Moscow — have earned her comparisons to Tory icon Margaret Thatcher.