Liz Truss becomes the next Prime Minister
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Just an hour before she was unveiled as Boris Johnson’s successor a Survation poll revealed that the Conservative Party is 17 points behind Labour. This followed the Techne/ Express tracker poll putting Starmer’s party 10 points ahead. It is a sign that after a long hot summer of navel gazing and a zombie government as the energy crisis spins out of control, the public are losing patience with the Conservatives.
If Ms Truss is to still be Prime Minister in two years time when she will have had to go to the country for an election then somehow she has to win back the trust lost to a massive increase in inflation and the Partygate scandal.
For that she needs to be more than a female “continuity Boris” as some have tried to portray her, she cannot just stick with the political agenda of her predecessor even though many of his most loyal supporters backed her.
Instead, as the Techne UK poll revealed this morning, she needs to prioritise the energy crisis and tax cuts.
In her victory speech, Ms Truss said: “I campaigned as a Conservative, I intend to govern as a Conservative.”
Her backers among MPs, particularly the powerful Brexiteer European Research Group (ERG), were more blunt.
They said she was the candidate to “unite the right.”
There is no doubt that she now sees herself as the heir to Thatcher, she has deepened her voice like the Iron Lady and even dressed like the greatest peacetime Conservative leader.
And like Mrs T she now faces a massive economic crisis to get to grips with and a series of very difficult political choices.
The party accepted her version of Thatcherism – cutting taxes – as opposed to the inflation busting version offered by Mr Sunak.
Arguably, as soon as she promised to cut taxes now and he said he would delay, the race was already won for Ms Truss.
In her speech she also made it clear that she would not only try to hold down energy prices but go for the causes of high energy costs.
This will involve an assault on Net Zero policies of her predecessor.
We will see gas and oil exploration in the UK to make Britain self-reliant.
There will be an end to the green levy.
The one Boris policy she is likely to stick with is the plan to go nuclear.
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It is rarely easy when a Prime Minister takes over – Boris had the Brexit negotiation crisis and a hung parliament, Theresa May came in after the EU referendum with no plan, David Cameron had to deal with five years of coalition and the worst economic crisis in a generation.
Somehow in 12 years of going from one crisis to another and one Prime Minister to another the Conservatives have managed to hold on to power.
But if Ms Truss is to continue this trend against a weak and bland Labour leader she will have to show she has the right answers to restore trust in her party again.
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