Liz Truss took the reins of the British government on Tuesday after her fellow Tory Boris Johnson stepped aside following numerous scandals.
Truss was appointed at a ceremonial meeting with Queen Elizabeth at Scotland’s Balmoral Castle Tuesday following a leadership vote by members of the Conservative Party, the AP reported.
Liz Truss takes control
The change in leadership comes at a challenging time for the United Kingdom and the Western world more broadly, as Russia’s war with Ukraine fuels skyrocketing energy costs. The crisis will likely worsen as Vladimir Putin cuts off gas to Europe in response to sanctions.
While the mounting burdens of the conflict are testing Western support for Ukraine, US. president Joe Biden signaled that he expected Truss to continue her predecessor’s hawkish stance on Russia.
Biden said he looked “forward to deepening the special relationship between our countries and working in close cooperation on global challenges, including continued support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression.”
But an inaugural speech from Truss in front of 10 Downing Street dwelt on the pain for Britons experiencing a cost-of-living crisis fueled by the Ukraine war. Truss pledged to see Britain through the “storm,” with reports circulating that she could enact energy price caps.
“As strong as this storm may be, I know the British people are stronger,” she said. “We have what it takes to tackle those challenges. Of course, it won’t be easy. But we can do it. We will transform Britain into an aspiration nation.”
Diversity and Ukraine?
Truss also praised Johnson, who announced his resignation in July after a series of scandals including parties during COVID lockdown, as a “hugely consequential” figure for seeing Brexit through, rolling out COVID vaccines, and “standing up” to Putin.
In his own speech, the famously eccentric and braggadocious Johnson took a similar view of his tenure as he likened himself to the Roman statesman Cincinnatus.
According to legend, Cincinnatus was appointed dictator of Rome during a time of crisis and then benevolently relinquished power for the life of a humble farmer once the crisis was over.
Johnson, whose party won a huge majority in 2019 on a pledge to get Brexit done, compared himself to “one of those booster rockets that has fulfilled its function,” adding, “I will now be gently reentering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the Pacific.”
Truss’s “diverse” Cabinet is expected to be the first in Britain’s history to include no white men in the most important roles.