Unknown Liz Truss: what’s in the past for Johnson, who is rushing to take her place
How the daughter of leftist parents became one of the leaders of the British Conservatives
In Britain, the screening process continues for those who want to take the place of the leader of the Conservative Party and become the new Prime Minister to replace Boris Johnson, who announced his resignation . Foreign Minister Liz Truss closes the top three so far – but theoretically she could be one of the two finalists. This means that a politician trying on the image of the “new Margaret Thatcher” has a chance to become the head of the government of the United Kingdom.
Photo: Global Look Press
“I get promoted because I can lead, make and make tough decisions. I have a clear vision of where we need to be, as well as the experience and determination to get us there,” Liz Truss announced her intention to enter the party leadership competition.
But from the role of head The UK Foreign Secretary's Conservative Party is separated by its most supported rivals from Tory MPs, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt.
Bypassing them both is the maximum task for Liz Truss. The bare minimum is to knock out second-placed Mordaunt, who became the first female secretary of defense in British history under Theresa May. After Tory parliamentarians leave only two candidates on the list of applicants (as of Monday morning, there were 5 of them), members of the Conservative Party across the country will vote.
Truss is banking on promises of tax cuts: “In my leadership, I would start cutting spending from day one in order to take immediate tax action to help people cope with the cost of living.”
And this line, oriented, seems to be mainly on the rank and file of the same party, may be winning in the fight against the number 1 of the current race – ex-Chancellor of the Treasury Rishi Sunak, who is not so radical about tax cuts.
Liz Truss accuses a former government colleague of raising taxes to the highest level in 70 years, which she says threatens to stifle economic growth. But Sunak counters by arguing that the immediate tax cut will cost Britons dearly and cause higher inflation, higher mortgage rates and reduced savings. Taking the opportunity, the millionaire politician accused his rival, known for her economic libertarian views and support for free trade, nothing less … of “socialism.”
And I must say that Liz Truss comes from a family whose political position was more to the left than that of the Laborites (so Sunak could also hint at the “socialist” past of his opponent). Her parents were activists in the campaign for nuclear disarmament (and little Liz also appeared with them at pacifist marches). True, when Truss ran for the Conservative parliamentary elections, her mother agreed to support her daughter. But the father refused to do it.
The path from leftist parents to the struggle for leadership of the Tory party was not a straight one. Along the way, Liz Truss managed to be a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (and even passionately supported the abolition of the monarchy during one of the speeches in Oxford times), and only in 1996 did she join the Conservatives.
If Rishi Sunak is perceived among some party members as a “treacherous bastard” who betrayed Boris Johnson (after all, it was the scandalous departure of the Chancellor of the Exchequer from the government that ultimately led to the resignation of the prime minister), then Liz Truss, on the contrary, declares loyalty to the outgoing leader. She – unlike many – did not call on Johnson to leave his post. “I am a loyal person,” she says even now. “I am loyal to Boris Johnson. I supported the aspirations of our Prime Minister and I want to fulfill the promise made in the 2019 manifesto.”
Lise Truss has a solid background in parliament and government. The pinnacle of her career was the post of head of the Foreign Office. She was London's chief negotiator with the EU on the Brexit deal. True, she herself did not differ in consistency regarding the country's exit from the EU.
At first, she declared that she was in favor of membership in a pan-European association (“I don’t want my daughters to grow up in a world where they need a visa or a work permit in Europe, or where they are prevented from developing a business due to extortionate costs and trade barriers”) . But then she decided to vote for Brexit after all.
Be that as it may, Truss puts her foreign policy baggage in the struggle for party leadership on the scales in addition to her domestic agenda, emphasizing that, as foreign minister, it was she who helped lead the international reaction to the Russian special operation in Ukraine and “introduced tough package of sanctions against Russia. And not only to the conservative establishment, but to many ordinary Tories, this baggage seems to inspire confidence.
True, the competence of Liz Truss as the head of the foreign affairs agency is well evidenced by the case that has become a byword, when in February she stated with a blue eye that “Great Britain will never recognize Russian sovereignty” over the Voronezh and Rostov regions. Truss, as it turned out, considered these regions to belong to Ukraine.
Liz Truss's rampant Ukrainophilia even brought her to the brink of conflict with British laws – when asked if she supports compatriots who want to volunteer to go to the aid of Kyiv in order to resist Russian troops, the minister replied: “Absolutely.” For this, she got from a number of Conservative MPs, who pointed out that the actions of such volunteers are considered illegal in accordance with the legislation in force in the United Kingdom.
Another “chip” used by Liz Truss in the race for leadership, was the exploitation of the image of Margaret Thatcher, contempt for which was cherished in her leftist family, shouting at marches for nuclear disarmament “Maggie, Maggie, go away!” After a trip to Eastern Europe in the 1990s, Truss concluded that Thatcher “took the right approach.”
And it doesn’t matter that the Iron Lady 2.0 has a lower pipe and thinner smoke. Things got to the point that Truss appeared at one of the last TV debates dressed a la Thatcher: a white blouse with a large bow in front and a black blazer. This is how the first female Prime Minister in the history of Great Britain was dressed during the election campaign in 1979.
During the debate, Liz Truss tries to copy not only Thatcher's clothes, but also the manner of speech. And even the famous shots of the current head of the British Foreign Office, leaning out of the tank in a helmet and body armor, resemble similar photos of Baroness Thatcher, posing from a tank hatch.
However, Thatcher calls Rishi Sunak a role model, reminding that the future The Iron Lady grew up in an apartment above her father's grocery store, while he, before he became a millionaire, helped in his mother's pharmacy. And he calls his economic policy “Thatcherism of common sense.” So, in this clearing, fierce battles are ahead between party members rushing to power for the right to raise a banner with the name Thatcher in 2022.