Liz Truss is set to be the next prime minister of the United Kingdom as the results of the Conservative Party votes were declared on Monday, 5 September, at 12:30 British Standard Time (5 pm IST).
The foreign secretary prevailed over the former chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, and succeeded disgraced Tory Boris Johnson (who had resigned on 7 July) for the leadership role of the Conservative Party and the prime ministerial post.
She will become the third female prime minister of the country after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, and will inherit an economy creeping towards recession, a cost-of-living crisis, a war in Europe (which she was dealing with anyway as Foreign Secretary), and the immigration question, among other issues.
As many as 1,72,437 party members voted in the contest. Out of the valid votes, Truss received 81,326 votes and Sunak received 60,399.
"I am honoured to be elected Leader of the Conservative Party. Thank you for putting your trust in me to lead and deliver for our great country," Truss tweeted.
Truss started her victory speech by thanking the party staff "for organising one of the longest job interviews in history." She acknowledged the contributions of her colleagues, including Sunak, appreciating "the breadth and depth of talent in the Conservative party."
Sunak trailed behind Truss in all the recent polls that were conducted among the 1,60,000 fee-paying members of the Conservative Party (who are eligible to vote). Voting closed on 2 September.
On the outgoing prime minister, Truss said, "Boris, you got Brexit done. You crushed Jeremy Corbyn, you rolled out the vaccine. And you stood up to Vladimir Putin. You were admired from Kyiv to Carlisle."
"Friends and colleagues, thank you for putting your faith in me to lead our great Conservative Party, the greatest political party on Earth. And we will deliver a great victory for the Conservative Party in 2024. Thank you," she concluded.
One of the recent surveys conducted by ConservativeHome, the results of which were published on 17 August, revealed that the Foreign Secretary is 32 points ahead of the former Chancellor. According to the survey, Truss commanded the support of around 60 percent of the Tories, while Sunak stood at 28 percent. Around 9 percent were undecided.
Sunak previously indicated that he would not serve in a government led by Truss. "One thing I have reflected on quite a bit being in government, in cabinet the last few years – you really need to agree with the big things," he had said during an interview with BBC Radio 2.
Who Were the Other Contenders?
It all started with the resignation of Boris Johnson. Eight candidates nominated themselves to replace him as the leader of the Conservative Party and the British prime minister.
Apart from Sunak and Truss, the other six were:
After these six got eliminated, Truss and Sunak engaged in multiple debates to discuss their policies, especially on how they planned to tackle taxes and the cost-of-living crisis.
With respect to taxes, the foreign secretary has promised a £30 billion tax cut from her first day as PM, has promised to cancel the planned six percent rise in corporation tax, and reverse the National Insurance hike, which came into force in April.
Sunak, on the other hand, has starkly warned against hasty tax cuts and even claimed that he is the best choice to defeat the Labor Party's Keir Starmer in the 2024 elections. He has pledged to focus on bringing inflation under control and only cut taxes once that happens, presenting his position as "common-sense Thatcherism."