New UK leader vows to tackle energy crisis, ailing economy

Danika Kirka, Jill Lawless

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Liz Truss became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on Tuesday and immediately faced the enormous challenges ahead of her. Understaffed.

The Truss soon began appointing senior members of the cabinet to deal with the inboxes, which were dominated by the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Truss, who became Britain’s third female Prime Minister, has nominated a top team that is gender- and ethnically-diverse but loyal to her and her free-market politics. Kwasi Kwarteng becomes Britain’s first black Treasury Secretary and Therese Coffey becomes the first female Deputy Prime Minister. Other appointments include James Cleverley as Foreign Secretary and Suela Braverman as Home Secretary in charge of immigration and law and order.

In his debut speech outside his new home in Downing Street between torrential rains, Truss said he would cut taxes to spur economic growth, strengthen the National Health Service and “help” the energy crisis. However, he gave few details. how she implements those policies; She will announce her energy plans on Thursday.

British news media reported that the truss is planning to cap energy charges. The cost to taxpayers of that step could reach £100 billion ($116 billion).

In his first speech as prime minister, Truss said, “We should not be daunted by the challenges we face.” “No matter how strong the storm is, I know the British are strong.”

Truss, 47, was inaugurated earlier in the day at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where Queen Elizabeth II formalized her to form a new government in a carefully choreographed ceremony based on centuries-old traditions. Resigning Prime Minister Boris Johnson formally resigned during an audience with the Queen two months after announcing his intention to resign.

It was the first time in the Queen’s 70-year reign that a handover of power had taken place at Balmoral rather than at Buckingham Palace in London. The ceremony was moved to Scotland to secure a schedule.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who worked closely with Johnson to combat Russian aggression in Ukraine, immediately congratulated Truss.

“I look forward to deepening the special relationship between our two countries and working closely together to address global challenges, including continued support for Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression,” he said on Twitter. .

Mr Truss became prime minister a day after the ruling Conservative Party elected him as leader in an election in which the 172,000 paying members of the party are the only voters. As party leader, Truss automatically became prime minister without the need for a general election.

But the Truss, elected as the country’s leader by less than 0.5% of UK adults, is under pressure to show fast results.

Opposition Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davy on Tuesday called for early elections in October, but it is highly unlikely that the Truss and the Conservatives will do so as the Conservative Party languish in polls.

Mr Johnson, 58, took office three years ago after his predecessor Theresa May failed to get Britain out of the EU. Mr Johnson then pledged to “get Brexit done” and won a majority of 80 seats in parliament.

But a series of scandals forced him to resign, leading to the resignation of dozens of chief cabinet secretaries and lower-level officials in early July.

Many in the UK are still learning about their new leader, the former accountant who became a Member of Parliament in 2010.

Johnson was a media celebrity long before he became prime minister, but Truss quietly rose through the ranks of the Conservative Party just a year ago before being appointed foreign secretary, one of the cabinet’s most important posts. let me

In theory, Truss has time to make a mark. There is no need to hold national elections until late 2024. But polls already show the largest opposition Labor party a steady lead, and the worse the economy gets, the more pressure will come. growing up.

In addition to the woes within Britain, Truss and her new cabinet will also face multiple foreign policy crises, including the war in Ukraine and frosty post-Brexit relations with the EU.

As Foreign Secretary, Truss was a firm supporter of Ukraine’s resistance to Russia.

The Truss also pledged to increase Britain’s defense spending from just over 2% to 3% of gross domestic product.

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