The new prime minister of Britain, Liz Truss, took office on Tuesday. She is expected to address the energy and inflation crises within the next few days with a comprehensive plan to freeze fuel prices.
Following Boris Johnson’s official resignation at Queen Elizabeth II‘s Balmoral residence in Scotland, Ms. Truss accepted the monarch’s invitation to form a government, completing the handover of power following a two-month leadership election.
Earlier, Mr. Johnson bid the Conservative Party farewell in a speech in which he expressed grief at leaving Downing Street but asked the party to stand behind Ms. Truss.
After the formalities were over, Ms. Truss was scheduled to go back to London to focus on selecting a new Conservative cabinet and dealing with the economic storm clouds that were expected to dominate the first few months of her administration.
According to plans provided to media, Ms. Truss may keep home energy costs at their current level of £1,971 ($2,283) per year at least through January and perhaps even through the anticipated 2024 election.
Stopping the impending 80% increase in costs might cost as much as £100 billion ($116 billion), which would represent a quick shift in Ms. Truss’s position after she spent the Tory leadership race advocating for tax cuts rather than government handouts.
The incoming prime minister would undertake a “decisive intervention,” according to Simon Clarke, a Treasury minister and friend of Ms. Truss, to assist people in navigating the situation that is developing in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The opposition Labour Party was concerned by claims that the money would be recovered through higher rates over a period of 10 to 20 years, which raised questions about how such a freeze would be paid for.
Paul Massara, the former CEO of the energy company npower, said on LBC radio: “This isn’t a freebie.” Labour MPs asked for a windfall tax on energy companies to pay for the freeze.
It was anticipated that Ms. Truss, who won the Conservative leadership election by defeating Rishi Sunak, would choose her close ally Kwasi Kwarteng to serve as chancellor of the exchequer.
Suella Braverman, who lost the race for the leadership, and former Middle East minister James Cleverly were also in the running for important roles in Ms. Truss’s government.
Nadine Dorries and Priti Patel, two senior Johnson ministers, announced they would leave the front benches before Ms. Truss made her announcements.
While culture secretary Ms. Dorries announced her resignation from the cabinet and was widely expected to join the House of Lords, home secretary Ms. Patel said she would step down once a replacement had been named.
After giving his last statement in Downing Street early on Tuesday, Mr. Johnson submitted his resignation at Balmoral after being forced out by Tory MPs who lost patience after a string of scandals.
He pushed the Conservatives to come together in a speech replete with rhetorical flourishes, but he also voiced irritation over his mid-term resignation, arguing that MPs had “changed the rules halfway through.”
He left people guessing with an enigmatic allusion to the Roman statesman Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who is rumored to have emerged from retirement for a second stay in power, amid rumors that he will attempt a comeback at some point.
The queen, 96, who has mobility issues and has canceled a number of public appearances recently, chose not to travel back to London for the transfer, so Mr. Johnson travelled to Scotland to tender his resignation.
Ms. Truss made her way to Balmoral on her own to accept the invitation to form a government, becoming the 15th prime minister in the queen’s 70-year reign and the first since Winston Churchill.
She follows fellow Conservative leaders Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher as the third female prime minister.
Leaders from around the world applauded Ms. Truss but also pushed her to cooperate with the European Union following Mr. Johnson’s administration’s frequently tumultuous UK-EU relations.
The British people are our friends, and the British nation is our ally, declared French President Emmanuel Macron after Ms. Truss indicated last month that it was unclear if she thought he was a friend or adversary.