Defeating her rival Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss became the new British Prime Minister after Boris Johnson’s resignation. To mark the occasion, GLOBSEC asked experts from different fields what they see as the major positives and negatives of Liz Truss being appointed UK’s Prime Minister.
Dr. Charles Tannock, Associate Fellow, GLOBSEC and Former Member of European Parliament
Truss becomes PM on an underwhelming mandate from her own MPs and at a time of unresolved Brexit issues, rising UK inflation, and potential political crisis over domestic energy costs due to Russian gas blackmail. One of her first priorities is to restore honour to the Prime Minister’s office and its reputation for upholding international law, which will be challenging as she has unwisely said she would resolve the NI Protocol by overriding the Withdrawal Agreement, which risks an EU trade war. I would appeal to her to face down the party’s Brexiteer hardliners and have an entente cordiale reset with the EU, listen to the majority in Northern Ireland and the USA over the protocol which needs amending, not scrapping, and continue Johnson’s legacy of strong military support for Ukraine. More controversially, she has also hinted at declaring China a threat to the UK alongside Russia.
Catherine Girard, Political Science PhD Candidate, Masaryk University
Truss inherits a country in crisis. From soaring inflation to the rising cost of living, she begins her premiership under intense duress, especially with winter approaching. In response, her prioritization of tax-cutting policies – that would primarily benefit higher-income households – over direct support represents an untested solution and could start her off on the wrong foot. Globally, the decision for Wallace to remain Defense Secretary provides much-needed continuity. Nonetheless, making a case for the continued support of Ukraine will be another early challenge. Regionally, the stability of the UK’s relationship with the EU remains in the air, particularly regarding the Northern Ireland protocol and its potential to lead to an EU trade war, which would greatly affect the UK’s already struggling economy.
Clara Panella Gómez, Policy Lead, Volt Spain
In her first speech after being appointed leader of the Conservative Party, Liz Truss confirmed that she would unconditionally back Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion. This is good news for Europe- the consequences of this act of aggression are already having a significant impact on the continent, and it is now more important than ever to ensure this support is not crumbling. On the other hand, she thanked her predecessor, Boris Johnson, for his work over Brexit, once again stressing her Euroscepticism. This message comes as a heavy blow for those who hoped for smoother EU-UK relations in the coming years and will certainly define her government.