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Liz Truss, a political chameleon, is ready for her most difficult transformation yet: being the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.


Liz Truss, who would succeed Boris Johnson as UK Prime Minister, has gone from being a radical abolitionist to a standard-bearer for the Eurosceptic conservative right.

Who could succeed Boris Johnson as UK Prime Minister?



The person likely to replace Boris Johnson as leader of Britain's ruling Conservative Party and prime minister of the United Kingdom is a political chameleon who has gone from radical abolitionist to standard-bearer for the Eurosceptic conservative right.

Liz Truss, who was only elected to Parliament in 2010, has established herself — in a relatively short period of time — as a political force that pursues her agenda with relentless vigor and unequivocal enthusiasm.

Yet with most opinion polls suggesting she's poised to get the keys to 10 Downing Street, her critics ask: what exactly does she represent?

Many who have watched her over the years wonder if she has any sincere beliefs or if she simply endorses whatever is most convenient at the time.

To say that Truss has been on a political journey would be an understatement.

She was born in 1975 into a family that she herself has described as "to the left of Labour", the main socialist opposition.

She grew up in parts of the UK that traditionally didn't vote Conservative, moving between Scotland and the north of England.


Unlike his privately educated cabinet colleagues, Truss went to public school in Leeds and later won a place at Oxford University.

There he was an active member of the Liberal Democrats, a centrist opposition party that has long been an effective opponent of the Conservatives in much of England.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss listens during a Conservative Party membership drive at the All Nations Center on August 3, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales.

During his time as a Liberal Democrat, Truss supported the legalization of cannabis and the abolition of the royal family, positions that are at odds with what most would consider mainstream conservatism in 2022.

Truss says she joined the Conservatives in 1996, just two years after she gave a speech at a Liberal Democrat conference calling for an end to the monarchy.

Even then, her fellow liberal Democrats questioned her sincerity, detecting traits they still see in her today.

"Honestly, I think she was saying what her voters wanted to hear back then, whether she was talking about decriminalizing drugs or abolishing the monarchy," Neil Fawcett, a Liberal Democrat councilman who campaigned with Truss in the US, told CNN. '90s. "I think she's someone who entertains the audience she's speaking to, and I really don't know if she ever believes anything she says, back then or now."

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Truss has certainly continued to capture the attention of her audience.

Since he joined the Conservatives and is a Member of Parliament, he has fervently supported just about every ideology imaginable.

She loyally served three prime ministers in several different cabinet positions, and is currently Foreign Secretary.

In particular, he supported remaining in the European Union in 2016. At the time, Truss tweeted that he backed those who wanted to stay in the bloc because "it is in Britain's economic interest and means we can focus on vital economic and social reform at home." ."

Truss now backs Brexit and says her fears before the referendum that it could cause "disruption" were wrong.

The challenger is even threatening to scrap all remaining EU legislation in the UK and nullify the Brexit deal Johnson negotiated with Brussels in a way the EU believes is illegal.

She also blamed France and the EU for border controls at Dover, the main port between the UK and France.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss take part in the BBC Leadership Debate at Victoria Hall on July 25, 2022 in Hanley, England.

There is a debate within the Conservative Party about how real this support for Euroscepticism really is.

Some think that Truss was reluctantly following government orders at the time of the referendum in 2016, that he opposed Brexit.

Others find that argument inconceivable.

Anna Soubry, a former Conservative cabinet minister, told CNN that Truss "had the strongest protection of all of us to support Brexit. Her briefing at the time included the farming community, who were generally supportive of Brexit. I sat around the cabinet table and listened to everyone's reason for doing what they did and I find it hard to believe that he changed his mind so much.

On the other hand, Gavin Barwell, who served as former Prime Minister Theresa May's chief of staff, said that, after the Brexit vote, "Truss made a decision very quickly that there was no room for compromise. To do it it needed to be done entirely. And as the impasse dragged on, he argued that a binary choice was looming between leaving without a deal and reversing Brexit, and that the latter would be catastrophic for the government."

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The closer she comes to power, the more Britons are wondering what a prime minister with Truss in office would look like.

She has campaigned to lead the most conservative agendas.

She pledged to cut taxes from day one, break EU regulations and encourage private sector growth with low corporate tax.

She has said she will not impose a windfall tax on energy companies even though they posted huge profits during the energy and cost-of-living crisis.

These kinds of policies are, of course, red meat for the Conservative members who will ultimately vote for her.

And while some who know her wonder how much she truly believes in them, there's no doubt she'll go to any lengths to implement them and make their impact immediately felt.

Liz Truss speaks during an event in Ludlow, Britain, as part of her campaign to be the leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister, on August 3, 2022.

A Truss prime minister is likely to ultimately look a lot like Johnson, but with a greater emphasis on cutting taxes, shrinking the state, and potentially an even tougher line on Europe.

Critics have said the tax cuts she promised would lead to even higher inflation and interest rate hikes amid a predicted recession.

Questions have also been raised about a promise Truss made to cut public sector wages, which allegedly saved the public $8.8 billion.

Critics of hers have questioned her economics, and uproar over perceived callousness toward public sector workers forced Truss to change course.

Julian Glover, a journalist and speechwriter for former Prime Minister David Cameron, was a contemporary college student of Truss's and recalls traits in her that are still recognizable today: determined but unfocused.

"We only crossed paths briefly and she was in a different year from me, but despite that, she stands out in my memory as a kind of weird, unfocused force, hugely in favor of action and change," Glover said.

"It was always difficult to see the point of everything, or where she could lead, except that she would be at the center of everything."

Roger Crouch, who succeeded Truss as president of the Oxford University Liberal Democrats, told CNN he remembers a woman who was "determined, resolute and willing to challenge orthodox and prevailing, often male, wisdom."

Unlike many who knew Truss when she was younger, Crouch, now a teacher, thinks her views haven't changed much since the '90s. "Liz was always more of a libertarian, privatizing liberal, so there's a consistent thread of thought there. I remember a student focus group where he advocated privatization of power poles."

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If she wins, Truss will have a hard time uniting her party, which has been in power for 12 years and bitterly divided over Brexit for six of them.

He will also have to lead the country through its worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.

Inflation is at a 40-year high, energy bills are set to rise by hundreds, possibly thousands of pounds a year, and the UK is forecast to enter a recession before the end of the year.

This winter, many families will have to make a difficult choice between eating or staying warm.

And for a party that has been in power for more than a decade, it's hard to shift blame elsewhere.

His followers see the opportunity for a fresh start at Truss.

They believe that with Brexit out of the way and the scandals that led to Johnson's downfall soon to be a distant memory, the party will focus on staying in power and winning a historic fifth consecutive general election.

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For his detractors, it is more complicated.

During this competition for leadership, those who have supported their rivals feel that they have been unfairly maligned simply for disputing that Truss should be given the keys to Downing Street.

When it comes to running the country, this could be a problem for Truss.

He had the support of fewer parliamentarians than his rival Rishi Sunak during the early stages of the contest and the rancor between the two sides has worsened over time.

And for all Truss's determination and steadfastness, if he takes charge of a party torn apart by infighting and suffering at the polls during a cost-of-living crisis that occurred under Conservative watch, he could find his mark. key a task too difficult to accomplish: making his party eligible in the next general election after nearly a decade and a half in power.

Conservative PartyPolitics

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2022-08-14

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