Born In 2010 in Oxford, United Kingdom, Liz Truss began her ascent to political prominence as a South West Norfolk-based Conservative MP. She became the first female lord chancellor in 2016 and the first female Conservative foreign secretary in 2021, making her the youngest female cabinet member in British history. In September 2022, Truss defeated Boris Johnson to become the new leader of the United Kingdom, but her administration was dogged by disastrous economic policies. Six weeks later, she made her resignation official.
Early Childhood And Education
Truss, the oldest of four children born to father John, a professor of mathematics, and mother Priscilla, a nurse and teacher, spent a year in Poland before relocating to Paisley, Scotland, with her family when she was four years old. She began participating in political protests there with her mother, a campaigner for nuclear disarmament member, while attending West Primary School.
Truss spent a second year abroad in British Columbia, Canada, after which he returned to England to enroll in Leeds’ comprehensive Roundhay School. She later complained about her Roundhay education, but her excellent marks led to her entrance into Merton College at the University of Oxford.
Truss was a fervent supporter of Oxford’s Liberal Democrats and eventually became their president. He pushed for the legalization of marijuana and famously attacked the monarchy in one speech. Before earning a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics in 1996, she was also active in Oxford’s Hayek Society, which honored the contributions of Austrian-British economist Friedrich Hayek.
In 1996, Truss began working for Shell as a graduate trainee and quickly became a commercial manager. She next moved on to Cable & Wireless, a communications firm, where she worked as the director of economics until 2005.
As her political aspirations solidified, Truss rose to the position of deputy director of the public services think tank Reform from 2008 to 2010, where she contributed to publications on economic and educational policy.
Member of Parliament
Truss unsuccessfully ran for the House of Commons from Hemsworth in 2001 and Calder Valley in 2005 after joining the Conservative Party in 1996. After enduring rumors of an affair with a political mentor, she was elected as a councillor for Eltham South in 2006. In 2010, she finally won a highly sought-after seat as an MP from South West Norfolk.
The Free Enterprise Group, which Truss quickly founded with like-minded MPs, made headlines in 2012 when it published Britannia Unchained and claimed that British workers were “among the worst idlers in the world.” She was appointed under secretary of state for education and child care around that time, and in early 2014, a widely publicized trip to Shanghai to look into why Chinese students performed so well in math and science further enhanced her profile.
With her nomination as secretary of state for environment, food, and rural affairs in July 2014, 38-year-old Truss became the youngest female cabinet member in British history. Truss also used her platform to campaign for the U.K.’s import of cheese, and although she aimed to attract more tech-minded workers to the food business, she was perhaps most recognized during this period for firmly stating the U.K. to “remain” in the European Union, but afterwards switched their allegiance to support Brexit.
In July 2016, Truss broke another another barrier when she was appointed as the first female lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice. She struggled to defend the courts against tabloid attacks, therefore her tenure at the department was brief. She found a better home for her free-market beliefs when she was promoted to chief secretary to the Treasury the following year and developed a regular social media presence.
In August 2019, Truss was appointed secretary of state for international trade and president of the Board of Trade. She has since negotiated post-Brexit agreements with more than fifty-dozen nations. During this period, she was also appointed minister for women and equalities, despite accusations that she ignored transgender rights and shirked her duties in the role.
Truss became the first female party member to hold the position of secretary of state for international, Commonwealth, and development affairs in September 2021 as a result of another cabinet reorganization. Truss secured the safe repatriation of British-Iranian nationals Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori to their families and took a harsh stand against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but she also risked instability with her declared willingness to renegotiate the Northern Ireland protocol.
Three days after the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his departure, Truss entered the race to lead the Conservative Party and serve as the country’s leader until the following general election. After several rounds of voting among Conservative MPs, Truss consistently lagged behind former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, but 57 percent of the party’s rank-and-file supported the foreign secretary, and on September 5, 2022, Truss was declared the winner of the contest.
UK Prime Minister
Truss received plaudits for maintaining her composure in public as the world mourned the passing of the longest-reigning British monarch shortly after formally accepting the position of prime minister during what turned out to be Queen Elizabeth II’s final royal engagement.
After then, the new premier’s situation quickly deteriorated. The tax cuts included in Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng’s “mini-budget” spooked investors after she pledged to cap household energy costs for a period of two years. As a result, the Bank of England intervened to control the soaring interest rates and the falling value of the British pound.
After canceling the proposed tax cuts for wealthy individuals and businesses, Truss had Kwarteng resign in the middle of October. But by abolishing the basic income tax rate cut and cutting the energy bill freeze from two years to six months, new Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt further undermined her plan.
On October 19, Home Secretary Suella Braverman submitted her resignation after admitting to using a personal email account for work-related conversations.
Later that day, it was claimed that Conservative MPs intimidated their peers to vote in favor of a government fracking bill in the House of Commons.