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Liz Truss

Liz Truss becomes Downing Street’s briefest incumbent

LONDON: Liz Truss is set to become the shortest-serving prime minister in Britain’s history, after the public, MPs and the markets comprehensively rejected the self-styled heir to Margaret Thatcher.

Truss succeeded Boris Johnson by selling to the Conservative rank-and-file a plan to turbo-charge economic growth through tax cuts, via increased borrowing.

She accused her rival in this summer’s Tory leadership race, Rishi Sunak, of “scaremongering” when he warned that such an approach at a time of rampant inflation would drive up interest rates for millions of Britons.

But that is exactly what happened.

On Thursday, Truss was forced to announce her own resignation, a week after firing her finance minister and “ideological soulmate”, Kwasi Kwarteng, in a desperate bid to shore up her position.

The Tories expect to have a new leader in place by October 28, meaning Truss will comfortably under-perform 19th-century leader George Canning, who died in office after serving for 118 days.

She is no stranger to screeching U-turns, having begun her political journey as the Liberal Democrat-supporting daughter of progressive parents. At that time, she also opposed the monarchy and Brexit.

Her youthful calls to abolish the royal family ran headlong into her new role when Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, only two days after appointing Truss.

The new prime minister paid tribute to the late monarch, curtsied to King Charles III, and joined the queen’s successor on a tour of his new UK realms.

But her tribute from the steps of 10 Downing Street was widely seen as stilted, betraying the leaden oratory of Truss in comparison to the verbal theatrics of Johnson.

Yet after scandal-ridden Johnson, Truss’s unvarnished style and promises of a right-wing agenda found favour with the Tory membership.

– ‘Human hand grenade’ –

“She’s always been outspoken. She’s always been a disrupter,” said Mark Littlewood, head of the Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank and a former member of Oxford University’s Liberal Democrat club with Truss.

“You really need to understand Elizabeth Truss as a kind of free-market liberal,” he told the Media when she took power.

Truss’s rise to become the UK’s third female prime minister inevitably led to comparisons with the first: Thatcher.

During her year-long stint as foreign minister, Truss was pictured riding atop a tank and sporting a Russian fur hat in Moscow, just like the Tory icon.

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.