By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Truss, Britain’s third female government leader, now has to tackle soaring prices, boost the economy, ease labor unrest and fix the national health service burdened by long waiting lists and staff shortages.
Following her meeting with the queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Truss rushed to appoint a team diverse in gender and ethnicity but loyal to her and the free-market politics that she hopes will help overcome Britain’s crisis.
Kwasi Kwarteng became the country’s first Black Treasury chief, and Therese Coffey became its first female deputy prime minister.
Other appointments include James Cleverly as foreign secretary and Suella Braverman as home secretary, responsible for immigration and law and order.
Truss, a 47-married mother of two, replaced Boris Johnson, who stepped down as prime minister following a series of scandals.
They traveled in separate planes to see Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle, rather than the traditional Buckingham Palace setting. The 96-year-old queen missed many events on the royal calendar because of her health but did not want to delegate this one.
In a private audience, Johnson bowed to the queen and tendered his resignation. Truss followed, asking permission to form a government. The ceremony is called “kissing hands,” though, in modern politics, there is no kissing.
Truss then returned to London as Britain’s 56th prime minister, where she pledged in a brief speech outside the official Downing Street residence that she was “determined to deliver.”
British media reported that Truss plans to cap energy bills which would cost taxpayers up to 100 billion pounds ($116 billion).
“We shouldn’t be daunted by the challenges we face,” Truss said. “As strong as the storm may be, I know the British people are stronger.’’
Earlier in the day, in farewell remarks, Johnson referred to himself as a booster rocket that has “fulfilled its function.”
He also boasted of his accomplishments and compared himself to Cincinnatus, a Roman statesman who stepped down for the good of the Republic.
But, according to legend, the statesman later came out of retirement to lead the people again.
Despite all the scandals, Johnson remains popular with his party’s grassroots and may someday stage a comeback, commentators say.
But for now, all eyes were directed towards Truss, whose family prepared to occupy the residence in Downing Street.
Hugh O’Leary, who reluctantly joined in posing for photos, and Truss have been married for about 22 years. He is a chartered accountant and father of their two teenage daughters. O’Leary, 48, didn’t play a role on the campaign trail this summer. While the family will take up residence at Downing Street, they will probably not do so in the two-bedroom private residence above famed 10 Downing Street but the four-bedroom apartment at 11 Downing Street. The latter is more spacious and has been preferred by most prime ministers since 1997, according to commentators following prime ministers.
Truss and her husband met at the 1997 Conservative Party conference. On their first date, she invited O’Leary to go ice skating. “He sprained his ankle,” she told You magazine. They wed three years later.
Their marriage was thrust into the notorious British media spotlight in the mid-2000s after it emerged that Truss had a months-long affair with Conservative lawmaker Mark Field. Her marriage survived; his did not.