Liz Truss latest: New prime minister told ‘no more time to waste’ on cost of living

Moment Liz Truss is announced as new Tory leader and next prime minister

Liz Truss has been warned that there is “no more time to waste” in tackling the cost of living crisis, after defeating Tory leadership Rishi Sunak in a bruising six-week race to succeed Boris Johnson.

The foreign secretary faced warnings of one of the toughest in-trays of any new PM in decades as she is handed the keys to No 10 at Balmoral on Tuesday, with Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford among many insisting that “action is needed now” to “save millions from hardship this winter”.

Sir Graham Brady, the 1922 Committee chair, announced on Monday that Ms Truss had won the contest with 57 per cent of the vote – the slimmest margin of any Tory leader appointed by party members, in a race marked by blue-on-blue attacks and dire warnings over her economic plans.

In contrast with her campaign rhetoric, reports suggest Ms Truss is considering freezing energy bills if she wins the keys to No 10, with The Times suggesting the package could be on the scale of the Covid furlough scheme introduced by Mr Sunak while chancellor.

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The first man: Who is Liz Truss’s husband Hugh O’Leary?

Liz Truss will be accompanied in No 10 by Hugh O’Leary, her husband, who has largely stayed out of the spotlight during his wife’s rise to the top of British public life.

The accountant and soon-to-be new first man has his own political story to tell, though his career with the Conservatives took quite a different trajectory to his wife’s at an early stage.

Born in 1974, Mr O’Leary was reportedly brought up in Allerton, Liverpool, and went on to study at the London School of Economics. He met his future wife at the 1997 Conservative Party conference.

Mr O’Leary stood as a Tory candidate in the local elections in Greenwich in 2002, taking only 447 votes to fall far short of his Labour rivals. He has continued to play a role in the party, according to The Times, canvassing as recently as this year in Greenwich, where he and Ms Truss have a house.

Things have not always been plain sailing for the couple. Ms Truss’s public image hit the rocks in 2006 after it emerged she had an affair with married Conservative MP Mark Field.

Her candidacy for her Norfolk seat three years later narrowly survived an attempt by traditionalist members of her local Tory association to deselect her following the ordeal.

According to the BBC, she said at the time of the row: “It’s been public for some years now.

“I am really sorry about that [affair]. It’s a mistake I made and as far as me and my husband are concerned it’s water under the bridge.”

Mr O’Leary has stood by his wife.

Truss with O-Leary at the announcement of the leadership race winner today

(POOL/AFP/Getty)

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Bit more from Wes Streeting here, appearing on BBC not long after Liz Truss was announced the new leader of the Conservatives.

Mr Streeting continues to be one of the most prominent voices on the Labour frontbench.

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Truss and her ‘arsonists’ say they can put out the fire, says Streeting

Labour’s Wes Streeting has compared incoming prime minister Liz Truss and her supporters to a “gang of arsonists” asking the country to trust them to “put out the fire” in terms of the cost-of-living crisis and other issues.

Reacting to the news of Ms Truss’s victory, the shadow health secretary said: “No surprises that Liz Truss has won the Conservative leadership contest, I think the bigger surprise is that she’s won with a lower proportion of Conservative MPs than any incoming Conservative prime minister and a lower proportion of Conservative party members.

“Our concern is that after a summer of talking exclusively to Conservative party members, she’s now about to start talking exclusive to Conservative Party MPs, rather than doing what she should be doing, which is speaking directly to the country, tackling the big issues that face us – the cost-of-living crisis, rising energy bills, the biggest crisis in the NHS’s history, and the breakdown in law and order.

“I think the challenge that Liz Truss has got is that she’s part of a gang of arsonists saying to the country, ‘trust me to put out the fire’, and I’m not sure that they will buy it.”

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Johnson and Zelensky ‘agree to stay in touch’

A Downing Street spokeswoman said Boris Johnson had spoken to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for the final time as PM this afternoon to thank him for his leadership and friendship.

“The prime minister said he was convinced the Ukrainian forces could continue to succeed in pushing back Russian forces and added that the UK remained steadfast in its support,” said No 10.

“The prime minister told president Zelensky it had been a privilege to work with him and support him, and the leaders agreed to stay in close touch as friends.”

The pair spoke often and met several times Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

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Priti Patel tells MPs to ‘shut up’ as sets out her legacy as home secretary

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Priti Patel told opposition MPs to “shut up” in an angry exchange in the Commons as she set out her legacy as home secretary.

Priti Patel tells MPs to ‘shut up’ as she defends her record

The cabinet minister – widely expected to be replaced by Suella Braverman on Tuesday after Liz Truss won the Tory leadership – defended her record over the past three years.

She said her record in the Home Office had included “some of the biggest reforms on security, migration and public safety” in a generation.

Heckled by Labour, Lib Dem and SNP MPs on the opposition benches, Ms Patel fired back: “Shut up,” before adding that she had been “proud” to serve in Boris Johnson’s government.

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‘No more time to waste’ in tackling cost of living crisis, Truss told

The Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford has urged Liz Truss to work with him to “save millions from hardship this winter”.

Congratulating Ms Truss on winning the Tory leadership contest, Mr Drakeford warned “there is no more time to waste” on the cost of living crisis, saying: “Action is needed now.”

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Biggest threat to Truss premiership may come from her predecessor, academic suggests

Sitting at the apex of the British government “is as brutal as it is demanding” and Liz Truss’s biggest threat may well come from her predecessor, a politics professor has suggested.

“Liz Truss clearly matured and developed as the leadership election progressed, possibly even enjoying the final stages,” said Matthew Flinders, of the University of Sheffield.

“But campaigning to get to No10 is the easy part – governing at the apex of British government is as brutal as it is demanding. Not only does she face an overflowing in-tray, with the cost of living crisis at the top of the pile, she also faces the arguably impossible task of managing Boris Johnson.

“The paradox of the Truss premiership is that its biggest threat may well exist under a well-known mop of blond ambition as Boris Johnson plays a strategic game of trying to bounce back.”

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Voters may not trust Truss and ‘gang of arsonists’ to fix crises facing country, says Wes Streeting

Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has compared incoming prime minister Liz Truss and her supporters to a “gang of arsonists” asking the country to trust them to “put out the fire”.

Reacting to the news of Ms Truss’s victory, Mr Streeting told the Press Association news agency: “No surprises that Liz Truss has won the Conservative leadership contest, I think the bigger surprise is that she’s won with a lower proportion of Conservative MPs than any incoming Conservative prime minister and a lower proportion of Conservative party members.

“Our concern is that after a summer of talking exclusively to Conservative party members, she’s now about to start talking exclusive to Conservative Party MPs, rather than doing what she should be doing, which is speaking directly to the country, tackling the big issues that face us – the cost of living crisis, rising energy bills, the biggest crisis in the NHS’s history, and the breakdown in law and order.

“I think the challenge that Liz Truss has got is that she’s part of a gang of arsonists saying to the country, ‘trust me to put out the fire’, and I’m not sure that they will buy it.”

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Tory Party co-chair resigns following Truss victory

Ben Elliot, an ally of Boris Johnson, has resigned as Conservative Party co-chair following Liz Truss’s election as leader.

It comes days after Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds urged the next PM to start the process of cleaning “up the sleaze-ridden Conservative Party” by “removing Ben Elliot as Chair and finally coming clean about who belongs to the shadowy group of mega-donors he set up”.

The Mail+ reported a friend of Mr Elliot’s as saying that his “own initiative and contacts” had been responsible for more than one third of donor income, adding: “Ben’s departure is a huge loss to the party. Fundraising is more important than ever in order to fund the party’s campaigns and will be critical at the next election.

“He is going because he recognises that Liz will want the freedom to appoint her own chair, and wants to spend more time concentrating on his businesses.”

Mr Elliot himself was quoted by the paper as saying: “I would like to thank Boris Johnson for appointing me, and wish Liz Truss every success in leading our great country, particularly given the challenges of the winter ahead.”

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Watch: Joe Lycett says he’s ‘nostalgic’ for ‘Thatcher 2.0’ Liz Truss

Joe Lycett says he’s ‘nostalgic’ for ‘Thatcher 2.0’ Liz Truss

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