Liz Truss: What You Need To Know About The Woman Who Could Be Our Next Prime Minister

Her left-leaning upbringing might surprise you…

Liz Truss affair

by Lydia Spencer-Elliott |

Since Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister, all anyone can talk about is who is going to become the next PM. Now the candidates have been narrowed down to just two names: Rishi Sunak and MP for Southwest Norfolk, Liz Truss.

‘I can lead, I can make tough decisions and I can get things done,’ she told a roomful of her MP and Cabinet backers at Westminster after announcing her intentions to run for leadership. ‘I am ready to be prime minister from day one.'

This isn’t the first time Truss’ name has been in the headlines. The Foreign Secretary’s expenses were under the microscope at the start of this year after she hosted a £3,000 work lunch at a private members club, with sources claiming she ‘refused to consider anywhere else’.

But what else is there to know about the latest Oxford University alumna vying for the top job? Here's everything you need to know about Liz Truss…

She’s the minister for Women and Equalities

In the time that Truss has been the minister for Women and Equalities, more than half of women have admitted they believe women’s equality is in danger of going back to the 1970s at work, home and in society, according to a Guardian survey.

Last September, Truss was accused of treating the position like a ‘side hustle’ by the women and equalities committee. The committee also accused the government of regressing ‘equal rights after decades of progress’ through their lacklustre approach.

Her voting record on LGBTQ+ rights is mixed

In terms of her voting record on LGBTQ+ rights, in May 2013, Truss was one of 117 Tories to vote in favour of marriage equality, then in July 2019 she voted to permit same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. In September 2020, she was criticised by trans rights campaigners when she announced reforms to the Gender Recognition Act would not include a right to self-ID for trans people.

In 2021 Truss announced the government’s proposals for a conversion therapy ban, with a draft bill in spring 2022. Many critics called it a ban ‘in name only’, with major loopholes remaining, for example, talking therapies for over-18s will not be outlawed. Conversion therapy for transgender people will also not be included in any ban.

This is how she voted on other key issues

Assisted dying: Liz Truss was absent for the 2015 vote on the Assisted Dying Bill.

Climate change: Liz Truss generally voted against measures to prevent climate change (see her full voting record don environmental issues here).

Education: In December 2020, LizTruss voted to raise the UK's undergraduate tuition fee cap to £9,000 per year.

Scotland: She has generally voted against transferring more powers to the Scottish Parliament.

Income tax: Liz Truss has almost always voted for raising the threshold at which people start to pay income tax. However, she has almost always voted against increasing the tax rate applied to income over £150,000.

You can find her full voting record here.

Her fans call her Margaret Thatcher 2.0

Dubbed the ‘true blue’ candidate of the leadership race for sitting firmly on the right wing of the Conservative party, Truss is considered the economic descendant of the Iron Lady and plans to cut tax immediately.

‘Under my leadership, I would start cutting taxes from day one to take immediate action to help people deal with the cost of living,’ she has said – with no mention of rising food prices, energy bills, transport costs or affordable housing.

She's been backed by Penny Mordaunt

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, who was previously running in the leadership race, has giver her support to Liz Truss and called her the 'hope candidate'.

'Seeing her over the last few weeks has made me want to help her, to help her win, to help build the team we need to win the country, and to give ourselves as a party and as a nation the pride and confidence we need to reach our full potential,' she said. 'I’ve seen enough to know who the person I’m going to put my faith in – and that is Liz Truss...She’s a great person, she’s a great politician, she’s a great patriot and I’m proud to call her my friend.'

She went viral with a speech about cheese – yes really

For many people on the internet, the first time they really took notice of Liz Truss was when she gave a cheese-related speech during the Conservative Party Conference in 2014. Discussing food trade in the UK, Truss declared: ‘We import two-thirds of our cheese. That. Is. A. Disgrace.’  See the impassioned performance here.

She had to defend her use of a private jet to Australia

In January this year, the Labour Party accused her spending 'disgusting amounts of public money' using the government's private jet for her trip to Australia, which The Independent estimated to cost half a million pounds.

However, the Foreign Office said the trip was within the rules of the ministerial code and Truss told reporters it enabled her to do 'work overseas which is ultimately delivering for the British people'.

She’s really committed to Boris Johnson’s beliefs

Unlike Rishi Sunak, Truss didn’t resign from Johnson’s government and has been a long-term supporter of his leadership. When asked why she didn’t jump ship, she told reporters: ‘I’m a loyal person. I’m loyal to Boris Johnson. I supported our prime minister’s aspirations and I want to deliver the promise of the 2019 manifesto.’

She was a key Brexit negotiator

Originally, Truss voted remain in the 2016 EU referendum. But she soon changed her stance and backed Brexit after the vote went the other way for the benefit of Britain’s ‘economic interest’ and ‘social reform'. After that, she relentlessly pioneered to get us out of the EU in her roles as Trade Secretary and Foreign Secretary.

She’s been accused of misrepresenting her background

Truss was born in Oxford and grew up in Leeds after her father got a job as a uni professor. She went to Roundhay School in a suburb of the same name, saying of the experience: ‘I was struck by the lip service that was paid to equality by the City Council while children from disadvantaged backgrounds were let down. While we were taught about racism and sexism, there was too little time spent making sure everyone could read and write.’

Leeds council deputy leader James Lewis responded: ‘As someone else who attended Leeds City Council schools in the 1980s and early 1990s, I think it’s sad that someone wants to score cheap political points in London by talking down a whole generation of pupils and teachers who struggled through the last period of Conservative austerity cuts.’

Who is Liz Truss’ husband? And does she have children?

Truss lives in Norfolk with her husband and accountant Hugh O’Leary and their two daughters Liberty and Frances. Truss married O’Leary in 2000 and they are still together despite her affair with Mark Field.

O’Leary and Truss met at the Tory Party Conference in 1997 and went on their first date ice skating afterwards, where he sprained his ankle. ‘I am really happily married,’ she told You Magazine in 2019.

Who are Liz Truss’ family?

Liz Truss parents John Kenneth and Priscilla Mary Truss are both left-wing and have different political views to their daughter. Her father was a university maths professor and her mother worked as a nurse and anti-nuclear campaigner. In an interview with The Times, Truss revealed that her father had refused to campaign for her when she stood for election.

While studying at philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at Oxford, Truss became the president of the Liberal Democrats society and joined the Conservatives in 1996 when her views became more right-wing, despite reportedly growing up going on marches with her parents yelling: ‘Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, out, out, out!’

Is Liz Truss on Twitter?

Yes, on Twitter she is @trussliz and has over 263k followers.

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