She becomes the U.K.’s third female Prime Minister, following Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May.
In her speech she thanked “my friend” Johnson. “You got Brexit done. You crushed Jeremy Corbyn. You rolled out the vaccine and you stood up to Putin.”
Truss, who was the secretary of state for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs, and Rishi Sunak, who was previously Chancellor of the Exchequor, were both frontrunners for the job (pictured above). They are both Conservative Party members of parliament (MPs).
The news was announced at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, where members of the Conservative party gathered to hear the news after having voted for their favorite candidate.
Truss will take over as both leader of the Conservative Party as well as automatically becoming the next Prime Minister. In the U.K. members of the public vote for their local party candidates rather than the leader of the party; members of the party then elect a leader. If the party is in power the leader becomes the Prime Minister; if they are the largest political party not in government their leaders takes on the title Leader of the Opposition.
The two politicians emerged as frontrunners have been battling it out over the summer in a bid to replace Johnson. Johnson was effectively forced to resign after appointing disgraced MP Chris Pincher as his deputy chief whip despite being aware of previous allegations of sexual misconduct against Pincher.
Following the allegations, more than 50 government staff resigned from the Government in the span of less than 48 hours.
The Pincher brouhaha came on the heels of the Partygate scandal, which involved a series of parties held at 10 Downing Street — which is Johnson’s office as well as his private home — and attended by top government officials during the strictest period of the U.K.’s lockdown. A number of photographs have shown the British prime minister in attendance at these gatherings.
Johnson announced on July 7 he would step down from the role, calling it “the best job in the world.” He will formally tender his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II today. The Queen will then confirm Truss as the new leader of the U.K.
The new Prime Minister will now be tasked with uniting the party and choosing a new cabinet, which will govern portfolios such as the Home Office, the Foreign Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. She will also have to deal with some of the most pressing issues in the country including soaring energy bills and inflation as well as a growing threat from Putin in Russia.
The U.K.’s television industry is also hoping that a change of administration will offer a stay of execution for public service broadcaster Channel 4, which culture secretary Nadine Dorries had planned to privatize under Johnson. It is widely expected Truss will replaced Dorries as culture secretary.