Liz Truss promises to transform Britain into 'aspiration nation' in 1st speech as prime minister

LONDON — Liz Truss promised to transform the U.K. into an “aspiration nation” in her inaugural speech as prime minister on Tuesday afternoon, announcing three “early priorities” that she said she was “determined to deliver.”

Speaking in front of her residence at No. 10 Downing St., Truss pledged to help the country “ride out the storm” of “severe global headwinds” that have been a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reiterating her previous campaign taglines, Truss said she had a “bold plan” to regrow the British economy as she outlined her next steps as leader.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss stands at a podium and delivers a speech.
Liz Truss delivers her first speech as British prime minister outside No. 10 Downing St. in London on Tuesday. (Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images) (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Her first priority as prime minister will be to “cut taxes to reward hard work,” as well as “boost business-led growth and investment.” Secondly, she vowed to work “hands-on” with Britain’s energy crisis — a crisis that could see home energy bills triple by January. Truss added that she promises to “secure our future energy supply.”

Thirdly, the prime minister said she would tackle the crisis in the U.K.’s National Health Service. “I will make sure that people can get doctor appointments and the NHS services they need,” she said. “We will put our health service on a firm footing by delivering on the economy, on energy and on the NHS.”

Truss again publicly thanked her predecessor, Boris Johnson, paying tribute to his work on Brexit, COVID vaccines and standing up to “Russian aggression.”

“History will see him as a hugely consequential prime minister,” she said.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss and her husband, Hugh O'Leary, wave while standing outside No. 10 Downing Street in London.
Truss and her husband, Hugh O’Leary, outside their official residence in London. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP) (AP)

Just moments following her speech, President Biden congratulated Truss on her new appointment. “I look forward to deepening the special relationship between our countries and working in close cooperation on global challenges, including continued support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression,” he tweeted.

Truss is the third woman to become U.K. prime minister, following in the steps of Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May. She is the 15th prime minister of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

At Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Tuesday afternoon, Truss officially took office after the queen asked her to form a new government in her name — a ceremony that has taken place between incoming prime ministers and the monarch for centuries.

It was the first time the handover took place at Balmoral and not the queen’s official residence of Buckingham Palace, as the 96-year-old queen has moved to her retreat in Aberdeenshire due to ongoing mobility issues.

Queen Elizabeth and Liz Truss reach to shake hands at Balmoral Castle.
The queen and Truss at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Tuesday. (Jane Barlow/Pool via Reuters) (REUTERS)