The race to become the next leader of the Tory Party (and therefore Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) is down to just two contenders – Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.
Under Conservative leadership rules, Tory Members of Parliament have been whittling down all potential leadership candidates by a series of interparty votes, with the remaining two now being put to a vote by the 160,000 or so Party members.
Both candidates have launched a fierce campaign for the keys to number 10, with Ms Truss and Mr Sunak clashing on TV in their first face-to-face debate – as she accused her rival of a plan that would ‘crash the economy.
They’re set to go head to head on TV again on August 4 in the latest debate – The Battle For No 10 – this time with Sky News playing host to the pair.
With the potential for her to reach the very top of UK politics still a very real possibility – and the odds now swinging in her favour, with some bookies offering as low as 1-14 on her winning the post – many voters have been taking another look at Liz Truss and her record.
Here is everything you need to know about the candidate.
Who is Liz Truss?
Mary Elizabeth Truss was born on July 26, 1975 – making her 47 years old.
She studied politics, philosophy and economics at Merton College, Oxford.
Before entering politics, Ms Truss worked in the energy and telecommunications industry for 10 years as a commercial manager and economics director.
She currently divides her time between London and Norfolk (where she represents the seat of Southwest Norfolk), where she lives with her husband, Hugh O’Leary, and two daughters.
What is Liz Truss’ political background?
Despite being born to left-wing parents (and having previously been a Liberal Democrats party member), Liz Truss is widely viewed to be on the right of the Conservative party, unlike more moderate voices like former leadership contender Tom Tugendhat.
She was first elected as a councillor in Greenwich in 2006 before becoming the MP for Southwest Norfolk in 2010.
Before becoming Foreign Secretary, Ms Truss served as an Education Minister, Secretary of State for the Environment, Justice Secretary, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary of State for International Trade, President of the Board of Trade, and a Minister for Women and Equalities.
Tipped as an up-and-comer in the Conservative Party for some time, Ms Truss has long been rumoured to be a potential leadership candidate. Despite campaigning for Remain in the Brexit referendum, she has received the endorsement of many senior Brexit advocates, like Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries.
Comparisons have been drawn between Ms Truss and Margret Thatcher, aided, at least in part, by her seemingly emulating the Iron Lady in photo opportunities, such as posing in an army tank.
However, her career has not been free from controversy, having become something of an often-used online GIF for her slightly bizarre pronunciation of the term ‘Pork Markets’. She also seemed to get lost after delivering her speech announcing her leadership bid.
Professionally, during her time as Foreign Secretary, she also faced criticism for a geography-based gaff that saw her openly mocked by Moscow officials, and for the use of a private plane on a trip to Australia reported to have cost the taxpayer in the region of £500,000.
Where did Liz Truss go to school?
While she was born in Oxford, Ms Truss grew up in a Leeds suburb called Roundhay.
It’s often described as ‘leafy’ and ‘affluent’, and also home to a large city park, also called Roundhay.
She attended the Roundhay School, where she completed her A-Levels – which helped her land a place at the University of Oxford.
Though in a televised Tory leadership debate, Ms Truss described the school as having ‘let down’ some of its pupils with ‘low expectations’, saying that talent had ‘gone to waste’.
The comment sparked fury in some residents and former Roundhay pupils, with one telling The Independent that her comments were perceived as ‘unedifying and insulting’.
Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton told The Guardian: ‘Roundhay School has been an excellent educational institution for decades and its staff and students are real assets to our community. It’s shameful that Liz Truss has decided to attack them.’
Indeed, the school was rated as ‘satisfactory’ by Ofsted during Ms Truss’ time there, and is now rated as ‘outstanding’.
In 1993, Ms Truss began a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at Merton College Oxford – the same subject read by rival Rishi Sunak at Lincoln College Oxford.
During her time at the university, she was president of its Liberal Democrats Society, before graduating in 1996.
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