Liz Truss appointed British Prime Minister, but Boris Johnson is not leaving



One two three four. That’s the number of British prime ministers who have come and gone in the few years I’ve reported on in London, all Tories. It must be some record, achieved through fits of misjudgment, betrayal, connivance, vanity and scandal at the highest level.

Do you remember David Cameron? He was the first to leave, ashamed to step down following his humiliation in the Brexit referendum. The second was Theresa May, driven from Downing Street by Boris Johnson, plotting and plotting with her allies. He was number three, in turn ejected by a party tired of his self-inflicted scandals, his slackness with the truth and the Donald Trump-esque chaos he seemed to be promoting.

So number four is Liz Truss, the new premier. If his name is new to many Brits, that’s completely understandable.

She entered Oxford University as a Liberal Democrat from an active centre-left family. She even campaigned for a referendum to abolish the monarchy – to essentially dump the same queen who officially invited her to appoint a new government.

His greatest revival was joining the Conservative Party, which certainly exposed itself to attack as a leader who put opportunity before principle.

Even then, his transformation was not complete. She supported staying in the European Union, that is, until the country votes in favor of Brexit. Then she switched sides.

« I was wrong, » she later said. « I’m willing to admit I was wrong. » That, in itself, is a departure from Johnson’s defiant confidence in himself.

As prime minister, Truss faces monumental challenges, including double-digit inflation, a looming recession and rising energy costs that could force families to choose between buying food and heating their homes.

A fall and winter of discontent may be about to descend upon the country, and her first days in office may well determine whether she becomes the next conservative casualty.

Johnson doesn’t seem to be going away either. During his farewell to the nation, he pledged to support Truss, but he has extensive experience in breaking promises.

« I’m a booster rocket that served its purpose, » he said during his last speech in Downing Street. In this speech he described himself as Cincinnatus, the great Roman military leader who saved the state, retired to his farm, only to return when Rome needed him again.

He now becomes Backbencher Boris, harboring resentment at a party that kicked him out, hinting at his willingness to return if he got the call like Cincinnatus did.


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