Liz Truss: who is Rishi Sunak’s rival for Tory leadership, what did she say about cheese, policies explained

From being mocked for her outrage about cheese imports to being appointed to one of the great offices of state - Liz Truss’s career explained

Liz Truss has made it into the final two of the Tory leadership contest.

The Foreign Secretary had insisted she is the “only person who can deliver the change” the UK needs which is in “line with true Conservative principles” .

Ms Truss and Trade Minister Ms Mordaunt had scrambled to secure votes in the contest for the second spot on the ballot alongside frontrunner Rishi Sunak.

It was announced on Wednesday afternoon that the final round of voting had seen Ms Mordaunt eliminated from the contest.

Liz Truss is currently joint favourite with former Chancellor Rishi Sunak to become the next Prime Minister of Britain.

Ms Truss had pledged to reverse the controversial national insurance hike if elected to be the next Tory leader as well as promising to “start cutting taxes from day one” to help with the cost of living.

The pledge to reverse the national insurance rise marks a departure from her defence of the policy as a minister in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet before his resignation, when she was bound by collective responsibility to support the hike publicly.

But who is Liz Truss?

Here is everything you need to know about her.

Who is Liz Truss?

Brought up in Yorkshire, the married mother-of-two, whose relationship survived an affair with former Tory MP Mark Field before her election to the Commons, boasts an impressive CV.

Defying her upbringing by left-leaning parents, Truss has held posts such as education minister, environment secretary and justice secretary in previous Conservative governments.

Elected to Parliament in 2010, she previously worked in the energy and telecommunications industry and is a qualified management accountant.

From being mocked for her outrage about cheese imports to being appointed to one of the great offices of state, Truss has made a steady rise up the Cabinet ladder.

She has been rewarded after being seen to have made a success of her international trade secretary post.

Truss underwent a transformation from being pro-Remain to an avid Brexiteer following the referendum in 2016.

While the Government faced tough headlines about deadlock in the negotiations with the European Union during the Brexit transition period, the South West Norfolk MP made a host of trade deals for the UK, ensuring the terms agreed while an EU member were ready to continue after exiting the bloc.

A coveted trade deal with the US eluded her, but Truss won plaudits in the Conservative Party for securing new terms with Japan and Australia, while a New Zealand agreement is said to be nearing completion.

Her Labour critics, however, bemoan that she did not deliver a “single trade deal that we didn’t already have inside the EU”, calling the praise within Government for her performance overblown.

Where was she educated?

Truss studied philosophy, politics and economics at Merton College, Oxford, where she became president of the University Liberal Democrats.

Almost half of Johnson’s new Cabinet went to Oxford or Cambridge universities and 60% attended a private school, a social mobility charity has said.

The percentage privately educated is down slightly on the Prime Minister’s previous cabinets, data from the Sutton Trust suggested.

New Foreign Secretary Truss, Housing Secretary Michael Gove and Chancellor Rishi Sunak all attended Oxford University.

The trust said just over a quarter of Cabinet ministers attended both independent schools and Oxbridge.

What has she said about cheese?

Truss - then Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs - addresses the Conservative party conference in 2014 (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Away from politics, Truss’s flair for social media has seen her offer an insight into her private life by updating her Instagram account with pictures of her relaxing at the beach, or behind the scenes at official events.

Infamously, the worlds of social media and politics combined in 2014, when her improbably enthusiastic speech about opening pork markets in Beijing went viral, pilloried on satirical programmes such as Have I Got News For You?

She caused further hilarity when telling the Tory Party conference that year: “We import two-thirds of our cheese, that is a disgrace.”

How many votes did she get in the vote?

In the final round of voting by Tory MPs, Ms Truss received 113 votes.

Penny Mordaunt received 105 votes and Rishi Sunak 137.