Liz Truss profile: everything you need to know about new UK Prime Minister - background, political career

NationalWorld has taken a look at Liz Truss’ upbringing, career trajectory and political history, including her time as a Liberal Democrat.

Liz Truss is the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, after beating her opponent Rishi Sunak in the bitterly-contested Tory leadership race.

The result was announced today (5 September) by 1922 Committee Chair Sir Graham Brady, who revealed she received 81,326 votes from Tory party members - in comparison with 60,399 for Mr Sunak.

She is the third female Prime Minister in history, and the fourth consecutive PM from the Conservative Party.

Liz Truss is the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Credit: Getty Images

But what moments led up to this point?

NationalWorld has taken a look at Ms Truss’ upbringing, career trajectory and political history so you can find out everything you need to know about the next resident of Number 10.

Childhood

Liz Truss, whose full name is Mary Elizabeth Truss, was born in Oxford on 26 July 1975.

Liz Truss’ full name is Mary Elizabeth Truss. Credit: Getty Images

Her father was a mathematics professor, and her mother a nurse.

The family moved to Scotland when Ms Truss was just four years old, where she attended West Primary School in Paisley, Renfrewshire.

Later, she went to Roundhay School, a comprehensive in Leeds.

As a young girl, Ms Truss’ mother took her on marches for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

The organisation was vehemently opposed to Margaret Thatcher’s decision to allow US nuclear warheads to be installed at RAF Greenham Common.

Ms Truss has described her parents, who opposed Margaret Thatcher’s Government in the “Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament”, as “left-wing”. Credit: Getty Images

Ms Truss has described her parents as “left-wing”.

University

After finishing school, the new Prime Minister was accepted at Merton College at the University of Oxford, where she studied PPE.

Surprisingly, while at university, Ms Truss was president of the Liberal Democrats Society.

During her time as a Lib Dem, she supported the legalisation of cannabis and the abolition of the monarchy.

At the party’s conference in 1994, the young activist said: “We Liberal Democrats believe in opportunity for all.

“We do not believe people are born to rule."

She switched sides to join the Conservatives when she graduated in 1996.

Professional career

Ms Truss worked for Shell between 1996 and 2000, during which time she qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant.

In 2000, she was employed by telecommunications company Cable & Wireless and rose to economic director before leaving in 2005.

In 2008, Ms Truss became the full-time deputy director of UK think tank Reform.

Here, she advocated for more rigorous academic standards in schools and a greater focus on tackling serious and organised crime.

Political career

Ms Truss first started trying to secure a seat as an MP in 2001, initially running two unsuccessful bids for Parliament before she was elected as MP for South West Norfolk in 2010.

Just two years later, she entered Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Childcare and Education.

This was the same year that her book Britannia Unchained, which she co-wrote with four other Tory MPs, hit bookshop shelves.

In it, there is a comment that states British people are “among the worst idlers in the world” - which Ms Truss has unsurprisingly received a lot of backlash for amidst the Tory leadership race.

She has since claimed not to have written that chapter - instead attributing it to fellow author Dominic Raab.

Liz Truss was made Environment Secretary by David Cameron. Credit: Getty Images

Ms Truss was appointed to the Cabinet in 2014 by former Prime Minister David Cameron. She served as Environment Secretary.

In contrast to her predecessor Owen Paterson, Ms Truss declared that she believed climate change is happening and that “human beings have contributed to that”.

A year later, she became notorious for a speech about cheese. She told members at the 2015 Conservative Conference: "We import two-thirds of our cheese. That. Is. A. Disgrace."

Brexit - leave or remain?

Next, came what was arguably the biggest political event in a generation - the 2016 Brexit Referendum.

With Mr Cameron declaring ministers free to support either side, Ms Truss campaigned for Remain, commenting: “I don’t want my daughters to grow up in a world where they need a visa or permit to work in Europe or where they are hampered from growing a business because of extortionate call costs and barriers to trade.

“Every parent wants their children to grow up in a healthy environment with clean water, fresh air and thriving natural wonders. Being part of the EU helps protect these previous resources and spaces.”

Ms Truss initially backed Remain in the 2016 Brexit Referendum. Credit: Getty Images

However, once her side lost, Ms Truss changed her tune and said if another referendum were held - she would vote for Leave.

She has maintained this stance throughout the Tory leadership election, saying “I was wrong and I am prepared to admit I was wrong”. She also noted the “new opportunities” that have come about because of Brexit.

Under Theresa May, Ms Truss served as Justice Secretary - becoming the first woman to hold the position.

The decision to appoint her was criticised by the then-Minister or State for Justice Secretary Lord Faulks, who questioned whether Ms Truss would be able to stand up to the Prime Minister when necessary.

In 2017, Ms Truss was made chief secretary to the Treasury.

When Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, Ms Truss was appointed International Trade Secretary - which meant she was involved in Brexit negotiations despite her previous leanings.

Boris Johnson appointed Ms Truss Foreign Secretary. Credit: Getty Images

Her most recent promotion was to Foreign Secretary - where the biggest event she has had to tackle has been Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

She took a hardline approach, insisting all of Vladimir Putin’s forces should be driven from the country.

She also helped organise the billions in military aid that the UK has given to the war torn country.

Ms Truss threw her hat in the ring for Conservative leadership after Boris Johnson resigned from office in July.

Unlike her rival Mr Sunak, Ms Truss did not resign following the Chris Pincher scandal and instead continued working as Foreign Secretary.

As we know, Ms Truss came out on top in the Tory leadership race and is now the UK’s Prime Minister.

Liz Truss is married to accountant Hugh O’Leary. Credit: Getty Images

Who is her huband Hugh O’Leary?

Ms Truss is married to accountant Hugh O’Leary, who she has two teenage daughters with.

The family mainly lives in a three-bedroom detached home in the market town of Thetford, located in the Breckland district of Norfolk.

As former Foreign Secretary, Ms Truss also had access to the government’s mansion Chevening House, near Sevenoaks.

She will now be making the move to 10 Downing Street.