Liz Truss met with the Queen at Balmoral, Scotland, on Tuesday to officially become the UK’s Prime Minister. After beating Rishi Sunak in the final stage of the Tory leadership contest, Ms Truss is now headed for Number 10 and preparing to form her Cabinet. She will immediately be faced with a number of challenges, including the cost of living crisis, the ongoing Brexit row with the EU, and the NHS backlog. But journalist Fraser Nelson believes that another big challenge for Ms Truss could be uniting her fractured party.
Speaking on the Spectator’s Coffee House Shots podcast on Monday, he highlighted that Ms Truss’ leadership contest victory was less convincing than many polls had projected.
In fact, he claimed that supporters of Ms Truss have since predicted that she will be out of Number 10 as early as February next year.
Discussing her approach to issues such as the cost of living crisis and pay, Mr Nelson said: “I think when it comes to energy she can do anything politically, this is such an extraordinary situation.
“If you look at governments all around Europe, they are all capping energy prices or subsidising it. The normal market rulebook has been torn up right now.
“The difficult point for Truss will be when someone is asking for a 15 percent pay rise, she says no, and then buckles and says yes.
“If her nerve gives way on pay negotiations, on any one group, that’s when all the others will follow in and make it very difficult.
“There are many scenarios where she simply loses control, either with government finances, or with the markets.
“I know people who backed her who think she will be gone by Valentine’s Day or Easter because they can think of these scenarios.”
The Spectator’s political editor, James Forsyth, disagrees, however.
He says that given the turbulent last few years for the Tories where there have been a number of leadership changes, Ms Truss will now look for stability.
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Mr Forsyth said: “Liz Truss is going to lead the Conservative Party into the next general election, I think it is very difficult to imagine that the party could change leader between now and then.
“The party is already on its fourth Prime Minister in six years, so I think the idea of changing leader is for the birds.”
Ms Truss has already laid out her intentions for Government, pledging that she would “govern as a conservative”.
Throughout the campaign, she has argued for low taxes and less state intervention.
But with energy bills soaring and inflation headed above 10 percent, some say she may be forced to increase support for those struggling.
According to reports, she is considering a freeze on energy bills for homes and businesses, but the policy could cost the Treasury an estimated £90billion.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Tory MP and ally of the new Prime Minister, told The Times that £90billion was “the sort of money that they may well be looking at.”
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He also added: “There’s no time now to be small or narrowly targeted.”
Despite being an influential figure in the Truss campaign, Sir Iain has turned down a place in her Cabinet.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s The World at One on Tuesday, he said: “I have been offered (a job) and said I won’t be taking it up. I’m going back to the backbenches again.
“I am very happy to support her. Sometimes in life you have got to figure out whether you add value to a particular job that you are being asked to do.
“It is all about what I can do and I am very happy to be on the backbenches for the moment.”