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Liz Truss vows to build an 'Aspiration Nation' and appoints Cabinet

Liz Truss vows to build an ‘Aspiration Nation’ and appoints Cabinet to fight back against the energy crisis – but as she purges Team Rishi and clears the decks, sacked veterans minister Johnny Mercer’s ‘bitter’ wife calls her an ‘imbecile’ for axing him

  • Liz Truss has formally taken over as the PM after ‘kissing hands’ with the Queen at her Balmoral residence
  • The new premier has started appointing her Cabinet by axing a series of supporters of ex-rival Rishi Sunak 
  • Ms Truss set to square off against Keir Starmer for the first time at PMQs in the House of Commons tomorrow  

Liz Truss took brutal revenge on Team Rishi tonight by axing a trio of his biggest supporters in the opening moves of her first Cabinet reshuffle – just hours after vowing to build an ‘Aspiration Nation’ while tackling the mounting energy crisis in her first speech as prime minister outside Downing Street. 

Dominic Raab was among the first to reveal his fate as he tweeted that he had been evicted from his roles as justice secretary and Deputy PM – with Therese Coffey confirmed as taking the latter title along with the health brief.

As Ms Truss shapes her team, Kwasi Kwarteng has been announced as Chancellor and James Cleverly is Foreign Secretary. Suella Braverman takes the other Great Office of State as Home Secretary – meaning for the first time there is no white man in any of the top posts. 

But her first day didn’t pass off without drama as veterans affairs minister Johnny Mercer’s wife branded the former foreign secretary an ‘imbecile’ for axing him, before later admitting she was ‘bitter’ over the decision and needed ’24 hours’.

Mr Mercer himself, the Plymouth Moor View MP, had earlier appeared angry about Ms Truss’s move, saying he was ‘disappointed’ but accepted the PM is ‘entitled to reward her supporters’, before suggesting he could quit the Commons. 

Elsewhere, Wendy Morton has been installed as the Tories’ first female chief whip, in charge of parliamentary party discipline. Ben Wallace remains Defence Secretary after backing her campaign and Brandon Lewis is made Justice Secretary, while Boris Johnson loyalist Jacob Rees Mogg is business secretary. Kemi Badenoch’s loyalty was also rewarded as she is named International Trade Secretary, while Kit Malthouse becomes Education Secretary. 

Despite pleas to bring the Tories together, a host of other supporters of the former Chancellor have paid the price. Grant Shapps, Steve Barclay, George Eustice and Shailesh Vara have been ditched as transport secretary, health secretary, environment secretary and Northern Ireland secretary respectively. 

Truss’s Cabinet reshuffle 

IN

Kwasi Kwarteng – Chancellor

Therese Coffey – Health Secretary/Deputy Prime Minister

Suella Braverman – Home Secretary

James Cleverly – Foreign Secretary 

Brandon Lewis – Justice Secretary

Ben Wallace – Defence Secretary

Nadhim Zahawi – Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster / Equalities Minister

Penny Mordaunt – Leader of the Commons 

Jacob Rees Mogg – Business Secretary 

Simon Clarke – Levelling Up Secretary 

Kemi Badenoch – International Trade Secretary 

Chloe Smith – Work and Pensions Secretary 

Kit Malthouse – Education Secretary 

Chris Heaton-Harris – Northern Ireland Secretary 

Alister Jack – Scotland Secretary 

Robert Buckland – Wales Secretary 

Michael Ellis QC – Attorney General 

Tom Tugendhat – Security minister at Home Office (will attend Cabinet)

Vicki Ford – Development Minister at Foreign Office (will attend Cabinet)

OUT

Dominic Raab

Grant Shapps

Steve Barclay 

Andrew Stephenson

Greg Clark 

George Eustice 

Shailesh Vara 

Johnny Mercer  

Tory chairman Andrew Stephenson and levelling up secretary Greg Clark, who all stayed neutral, also declared they were leaving their posts, while veterans minister Johnny Mercer said he had been ‘relieved of my duties’. 

Nadhim Zahawi, who ran to be leader before supporting Truss, was sacked as chancellor but remains in the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Equalities Minister, while Alok Sharma was re-appointed as Cop26 president. 

And Penny Mordaunt, who came close to blocking Ms Truss’s run for power, becomes Leader of the Commons, while Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke becomes Secretary for Levelling Up. 

Meanwhile, at the international level, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky revealed he was the first foreign leader to speak with the newly elected Ms Truss. 

He wrote on Twitter: ‘I became the 1st foreign leader to have a conversation with the newly elected (British) PM @trussliz. Invited her to (Ukraine). Thanked (British) people for the major defense & economic aid for (Ukraine). It’s important that (Britain) is ready to further strengthen it. Attention was paid to security guarantees.’

He added: ‘We discussed the participation of (Britain) in the recovery of (Ukraine). Coordinated further pressure on the RF (Russian Federation). The goal is to stop the aggression & bring the perpetrators to justice. It’s important to designate the RF a terrorist state. We’ll continue active interaction in all formats.’

It comes after Ms Truss vowed to create an ‘aspiration nation’ in her first Downing Street speech after officially becoming Britain’s 56th Prime Minister.

She took to a podium outside the famous black door after returning to London from the Queen’s Balmoral residence in Scotland – where the transfer of power happened. 

She warned of a ‘vital time for our country’ and said she will deal ‘hands on with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war’ – hinting at the huge bailout expected within days.

The new premier said fixing the NHS and cutting taxes would be her other priorities. 

‘I’m confident that together we can ride out the storm, we can rebuild our economy and we can become the modern brilliant Britain that I know we can be,’ she said.

‘This is our vital mission to ensure opportunity and prosperity for all people and future generations. I’m determined to deliver.’

Ministers and MPs had gathered outside as Ms Truss’s convoy weaved through the roads of the capital. 

But there was confusion as aides took the podium indoors when the weather intervened – only to bring it out again as the heavy shower passed.

Ms Truss seemed to make light of the rain with her reference to the ‘storm’. 



A trio of supporters of Rishi Sunak, Grant Shapps, Dominic Raab and Steve Barclay, were ditched from the Cabinet tonight

Therese Coffey walked into Downing Street this evening, and is expected to be named the new deputy PM

Kwasi Kwarteng is set to become the new Chancellor in the shake-up being launched by Ms Truss tonight

The evicted ministers revealed their fate on Twitter as Ms Truss swung into action tonight

Liz Truss is clapped into Downing Street by staff after arriving back from Balmoral with husband Hugh tonight

Sacked veterans minister Johnny Mercer’s ‘bitter’ wife calls Liz Truss an ‘IMBECILE’ and compares her to a Muppet for axing him 

Johnny Mercer, pictured with his wife Felicity, was removed as veterans affairs minister

The wife of sacked minister Johnny Mercer has called new Prime Minister Liz Truss an ‘imbecile’.

Felicity Cornelius-Mercer said the Cabinet system ‘stinks’ and ‘treats people appallingly’ after her husband was removed as veterans affairs minister.

Mr Mercer, the Plymouth Moor View MP, had appeared angry about Ms Truss’s move, saying he was ‘disappointed’ but accepted the PM is ‘entitled to reward her supporters’.

He also suggested he could quit the Commons, saying: ‘I have to accept that I will never possess the qualities required for enduring success in politics as it stands, and to be fair to my wonderful family, I must consider my future.’

His wife went further, tweeting a picture mocking Ms Truss as Beaker, a character from The Muppets television show and giving an account of Mr Mercer’s exit discussions.

Ms Cornelius-Mercer tweeted: ‘He asked her ‘why would you do this, who is going to be better at this role than me, which of your mates gets the job, you promised a meritocracy?’

‘PM – I can’t answer that Johnny.

‘This system stinks & treats people appallingly.

‘Best person I know sacked by an imbecile @trussliz.’

She added in a follow-up Tweet, ‘Yes I am feeling bitter. Please allow it – 24hrs then back to positives’.

Mr Mercer had tweeted a lengthy resignation statement accompanied by the words: ‘I will be spending time with my family and doing no media requests.’

But she will have little time to celebrate as she moves to appoint her Cabinet and thrash out plans for curbing soaring energy bills.

She is expected to cap the typical household bill at £2,500 a year – with costs further offset by keeping the £400 handout that had already been committed.

That would leave the level only slightly higher than the £1,900 existing cap, and a thousand pounds below the figure it was due to hit next month.

There had been speculation that the policy – estimated to cost between £90billion and £130billion – would be added to future bills.

However, it is now expected to be added to government borrowing – with the markets already upping interest costs as a result. 

Boris Johnson – accompanied by wife Carrie – made his own trip to Balmoral for a final 40-minute audience with the Queen. A statement from Buckingham Palace said the monarch had been ‘graciously pleased’ to accept. 

Ms Truss had taken a separate flight north to see the Queen and be asked to form a new government. To add to the drama the plane carrying her and husband Hugh O’Leary was left circling above Aberdeen airport for around 20 minutes due to fog, before finally landing.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: ‘The Queen received in audience The Right Honourable Elizabeth Truss MP today and requested her to form a new administration. Ms Truss accepted Her Majesty’s offer and kissed hands upon her appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.’

Ms Truss’s Twitter profile was swiftly updated to include her new status. 

She had been due to deliver her first speech at Downing Street around 4pm, but that was pushed back an hour because of weather delays.

Ms Truss will have been getting crucial security briefings, and writing her ‘letter of last resort’ to submarine captains carrying the UK’s nuclear deterrent – telling them what to do in case the government is destroyed.

Mr Raab had not expected to continue his run in Government, having described Ms Truss’s tax plans as an ‘electoral suicide note’.

The MP for Esher and Walton announced he would be supporting the Government from the backbenches.

‘Thanks to the brilliant MoJ (Ministry of Justice) team for all their hard work over the last year.

‘Good luck to the new PM and her team,’ Mr Raab tweeted.

‘I look forward to supporting the Government from the backbenches.’

Mr Shapps also tweeted his own exit as Transport Secretary but did not make the same remarks of support for the new Tory leader.

‘It has been a privilege to serve as Transport Secretary; a job I loved,’ he said.

‘Now I look forward to being a strong, independent voice on the backbenches, developing policies that will further the Conservative cause and the interests of my constituents in Welwyn Hatfield.’

Mr Barclay, the MP for North East Cambridgeshire who had been health secretary for Mr Johnson’s final months in office, tweeted: ‘Thanks to all colleagues, both political & civil service, for their fantastic support. Wishing @trussliz & her ministerial team every success for the future.’

Liz Truss takes power: speech highlights 

Speaking in a damp Downing Street this afternoon, Liz Truss paid tribute to Boris Johnson and vowed to get cracking on a raft of priorities, as the Uk struggled with a limp economy.

Here are some of the key moments:

  • Ms Truss hailed Mr Johnson for delivering Brexit, the Covid vaccine and for helping Ukraine. She added: ‘History will see him as a hugely consequential prime minister.’ 
  • She promised to pursue three early priorities as Prime Minister: Tax cuts and reforms, deal with soaring energy bills and securing the energy supply, and also put the NHS ‘on a firm footing’. 
  • The new Prime Minister said the country needs to build ‘roads, homes and broadband faster’ with more investment in towns and cities across the country. 
  • Addressing the economic woes facing the country, she said she was confident the nation can ‘ride out the storm’. 

Mr Vara, who was only appointed when Mr Johnson quit in July, posted: ‘Great privilege and honour to serve as Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office and work with some excellent people.

‘My best wishes to the new PM and I look forward to supporting the government from the backbenches.’

However, reshuffles are rarely straightforward and the Northern Ireland, Education and Transport roles are believed to be causing trouble. Iain Duncan Smith has revealed he turned down an unspecified job.  

Mr Johnson swept out of Downing Street for the final time early this morning with a typically boisterous and classically allusive address to the nation.

Watched by MPs, aides and allies as he spoke on the steps of No10, the outgoing PM put a brave face on his departure saying ‘this is it, folks’.

After walking out of the famous black door with wife Carrie, he pointed out he ‘got Brexit done’ and oversaw the ‘fastest vaccine rollout’ during near three-year stint.

He delivered a stark message that Britain must continue supporting Ukraine against Vladimir Putin’s aggression, despite the economic pain caused by his ‘blackmail’ on gas prices.

And in a barb at MPs for dramatically ousting him, Mr Johnson said: ‘The baton will be handed over in what has unexpectedly turned out to be a relay race. They changed the rules halfway through, but never mind that now.’ 

Mr Johnson also sparked laughter by comparing himself to a ‘booster rocket’ that was being jettisoned, suggesting he would keep out of the way in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean.    

‘I will be offering this government nothing but the most fervent support,’ he said. ‘We will get through it, we will come out stronger the other side… it is time for us all to get behind Liz Truss.’ 

The newly-installed PM took to a podium outside the famous black door after returning to London from the Queen ‘s Balmoral residence in Scotland – where the transfer of power happened

Ms Truss poses on the steps of No10 with her husband Hugh O’Leary after being confirmed as the new PM  

Staff and aides gathered in Downing Street to hear the new PM give her first speech

Therese Coffey (centre) – expected to become deputy PM – was among the crowd in Downing Street tonight

There was confusion as No10 aides took the podium indoors when the weather intervened – only to bring it out again as the heavy shower passed

Incoming premier Liz Truss was pictured meeting the smiling monarch at Balmoral as power is transferred – a process known as ‘kissing hands’.

The Queen was relatively dressed-down as she welcomed her latest Prime Minister 

Ms Truss had her first audience with the Queen as the new Prime Minister at Balmoral today


Ms Truss was all smiles as she left Balmoral after being installed as PM today

Incoming premier Liz Truss shakes hands with the Queen’s private secretary Sir Edward Young before entering in the residence to be asked to form a government – a process known as ‘kissing hands’

Boris Johnson leaves Balmoral after the Queen accepted his resignation in a final audience today

Mr Johnson was greeted by the Queen’s aides before entering and being ushered into the presence of the monarch 

Outgoing PM Boris Johnson and wife Carrie were at Balmoral in Scotland for his final audience with the Queen

Truss draws up huge plan to freeze energy bills for homes and businesses

Liz Truss plans to protect households from the full impact of soaring energy prices with a £90 billion intervention.

The new Prime Minister, who took office after meeting the Queen in Balmoral, is thought to be planning to freeze bills at around the £2,500 mark – some £500 higher than current levels but more than £1,000 below next month’s cap.

Details have not yet been finalised, but the plan is expected to be funded through general taxation or increased borrowing rather than paid for in future energy bills.

Ms Truss became the UK’s third female Prime Minister after meeting the Queen at her Scottish estate.

A Government source confirmed the energy freeze will be at around the £2,500 mark, although an insider in the Truss camp said ‘nothing is finalised yet’.

The plan is based on the current £1,971 energy price cap plus the £400 universal handout announced under Mr Johnson’s government.

Help is also expected for business customers struggling with soaring bills which are not covered by the existing energy price cap in England, Scotland and Wales.

In his speech, Mr Johnson said Putin was ‘utterly deluded’ if he thought he could succeed by ‘blackmailing and bullying’ the British public through restricting gas supplies, driving up world prices.

Mr Johnson said: ‘We have and will continue to have that economic strength to give people the cash they need to get through this energy crisis that has been caused by Putin’s vicious war.

‘I know that Liz Truss and this compassionate Conservative government will do everything we can to get people through this crisis and this country will endure it and we will win.’

Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m proud to have discharged the promises I made to my party when you were kind enough to choose me, winning the biggest majority since 1987, the biggest share of the vote since 1979.

‘Delivering Brexit, delivering our manifesto commitments, including, by the way … social care, reforming social care, helping people up and down the country, ensuring that Britain is once again standing tall in the world.

‘Speaking with clarity and authority, from Ukraine to the Aukus pact with America and Australia, because we are one whole and entire United Kingdom, whose diplomat security services and armed forces are so globally admired.

‘And by the way … as I leave, I believe our union is so strong that those who want to break it up, they’ll keep trying, but they will never, ever succeed.’

Mr Johnson said unemployment is down to lows not seen since he was ‘bouncing around on a space hopper’ aged 10.

He said: ‘Looking at what is happening in this country, the changes that are taking place, that is why private sector investment is flooding in – more private sector, more venture capital investment than China itself.

‘More billion pound tech companies sprouting here in the UK than in France, Germany and Israel combined.

‘And, as a result, unemployment as I leave office – unemployment down to lows not seen since I was about 10 years old and bouncing around on a space hopper.’

In a plea for unity from restive MPs, Mr Johnson said if his dog Dilyn and Larry the cat can ‘put behind them their occasional difficulties’, then so can the Tory party.

He said: ‘Thank you to everybody behind me in this building. Thank you to all of you in Government. Thank you everybody who’s helped look after me and my family over the last three years, including Dilyn the dog.

‘I just say to my party if Dilyn and Larry can put behind them their occasional difficulties, then so can the Conservative Party.

‘Above all, thanks to you, to the British people, to the voters, for giving me the chance to serve, all of you who worked so tirelessly together to beat Covid, to put us where we are today.

‘Together, we have laid foundations that will stand the test of time, whether by taking back control of our laws or putting in vital new infrastructure, great solid masonry on which we will continue to build together, paving the path of prosperity now and for future generations.

Who was Cincinnatus? 

Boris Johnson is a classics scholar who often litters his speeches with Ancient Greek and Roman references.

So the reference in his farewell address to emulating Roman statesman Cincinnatus by returning to his ‘plough’ will be pored over.

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus lived in the 5th century BC, and is famous for being appointed emergency dictator of Rome to repel an invasion.

After achieving that in a single day, he almost immediately gave up power and returned to live quietly on his farm.

However, notably there is a disputed second chapter in the story of Cincinnatus – where he is said to have returned to office some years later to counter the ambitions of Spurius Maelius. 

Again, having achieved this goal Cincinnatus went meekly back to his farm. 

Although many experts regard this as historical embellishment, it could still be a hint at Mr Johnson’s hopes for a comeback.  

‘I will be supporting Liz Truss and the new government every step of the way.’

He told Conservative colleagues ‘it’s time for politics to be over, folks’.

‘This is a tough time for the economy. This is a tough time for families up and down the country,’ he said.

‘We can and we will get through it, and we will come out stronger the other side.

‘But I say to my fellow Conservatives, it’s time for politics to be over, folks.

‘It’s time for us all to get behind Liz Truss and her team, and her programme, and deliver for the people of this country. Because that is what the people of this country want. That’s what they need. And that’s what they deserve.’

Amid warm applause, Mr Johnson shook hands with some of the crowd – which included current and former Cabinet ministers, as well as Jacob Rees-Mogg with one of his sons – before getting into a government car with Carrie and their two children. 

Among those present was ultra-loyalist Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries. She has been asked to stay on by Liz Truss but decided to return to the backbenches. There is speculation she will handed a peerage.

In her resignation letter to outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson, she said: ‘I am humbled that your successor has extended her confidence in me by asking me to remain as Secretary of State for DCMS.’

But she said ‘after much reflection’ she had decided to step down, adding: ‘I have personally assured our soon-to-be prime minister that I will be better-placed to support her from outside of the Cabinet.’

Tory MPs heaped praise on Mr Johnson after his valedictory speech, but Labour piled in with invective. 

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said Mr Johnson listed ‘imaginary achievements’ in his resignation speech, describing him as ‘the worst Prime Minister of the modern era’.

‘Boris Johnson standing outside Downing Street listing imaginary achievements in a desperate attempt to claim a legacy is not going to fool anyone,’ Mr Lammy tweeted.

‘Good riddance to the worst Prime Minister of the modern era.’

The outgoing Prime Minister landed in Aberdeen this morning ahead of his audience with the 96-year-old monarch

Liz Truss landed at Aberdeen airport after Mr Johnson as she prepared to take the reins of power

After walking out of the famous black door with wife Carrie, he pointed out he ‘got Brexit done’ and oversaw the ‘fastest vaccine rollout’

Mr Johnson and Carrie were clapped out of Downing Street by staff before his farewell speech this morning 

The couple were given the traditional exit treatment by aides as they left the famous building

Mr Johnson was watched by a crowd as he gave his final address today 

The outgoing PM strode purposefully to the podium outside No10 to give a bullish speech

Mr Johnson’s goodbye words kicked off an intense day of constitutional process as power changes hands

What is the ‘kissing of the hands’?  

The ‘kissing of the hands’ ceremony refers to the formal appointment of the Prime Minister by the Queen. 

During Liz Truss’s meeting with Her Majesty today, she will have asked her if she is able to form a government in her name.

Whilst under previous monarchs the PM would have been actually required to kiss the sovereign’s hand to show their loyalty to the sovereign, this is no longer the case. 

The ‘kissing of the hands’ ceremony refers to the formal appointment of the Prime Minister by the Queen. Above: Boris Johnson being appointed in 2019

However, the meeting is still referred to in the Court Circular – the official record of the monarch’s engagements – as ‘kissing hands’, as with Buckingham Palace’s statement today. 

Today’s meeting at Balmoral was the first time in recent decades that the kissing of the hands’ happened outside London or Windsor.

In 1952, the Queen kissed hands with Winston Churchill at Heathrow when she returned from Africa after her father King George VI died.

Before that, the sudden resignation of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman meant the ceremony to appoint Herbert Asquith was carried out in a hotel room in Biarritz, France.

Boris hails legacy in final speech as PM 

Boris Johnson hailed his legacy today as he delivered a typically bullish farewell speech before heading to hand his resignation to the Queen.

Watched by MPs, aides and allies as he spoke on the steps of No10, the outgoing PM put a brave face on his departure saying ‘this is it, folks’.

After walking out of the famous black door with wife Carrie, he pointed out he ‘got Brexit done’ and oversaw the ‘fastest vaccine rollout’ during near three-year stint.

He delivered a stark message that Britain must continue supporting Ukraine against Vladimir Putin’s aggression, despite the economic pain caused by his ‘blackmail’ on gas prices.

And in a barb at MPs for dramatically ousting him, Mr Johnson said: ‘The baton will be handed over in what has unexpectedly turned out to be a relay race. They changed the rules halfway through, but never mind that now.’

Mr Johnson also sparked laughter by comparing himself to a ‘booster rocket’ that was being jettisoned, suggesting he would keep out of the way on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean.

In a hint at his own future plans, Mr Johnson said he would emulate Cincinnatus, a Roman statesman who battled against invasion before returning to his farm.

In his farewell speech, he said: ‘On the subject of bouncing around in future careers, let me say that I am now like one of those booster rockets that has fulfilled its function.

‘I will now be gently re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the Pacific.

‘Like Cincinnatus, I am returning to my plough and I will be offering this Government nothing but the most fervent support.’

The former premier is likely to skip the Conservative Party conference this autumn as he tries to keep a low profile after stepping down as Prime Minister.

While supporters hope he could stage a comeback, he is instead planning to spend the coming weeks ‘representing his constituents’ and backing Liz Truss.

A Whitehall source said he would now be a ‘private individual’ and would ‘probably not’ attend his party’s annual autumn gathering in Birmingham next month.

The outgoing Prime Minister is likely to join the lucrative speaking circuit and write his memoirs but will resist making high-profile political interventions, sources said. 

Will Walden, who was Mr Johnson’s communications chief when he was mayor of London, told LBC radio yesterday he expected he would ‘disappear off to make a lot of money’.

Amid the speculation about Mr Johnson’s future, his wife Carrie shared a touching tribute to his time as Prime Minister as they prepared to leave Downing Street with their children.

She posted a photo on Instagram that showed her, Mr Johnson and their children Wilfred, two, and Romy, nine months, walking through the door of No 10 together for the last time.

Wearing a long white dress, she carried Romy as Wilfred did a kick with his left leg while holding his parents’ hands. 

Alongside the photo, Mrs Johnson, 33, wrote a short post reflecting on her children’s happy time at both No 10 and Chequers. The family will stand outside No 10 today to watch Mr Johnson make his farewell speech.

Mr Walden also told ITV ‘not many’ MPs would like Mr Johnson to stage a comeback as there is only ‘a small coterie of very, very loyal Boris acolytes’, and predicted it would have to be a ‘strange set of circumstances’ for him to return.

But at the weekend, Mr Johnson’s former chief of staff in No 10 Lord Udny-Lister said Tory MPs would come to regret ousting him and that he might be tempted to run for leader again in future.

Watched by MPs, aides and allies as he spoke on the steps of No10, the outgoing PM put a brave face on his departure saying ‘this is it, folks’

There were warm embraces as the Johnsons said their goodbyes in Downing Street today

Close ally Jacob Rees-Mogg (second from right) had brought his son Peter (right) to watch the political drama 

Mr Johnson put on a cheerful front as he waved to his supporters in the street today

Carrie joined the applause as Mr Johnson drew a line under his time in Downing Street

The Johnsons get into their official car for the trip to the airport and onwards to Scotland

Liz Truss’s first Downing Street speech in full 

‘Good afternoon. I have just accepted her Majesty the Queen’s kind invitation to form a new government.

‘Let me pay tribute to my predecessor. Boris Johnson delivered Brexit, the Covid vaccine and stood up to Russian aggression. History will see him as a hugely consequential prime minister.

‘I’m honoured to take on this responsibility at a vital time for our country. What makes the United Kingdom great is our fundamental belief in freedom, in enterprise and in fair play. Our people have shown grit, courage and determination, time and time again.

‘We now face severe global headwinds caused by Russia’s appalling war in Ukraine and the aftermath of Covid. Now is the time to tackle the issues that are holding Britain back. We need to build roads, homes and broadband faster. We need more investment and great jobs in every town and city across our country. We need to reduce the burden on families and help people get on in life.

‘I know that we have what it takes to tackle those challenges. Of course, it won’t be easy, but we can do it. We will transform Britain into an aspiration nation with high paying jobs, safe streets and where everyone everywhere has the opportunities they deserve.

‘I will take action this day and action every day to make it happen. United with our allies, we will stand up for freedom and democracy around the world. Recognising that we can’t have security at home without having security abroad.

‘As prime minister, I will pursue three early priorities. Firstly, I will get Britain working again. I have a bold plan to grow the economy through tax cuts and reform. I will cut taxes to reward hard work and boost business-led growth and investment.

‘I will drive reform in my mission to get the United Kingdom working, building and growing. We’ll get spades in the ground to make sure people are not facing unaffordable energy bills and we will also make sure that we are building hospitals, schools, roads and broadband.

‘Secondly, I will deal hands on with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war. I will take action this week to deal with energy bills and to secure our future energy supply.

‘Thirdly, I will make sure that people can get doctor’s appointments and the NHS services they need. We will put our health service on a firm footing.

‘By delivering on the economy, on energy and on the NHS. We will put our nation on the path to long term success. We shouldn’t be daunted by the challenges we face. As strong as the storm may be, I know that the British people are stronger. Our country was built by people who get things done. We have huge reserves of talent, of energy and determination.

‘I am confident that together we can ride out the storm. We can rebuild our economy and we can become the modern brilliant Britain that I know we can be.

‘This is our vital mission to ensure opportunity and prosperity for all people and future generations. I am determined to deliver Thank you.’

The Queen, 96, is pictured leaning on a walking stick as she meets new Prime Minister Liz Truss from the comfort of Balmoral rather than make 1,000-mile round trip amid health fears 

The Queen used a walking stick as she welcomed Liz Truss at an audience at Balmoral Castle in Scotland today, where she invited the newly-elected leader of the Conservative Party to become prime minister.

The historic audience was the first time that the 96-year-old monarch, who has faced ongoing mobility issues, has carried out the key duty at her retreat in Aberdeenshire, rather than at Buckingham Palace. Today is also the first time Her Majesty has been pictured since she was seen arriving at the estate on July 21 for her summer holiday. 

The Queen has been suffering from episodic mobility problems since last autumn, and the decision was taken last week to ask the outgoing and incoming prime ministers to make the 1,000-mile round-trip to see the Queen. 

A statement from Buckingham Palace issued at 1pm today said: ‘The Queen received in Audience The Right Honourable Elizabeth Truss MP today and requested her to form a new Administration. Ms Truss accepted Her Majesty’s offer and kissed hands upon her appointment as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.’

The Queen invites Liz Truss to become Prime Minister and form a new government as they meet at Balmoral today

The Court Circular normally records that ‘the Prime Minister kissed hands on appointment’. However, this is not literally the case, and it is usually a handshake – as it was with Miss Truss today. 

The meeting took place in Balmoral’s green-carpeted Drawing Room, which has matching green sofas, a leaf-patterned fabric chair, an open fire and a number of equine-themed antique paintings on the walls. 

Miss Truss, 47, has become the third female prime minister in British history – following in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May – with all three serving during the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.

Earlier, Miss Truss swept onto the Queen’s private Scottish estate in a chauffeur-driven car with her husband Hugh O’Leary, one day after being declared the winner in the Tory leadership contest.

Meet Liz Truss’s ‘true blue’ husband: Tory frontrunner, 47, describes her ‘dry-witted’ accountant spouse, 48, as the ‘love of my life’… after he stood by her through her 2006 affair with MP 

Liz Truss described her ‘dry-witted’ spouse as the ‘love of my life’ on Valentine’s Day three years ago. But who is the Tory frontrunner’s ‘true blue’ husband?

Hugh O’Leary was born in 1974 and grew up in Allerton, Liverpool, before his family moved to Heswall, Wirral.

Yesterday’s Times newspaper reported that a former neighbour said ‘Hugh was much more serious’ than his two younger siblings and that ‘he was very earnest and very quiet but a lovely boy’. 

O’Leary, 48, became a chartered accountant after studying econometrics and mathematical economics at the London School of Economics (LSE). 

Truss, 47, met O’Leary at the Tory Party Conference in 1997 and said of their first date: ‘I invited him ice skating and he sprained his ankle.’

Liz Truss met Hugh O’Leary at the Tory Party Conference in 1997 and said of their first date: ‘I invited him ice skating and he sprained his ankle’

They started dating and married three years later, settling in Greenwich, South-East London.

They have two daughters, Frances and Liberty, and O’Leary has worked from home as a house-husband.

A close family friend, cookery writer Mallika Basu, said: ‘They are a great team. Both are keen cooks and very good cooks. She does lovely roasts, he does a good curry.’

Only once has their relationship been rocked. In 2006, it was revealed Truss had been having an affair with married Tory MP Mark Field. Her marriage survived; his ended.

The only damaging moment came when Tory members in her Norfolk constituency complained they had been kept in the dark about the affair and tried to oust her. 

But they were defeated and Truss triumphed.

Only once has their relationship been rocked. In 2006, it was revealed Truss had been having an affair with married Tory MP Mark Field. Her marriage survived; his ended

‘I remember when the tabloid furore was roaring … both times, her friends locally rallied around,’ a source told The Times. 

‘There were a number of occasions when the two of them came to various parties and it was quite good to see that people were sympathising and rallying round, particularly when it was over her selection in 2009. It was extremely unfair the way that came up.

‘I don’t really know much about what went on but from my impression, they [O’Leary and Truss] have always been a really strong couple and I have never seen any real sign that it’s had much of an impact.’

 

 

Boris Johnson’s farewell speech outside No10 in full 

Well this is it folks.

Thanks to all of you for coming out so early this morning.

In only a couple of hours from now I will be in Balmoral to see Her Majesty the Queen, and the torch will finally be passed to a new Conservative leader.

The baton will be handed over in what has unexpectedly turned out to be a relay race. They changed the rules half-way through but never mind that now.

And through that lacquered black door a new Prime Minister will shortly go to meet a fantastic group of public servants.

The people who got Brexit done. The people who delivered the fastest vaccine roll out in Europe. 

And never forget – 70 per cent of the entire population got a dose within 6 months, faster than any comparable country.

That is government for you – that’s this Conservative government.

The people who organised those prompt early supplies of weapons to the heroic Ukrainian armed forces, an action that may very well have helped change the course of the biggest European war for 80 years.

And because of the speed and urgency of what you did – everybody involved in this government – to get this economy moving again from July last year in spite of all opposition, all the naysayers, we have and will continue to have that economic strength to give people the cash they need to get through this energy crisis that has been caused by Putin’s vicious war.

And I know that Liz Truss and this compassionate Conservative government will do everything we can to get people through this crisis.

And this country will endure it and we will win.

And if Putin thinks that he can succeed by blackmailing or bullying the British people then he is utterly deluded.

‘The reason we will have those funds now and in the future is because we Conservatives understand the vital symmetry between government action and free market capitalist private sector enterprise.

We are delivering on those huge manifesto commitments, making streets safer – neighbourhood crime down 38 per cent in the last three years, 13,790 more police on the streets.

Building more hospitals – and yes we will have 50,000 more nurses by the end of this parliament and 40 more hospitals by the end of the decade.

Putting record funding into our schools and into teachers’ pay.

Giving everyone over 18 a lifetime skills guarantee so they can keep upskilling throughout their lives.

Three new high speed rail lines including northern powerhouse rail, colossal road programmes from the Pennines to Cornwall, the roll-out of gigabit broadband up over the last three years, since you were kind enough to elect me, up from 7 per cent of our country’s premises having gigabit broadband to 70 per cent today.

And we are of course providing the short and the long term solutions for our energy needs.

And not just using more of our own domestic hydrocarbons but going up by 2030 to 50 GW of wind power, that is half this country’s energy electricity needs from offshore wind alone, a new nuclear reactor every year.

And looking at what is happening in this country, the changes that are taking place, that is why the private sector is investing more venture capital investment than China itself.

More billion pound tech companies sprouting here than in France, Germany and Israel combined.

And as a result unemployment as I leave office, down to lows not seen since I was about ten years old and bouncing around on a space hopper.

And on the subject of bouncing around and future careers, let me say that I am now like one of those booster rockets that has fulfilled its function. 

And I will now be gently re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the pacific.

And like Cincinnatus I am returning to my plough, and I will be offering this government nothing but the most fervent support.

This is a tough time for the economy. This is a tough time for families up and down the country.

We can and we will get through it and we will come out stronger the other side but I say to my fellow Conservatives it is time for the politics to be over folks.

And it’s time for us all to get behind Liz Truss and her programme, and deliver for the people of this country.

Because that is what the people of this country want, that’s what they need and that’s what they deserve.

I am proud to have discharged the promises I made my party when you were kind enough to choose me, winning the biggest majority since 1987 and the biggest share of the vote since 1979.

Delivering Brexit. Delivering our manifesto commitments – including social care – helping people up and down the country ensuring that Britain is once again standing tall in the world.

Speaking with clarity and authority from Ukraine to the Aukus pact with America and Australia.

Because we are one whole and entire United Kingdom whose diplomats, security services and armed forces are so globally admired, and as I leave I believe our union is so strong that those who want to break it up, will keep trying but they will never ever succeed.

Thank you to everyone behind me in this building for looking after me and my family over the last three years so well including Dilyn, the dog. And if Dilyn and Larry can put behind them their occasional difficulties, then so can the Conservative party.

And above all thanks to you, the British people, to the voters for giving me the chance to serve, all of you who worked so tirelessly together to beat covid to put us where we are today.

Together we have laid foundations that will stand the test of time, whether by taking back control of our laws or putting in vital new infrastructure – great solid masonry on which we will continue to build together, paving the path of prosperity now & for future generations.

And I will be supporting Liz Truss and our new government every step of the way.

Thank you all very much.

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