From policy to pageantry: UK Prime Minister Liz Truss’ dizzying first week
A week ago today, Liz Truss was moving into 10 Downing Street and puzzling over how to help people pay their soaring gas bills. Two days later, the problems stemming from Britain’s economic emergency were all but eclipsed by the death of Queen Elizabeth II, an epochal event that handed the new prime minister an unexpected new job as the government’s chief mourner.
Politics, for now, is on pause. Parliament has been suspended until after the queen’s state funeral on Sept. 19, and lawmakers are scheduled to go into recess again on Sept. 22 for their parties’ conferences. But when the national mourning is over, Truss will face enormous challenges: double-digit inflation, a looming recession, labor unrest and deteriorating public finances.
Truss’s sweeping plan to freeze energy rates, at a probable cost of more than $100 billion in its first year, has barely garnered attention amid the round-the-clock coverage of the queen, prompting some experts to call for political debate on the package. “I do worry a bit that the government will get used to the lack of scrutiny of their proposals,” said Jonathan Portes, a professor at King’s College London.
Aid: The spending package has spurred investors’ fears, which are wearing on the bond market and the pound, which has recently plumbed its lowest levels against the dollar since 1985.
King Charles III: Britain’s new monarch addressed Parliament in London yesterday and then flew to Scotland for a service of thanksgiving for his mother.