Brave new world: The first 100 days of Liz Truss’ Britain

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LONDON — If the opinion polls are proper, that is Liz Truss’ world now — and we’ll all quickly be residing in it.

With three weeks to go within the U.Okay. Conservative Party management race, each ballot of the 180,000-strong Tory membership suggests Truss, the international secretary, is streets forward of her rival Rishi Sunak.

Amid a burgeoning price of residing disaster and with recession now looming, the following prime minister might want to hit the bottom operating. So consideration is already turning to Truss’ first strikes in No. 10 if, as anticipated, she is topped the victor on September 5.

Two main fiscal occasions, a number of massive coverage speeches, key conferences with world leaders and a full-scale reshuffle of her ministerial ranks are already being tentatively deliberate by Truss’ transition crew.

Long promised has been an emergency price range — anticipated in September — to assist soften the blow households will endure from the following big hike in vitality payments on October 1.

But a second fiscal occasion can also be now underneath dialogue within the type of a spending overview later within the yr. This would reset the budgets of presidency departments in gentle of what are anticipated to be bleak new forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility, which can have in mind the steep rise in inflation for the reason that begin of the yr.

Here POLITICO charts these all-important first 100 days of a Truss premiership, and the important thing staging-points alongside the best way.

September 6 — First assembly with the Queen

Every new prime minister kicks off their premiership with a go to to Buckingham Palace to hunt permission from the Queen to kind a authorities.

Truss’ first viewers with Her Majesty could possibly be a clumsy one, provided that as a 19-year-old activist on the Liberal Democrat get together convention she referred to as for the abolition of the monarchy.

For the 96-year-old Queen, nonetheless, Truss might be only one extra political face by means of her well-known entrance door. This would be the fifteenth prime minister to serve underneath her reign.

September 6 — First massive speech on the steps of Downing Street

On her return from Buckingham Palace, Truss would ship her first massive assertion as PM from the steps of Downing Street.

With thousands and thousands of individuals throughout the U.Okay. watching, her job can be to each reassure and encourage. This is among the most vital speeches any PM will make, and must set out each a broad imaginative and prescient for the nation and instant priorities in authorities.

Liz Truss is streets forward of Rishi Sunak within the polls | Pool picture by Joe Giddens/AFP by way of Getty Images)

In his first speech, Boris Johnson promised a plan for fixing Britain’s social care disaster throughout the first 100 days of his authorities — a pledge which, like many to comply with, fell swiftly by the wayside.

In her first Downing Street speech in July 2016, Theresa May burdened her dedication to serving to odd individuals who “can just about manage” — a phrase she hoped would develop into a defining theme of her premiership, earlier than Brexit derailed it fully.

Truss’ instant priorities are prone to be assuaging considerations about the price of residing disaster and reuniting the Conservative Party after a viciously-fought management marketing campaign.

Like others earlier than her, nonetheless, Truss can also take the chance to flag her personal private coverage priorities. One authorities official mentioned that as PM she is prone to champion reform of childcare — aiming to assist girls within the office whereas supporting households with the price of residing.  

September 6 — Senior officers put in in No. 10

Behind the scenes, Truss’ instant job can be to nominate a dependable crew round her.

As each May and Johnson discovered to their price, making the mistaken appointments or failing to handle the ensuing energy dynamics may be disastrous for the functioning of presidency.

May was compelled to sack her two closest aides, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy, who had develop into wildly unpopular with senior colleagues by the point the Tories misplaced their majority within the 2017 common election.

And an influence battle between Johnson’s spouse Carrie and his chief aide Dominic Cummings — who finally stop in November 2020 — precipitated a sequence of occasions that finally led to his downfall as prime minister.

“Boris Johnson’s experience is a very strong lesson that you have to have a united No. 10 team,” mentioned Gavin Barwell, who served as Downing Street chief of workers following the departures of Hill and Timothy. “If you have different factions with different views of where the PM should go, it’s a catastrophe.”

Downing Street workers have been assured that there might be a level of continuity | Niklas Halle’n/AFP by way of Getty Images)

Some of crucial posts to be crammed embody chief of workers, director of communications and head of the No. 10 coverage unit.

Notably, serving Downing Street workers have been reassured by senior members of Johnson’s crew that there might be a level of continuity underneath the following PM.

Recently-appointed No. 10 deputy chief of workers David Canzini is predicted by officers to be amongst those that would keep on underneath Truss. He could possibly be a contender for chief of workers.

Adam Jones, who has headed strategic comms for Truss for the previous two years, is a possible director of communications. Other aides in line for key roles embody Jason Stein, a former media adviser to Prince Andrew and Amber Rudd; Sophie Jarvis, a long-serving SpAd to Truss; and press officers Sarah Ludlow and Lauren Maher.

September 6 — Key Cabinet appointments

Surrounded by her closest aides, Truss would subsequent got down to appoint her first Cabinet.

Her high crew would have to be in place in time to take a seat alongside her on the entrance bench for her first session of prime minister’s questions on September 7.

Truss’ closest Cabinet allies — together with Kwasi Kwarteng, Thérèse Coffey and Simon Clarke — are anticipated to get key jobs, with Kwarteng hotly tipped for the Treasury. The harder query is what she may supply Sunak, in addition to different former management contenders and distinguished figures from rival wings of the get together. She has already dedicated to together with Kemi Badenoch in her high crew.

“The big question is to what extent she will be rewarding the people that have backed her in the leadership election, or appointing a Cabinet that is the Conservative Party’s A-team,” Barwell mentioned.

Whatever occurs, Truss may also want a Plan B. “In any reshuffle you’ve always got to be flexible. It may be that your ideal configuration isn’t possible,” Barwell cautioned. “The leadership campaign has really become quite bitter and unpleasant, and so it’s not impossible that some people might choose not to serve.”

September 7 — First PMQs

Truss’ first massive parliamentary outing as PM can be prime minister’s questions, the day after her arrival in No. 10.

Truss’ job might be to reunite the Tory MPs behind her, although solely a minority needed her as chief. She may also have to rebuff the inevitable assaults from Labour chief Keir Starmer, who’s prone to pile on strain to name a common election.

September 7-9 — Populating ministerial posts

Over the rest of her first week in workplace, Truss would want to nominate the remainder of her ministerial crew.

This requires a troublesome balancing act — her job can be to reward allies whereas retaining her promise to kind a “government of all talents” by drawing on folks from all sides of the get together.

Populating the ministerial posts would require a balancing act | Pool picture by Stefan Rousseau/Getty Images

The truth Truss carried out comparatively poorly through the parliamentary phases of the management contest — solely making it by means of to the ultimate head-to-head due to second-preference votes — means she can not afford to alienate any faction.

Mid-September — Emergency price range

The defining second for a Truss authorities can be its first price range in opposition to the backdrop of the spiralling price of residing disaster. A typical household within the U.Okay. is predicted to face prices of £3,500 a yr for his or her gasoline and electrical energy by October.   

If she wins, Truss is planning to carry two fiscal occasions — an emergency price range, which a marketing campaign supply mentioned would occur “very quickly,” would want to happen earlier than vitality payments rise on October 1. Possible dates being mentioned are September 14 and September 21.

A Truss authorities would then maintain a spending overview later within the yr, with the Office for Budget Responsibility tasked with producing new forecasts in gentle of inflation.

Departments want to attract up multi-year spending plans bearing in mind new OBR forecasts. Paul Johnson, director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, informed POLITICO final week: “The spending review a year ago was assuming inflation would be 3 percent and it’s turning out to be 13 percent. They’ve got a lot less money than they expected.”

September 19 — First international journey

The new PM is because of make their first international go to inside a number of weeks of coming into Downing Street, with the annual UN General Assembly in New York opening for world leaders on September 19.

If Truss wins this might be her alternative to introduce herself as British PM to key figures comparable to U.S. President Joe Biden.

Harry Summers, a researcher on the Tony Blair Institute, mentioned there might be much more driving on this assembly for Truss than Biden, who might be centered on home U.S. politics forward of the midterm elections two months later.

“Biden has spent the last two years or so rebuilding trust with the international community following the Trump administration,” Summers mentioned. “Truss needs to show she’s doing the same with the U.S. after the Johnson government.”

Some White House officers are skeptical, nonetheless, given Truss’ central position in U.Okay. plans to override elements of the Northern Ireland protocol, which Washington fears can be damaging to the Good Friday Agreement peace accords.

The new Prime Minister might be due for a international journey early on of their premiership | Pool picture by Stefan Rousseau/AFP by way of Getty Images

“There are a couple of things she can do that avoid the thorny matter of the Northern Ireland protocol,” Summers mentioned. “Vocalize support for Biden’s passage of new climate spending in the recent Inflation Reduction Act, and reiterate the two countries’ joint approach to Ukraine.”

October 1 — Energy payments rise

Gas and electrical energy payments will soar once more on October 1, by which level a Truss authorities might want to have demonstrated that it has a grip on the disaster.

James Smith, analysis director on the Resolution Foundation, mentioned the federal government assist introduced up to now “will fall hundreds of pounds per household short.”

“Any policy choices announced must prioritize targeted support, aimed at the households most in need — and be swiftly delivered,” he added. “Without this, there is a very real possibility of destitution for many this winter.”

October 5 — Tory convention speech

Truss’ speech on the Tory get together convention on October 5 is her first alternative to instantly deal with the grassroots members who elected her.

Her recognition with the get together membership ought to assure her a heat reception. But a key problem might be methods to deal with Johnson, who ought to he select to attend is prone to steal the limelight.

“If there’s no intention to be difficult he’s going to cause problems,” Barwell mentioned. “Whatever he decides to do on the fringe will get a lot of interest.”

Mid-October — Parliamentary battles

The new prime minister will shortly face some massive political assessments in parliament.

Perhaps essentially the most instant is the query of the privilege committee’s inquiry into whether or not Johnson misled the Commons over his statements on Partygate.

The new PM will face massive challenges in parliament | Hollie Adams/AFP by way of Getty Images

Truss mentioned at a hustings on August 9 that she would vote for this investigation to stop. She will come underneath strain from key allies of Johnson, who’ve supported her marketing campaign, to remain true to her phrase — however doing so would trigger an unlimited political row.

“The Conservative Party really needs to learn the lesson of the Owen Paterson affair,” Barwell mentioned. “The perception that you are changing the rules, or you are basically ensuring that one of your friends doesn’t get subjected to the rules, I think is politically incredibly toxic.”

Another key query is what Truss decides to do concerning the Online Safety Bill, which is in its remaining phases and has come underneath hearth from a bit of the Tory proper who warn it’s an assault on freedom of speech.

However, Nadine Dorries, a key Johnson ally and now a vocal backer of Truss, is a staunch defender the laws in its present kind.

Truss might want to choose a facet earlier than bringing the invoice again to the Commons. Her alternative of Culture Secretary might be a transparent indication of whether or not she intends to push it by means of unamended.

October 24 — Target date for commerce cope with India

One factor Truss would inherit from Johnson is a goal to signal a U.Okay. commerce cope with India in time for the competition of Diwali on October 24.

Truss — who has made a lot of her observe file in signing offers as worldwide commerce secretary — would little doubt love to satisfy that aim.

Talks with New Delhi are in full stream, with the fifth spherical of negotiations concluding earlier this month and Indian Commerce Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam telling reporters that they are going to wrap up totally by August 31.

A businessperson near the talks informed POLITICO this month that Truss was anticipated to “want to do a quick deal.”

And past…

The solely certainty is that whoever turns into PM in September should grapple with a tanking economic system, a fractured Conservative Party and a protracted warfare in Europe, themes which can dominate their management far past these essential early days.

And the following incumbent of No. 10 may also have to combat and win a common election inside two years — a truncated timeline which suggests on daily basis issues extra.

Graham Lanktree contributed reporting.

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