Johnson vows support to Truss, speaks one last time as PM
Boris Johnson promises unwavering support for his successor, Liz Truss, at Downing Street for the final time as British PM.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose tenure was dominated by Brexit and Covid and short-lived by a series of scandals, bid farewell at Downing Street to cheers and applause from supporters before heading for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II, vowing to support "Liz Truss and the new government every step of the way."
In his final speech, he resembled himself to "one of those booster rockets that has fulfilled its function" and would splash down "in a remote and obscure corner of the Pacific,: as he urged his ruling Conservative (Tory) party to set their differences aside to handle the energy crisis that would spill into Truss' immediate future, adding, "If Dilyn (his dog) and Larry (the Downing Street cat) can put behind them their occasional difficulties then so can the Conservative party."
Both Johnson and Truss face a 1,600-kilometer round trip to the head of state's remote Balmoral retreat in the Scottish Highlands, while the Queen decided not to return from her annual summer break for the brief ceremonial audience, due to health issues that have affected her ability to walk and stand. According to royal officials, Johnson is due to arrive at 11:20 am (10:20 GMT) at Balmoral, with Truss expected at 12:10 pm.
At the approximately 30-minute meeting, the Queen will ask Truss, as the leader of the largest party in parliament, to form a government, as she was just announced the winner of an internal vote of Tory party members after an aggressive competition kicked off in July.
Her first address as Prime Minister is expected to occur outside 10 Downing Street on Tuesday afternoon, weather permitting as the economic situation is also under the weather in the UK - a matter she and her new senior ministers will have to tackle from day one.
Truss is due to finalize her appointments before hosting her first cabinet meeting and question-answering in parliament on Wednesday. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is due to become finance minister, with attorney general Suella Braverman moved to the home secretary and James Cleverly to foreign affairs.
Former Home Secretary Priti Patel and Culture Minister Nadine Dorries announced that they were stepping down ahead of the cabinet reshuffle taking place due to incoming UK Prime Minister Liz Truss taking the country's reigns on Tuesday.
For the first time ever, if confirmed, it would mean no white men would be present in any of Britain's four main ministerial posts. Still, Truss faces a heavy to-do list, with the UK scrambling in its worst economic crisis in decades as inflation running at 40-year highs of 10.1%, an expected recession, and a tough winter. British households are witnessing an 80% increase in gas and electricity bills while businesses warn they could shut down from even bigger surges.
Truss, who labels herself a free-market liberal, has vowed to take action to stimulate economic growth by implementing tax cuts despite warnings that borrowing could maximize inflation, but according to British media reports on Tuesday, she intends to freeze energy bills.
Defeating her rival Rishi Sunak caused a bigger rift in the Tory party that already existed because of Johnson's departure, and recent opinion polls suggested a large part of the British public has no faith in her ability to tackle the current crisis with a new poll by YouGov demonstrating that only 14% expect her to do a better job than Johnson.
There are speculations that if Truss struggles to repair the country's problems, Johnson may revive his political career in a comeback, and on Tuesday, he said he would "return to his plough," like the Roman statesman Cincinnatus, although Latin scholars were quick to point out that he eventually returned to politics.