Conservative MP, Liz Truss, has been appointed the role of Foreign Secretary in the recent cabinet reshuffle. She has replaced Dominic Raab who is now serving as the Justice Secretary. This comes as many Conservative MPs from the Anglia region are promoted in Boris Johnson’s new government line up.
Truss has served as an MP for South West Norfolk since 2010, after previously working in sales, as an economist, and as the deputy editor of think tank ‘Reform’. Within office, she has served as Under-secretary of State for Childcare and Education, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Secretary of State for Justice, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and International Trade Secretary.
Whilst studying at Oxford University, Truss was the President of the Oxford University Liberal Democrats but when she graduated in 1996 she joined the Conservative Party. She described her parents, a nurse and a professor of mathematics, as being “to the left of Labour”, and a surprising decision to become a Conservative MP. During her first election campaign, her mother agreed to campaign for her, whilst her father refused.
As Foreign Secretary, Truss will be responsible for Britain’s relations with foreign governments and states. She will head the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, focusing on national security, intelligence, and promotion of British interests abroad amongst other things. She is the first Conservative woman to hold the position. In the past week she has chaired a meeting of the UN Security Council, a G20 meeting on Afghanistan, as well as having held over 15 meetings with heads of state and foreign ministers.
Truss is already showing differences between her and her predecessor Raab through her use of social media. It appears she is gaining a lot of attention and there are whispers of her becoming future leader of such a male-dominated party.
Truss also acts as the minister of women and equalities but has been accused by a group of MPs as treating this role as a “side hustle”. They feel as though Truss having such a demanding role as Foreign Secretary means the important work of reducing inequality is being sidelined. Caroline Nokes, the chair of the women and equalities committee, said Truss had been unable to attend the committee’s questions due to conflicting commitments. Nokes said “it is obvious that the current setup of Cabinet leaves no space or time to really address inequality in the UK”.
Other Norfolk MPs have also been affected by the recent reshuffle. The Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman has been reinstated to the government front bench as Minister for Science, Research and Innovation. The Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has been moved to the Department for Work and Pensions from the Cabinet Office where she was attempting to push through new controversial legislation around making photo ID compulsory before people are allowed to vote. Others have stayed in the same positions, such as Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis who has remained Northern Ireland Secretary.