Liz Truss is officially Britain’s 56th Prime Minister after Boris Johnson quit and the Queen asked her to form a government.
The newly-installed PM emerged from the monarch’s Balmoral residence in Scotland after completing the handover of power – a process known as ‘kissing hands’.
Her Twitter profile was swiftly updated to include her new status.
The grand moment came shortly after Mr Johnson – accompanied by wife Carrie – left Balmoral following his final 40-minute audience with the Queen. A statement from Buckingham Palace said the monarch had been ‘graciously pleased’ to accept.
But Ms Truss will have little time to celebrate as she must head back to London to 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.
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.
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 on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. And he thanked staff for tolerating his wayward dog Dilyn.
‘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.’
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.’
Mr Johnson was forced to bring forward his address due to bad weather expected to affect his flight. He is due to see the monarch, 96, at Balmoral in the Cairngorms at 11.20am – and Royal aides are famously sticklers for timings.
Mr Johnson will be followed swiftly into the royal residence by Ms Truss, who will officially be asked to form a Government as prime minister.
In other developments on a day of high drama in British politics:
- Ms Truss is planning to freeze energy bills for homes and businesses for two years in a huge £100billion bailout to ease the cost-of-living crisis;
- The incoming PM is putting the final touches to her Cabinet that should be appointed this afternoon and this evening;
- Nadine Dorries has resigned as Culture Secretary and will be elevated to the House of Lords, triggering an early by-election test for the new premier;
- Ms Truss will deliver her own speech on the steps of Downing Street around 4pm after officially becoming PM.
Incoming premier Liz Truss was pictured meeting the smiling monarch at Balmoral as power is transferred – a process known as ‘kissing hands’.
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 are at Balmoral in Scotland for his final audience with the Queen, where he will officially lose power
The outgoing Prime Minister landed in Aberdeen ahead of an audience with the 96-year-old monarch at Balmoral, where he will officially quit power.
Liz Truss has landed at Aberdeen airport as she prepares to take the reins of power from Mr Johnson
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’
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
Truss draws up £100bn plan to freeze energy bills for homes and businesses
Liz Truss’ ministers are locked in talks with energy bosses over a £100billion plan to ‘freeze’ bills for homes and businesses for two years — with newly appointed Prime Minister set to use her speech outside No.10 later today to launch a ‘100 day policy blitz’.
The new Tory leader, who succeeds Boris Johnson as Prime Minister today, will freeze energy bills, slash taxes and shake up the NHS in a ‘shock and awe’ bid to stamp her authority on government.
The quick decisions will be made in the attempt to unite her warring party and decisively dealing with the cost of living crisis.
Her ministers were last night locked in talks with energy bosses to thrash out details of a ‘freeze’ in bills that could last two years and cost £100billion — and could be announced by Thursday.
As part of her energy plan, the incoming Prime Minister is understood to be considering lifting the ban on fracking and expanding North Sea gas extraction to boost home supplies.
Miss Truss was confirmed as leader of the Conservative Party yesterday after defeating Rishi Sunak 57:43 in a vote by members.
In her acceptance speech she vowed to ‘deliver, deliver, deliver’.
She added: ‘I will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy. I will deliver on the energy bills crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply. And I will deliver on the National Health Service.’
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.’
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.’
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.
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
Mr Johnson and his wife were seen boarding a government plane at RAF Northolt this morning
Close ally Nadine Dorries (left) and sister Rachel were among those in Downing Street to witness his farewell speech
Current and former Cabinet ministers had turned up to hear Mr Johnson’s goodbye words
Mr Johnson was forced to bring forward his address due to bad weather expected to affect his flight to see the Queen in Scotland
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.
Carrie 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
The PM will hand over to his replacement Liz Truss today, after the winner of the Tory leadership contest was finally announced
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.