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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss leaves Downing Street in London

REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Liz Truss’ unenviable new gig

The UK will have a new prime minister on Sept. 6. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who is all but assured to move into Downing Street next week, beat a crowded Tory field vying to replace outgoing party boy Boris Johnson.

Truss takes over at one of the most perilous times in recent British history. What will be the major challenges at home and abroad — and which of these problems are of Truss’ own making?

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British PM Boris Johnson looking perplexed.

Reuters

Boris Johnson narrowly escapes defeat

A few days ago I returned from London, where the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was infectious. Even hipster establishments in East London were toasting the monarch and mixing Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite cocktails (it’s a classy gin and Dubonnet aperitif).

But the air of celebration has since given way to a political onslaught with Conservative lawmakers holding a no-confidence vote on Monday to determine the political fate of their embattled prime minister and party leader, Boris Johnson.

Johnson came out on top, but only just. Some 148 Tories – 32 shy of the 180 needed to remove him – voted in favor of ditching the PM, while 211 backed him. Boris is safe with a majority of 63, but he emerges with diminished political strength as a result.

What went so wrong? During the darkest days of the pandemic in May 2020 – when heads of state around the globe were hemorrhaging domestic support – Johnson maintained a respectable approval rating of 66%.

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