Liz Truss is racing 1,000 miles to see the Queen before launching her premiership with a £100billion energy price freeze that could last until the next election.
She travels 500 miles each way to Balmoral to be handed the keys to No 10 by the monarch before addressing the nation from Downing Street with a pledge to cut household bills.
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What’s going on today?
First, we will hear outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson around 7.30am as he delivers his farewell speech outside Downing Street.
He and Mrs Truss will then both fly to Aberdeen on separate planes for their meetings with the monarch.
Mr Johnson will arrive first at 11.20am and formally hand in his resignation to the Queen.
Once gone, his successor will be invited for his first private audience with the monarch. She will arrive at Balmoral around 12:10 p.m., when she will be named Britain’s next prime minister and asked to form an administration.
After her half hour with the Queen, Ms Truss is expected to return to London.
She will deliver her first speech there as Prime Minister around 4 p.m.
She will be greeted by the Cabinet Secretary at the door of Number 10 and applauded by staff before heading to the Cabinet Room to receive security and intelligence briefings from officials.
The nuclear codes will be given to her and she will write “letters of last resort” to commanders of submarines carrying Trident nuclear missiles with orders on what to do if the government has been wiped out in a nuclear attack.
Its emergency program to tackle the cost of living crisis is expected to include freezing energy bills for homes and businesses until at least January next year – and possibly until 2024 .
This would mean that for a typical household, energy bills would be frozen at just under £2,000. The initial cost to taxpayers would be £40billion – to be paid for by more public borrowing.
Over the past 24 hours, Truss’ allies have been locked in talks with energy bosses, discussing details of the price freeze, which if it lasts two years could potentially cost £100billion .
Government ministers are expected to argue that the new prime minister’s plan is more generous than the Labor Party’s proposed price freeze, but she is expected to reject their demand for a windfall tax.
Who will be in the office?
The big cabinet posts have long been settled and will be filled by Ms Truss’ closest allies, including Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor, James Cleverly as Foreign Secretary and Therese Coffey for the post of Health Secretary .
After Priti Patel stepped down as Home Secretary, she should be replaced by Suella Braverman. Culture Secretary and Boris Johnson’s cheerleader Nadine Dorries is expected to follow Ms Patel’s resignation.
But on political issues, dealing with the cost of living crisis is the new prime minister’s most pressing priority. In her speech after being declared leader of the Tories, she promised to take care of people’s energy bills.
At present, household energy bills are capped at £1,971 – rising to £3,549 in October. The price cap is set to rise again in January when bills are expected to exceed £5,000.
But under the prime minister’s new price freeze plan, the government would intervene directly in the wholesale energy market, subsidizing the cost of gas purchased by electricity producers and suppliers.
This would mean that taxpayers would assume the risk of soaring wholesale gas prices while subsidizing the cost of energy for struggling households and businesses currently fearing bankruptcy.
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Plan to be defined on Thursday
After the new Prime Minister’s promise of help on the steps of No 10, full details are expected from Ms Truss or her new Chancellor, Mr Kwarteng, as early as this Thursday.
His Downing Street address on Balmoral’s return will also include promises of tax cuts and action to tackle the crisis facing the NHS. Allies describe his strategy as a “shock and awe” approach.
Along with her political initiatives, the new prime minister faces the task of uniting her bitterly divided party. After his 57% to 43% victory over Rishi Sunak, many Tory MPs are urging him to lick the wounds of the leadership race.
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Sunak supporter and former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers told Sky News she would now support Ms Truss’ policies, such as the National Insurance cut which was bitterly attacked by the former chancellor.
But Ms Villiers warned: “It will be really important to make sure that any tax decisions do not impact inflation or increase borrowing excessively.
On energy bills, she said: ‘There is also a case for broader support, targeting those on low incomes.’
John Penrose, who resigned from his Government post because of Mr Johnson’s conduct, said Ms Truss had a ‘clear victory’ but added: ‘We will have to wait and see if she can deliver, but she said the right things.”
And on energy bills, 1922 committee treasurer Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown told Sky News: ‘I wouldn’t give anybody a very big bundle because that just builds up our debt already huge and will have to be repaid some time.”
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