By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Tax cuts to tackle the cost of living crisis and a commitment to Nottinghamshire’s ‘levelling up’ plans are what two of the county’s MPs expect from incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss.
Ms Truss was confirmed as the new Conservative Party leader on Monday (September 5), beating former Chancellor Rishi Sunak by winning 57.4 per cent of votes cast by Conservative Party members.
She will officially become Prime Minister on Tuesday after visiting The Queen at Balmoral Castle.
The current Foreign Secretary takes on the role following the resignation of Boris Johnson in July. Ms Truss will also become the country’s fourth Prime Minister in six years.
She arrives in the midst of surging household bills and with inflation hitting 10.1 per cent, with further rises expected.
But locally, she also takes on the job at a time when local leaders are on the brink of receiving more devolved powers from Whitehall and when Nottinghamshire councils seek more than £250m in ‘levelling up’ cash.
The new Prime Minister is expected to set out her agenda and reveal her cabinet on Tuesday when she will also make her first official speech in the top job.
And Councillor Ben Bradley (Con), Mansfield’s MP and the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, believes Tory Party members have picked the “right person” to deliver change in Nottinghamshire.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I’m really pleased Liz has won, she stood on a ‘small c’ conservative tax-cutting agenda and it’s something I’ve been looking for in recent years.
“She will have huge challenges to face, in the first weeks in particular, because there’s a huge expectation around what she can do with the cost of living and people are expecting big announcements.
“I would expect that to be cutting costs upfront, with tax cuts and green levies on energy bills that would be hugely beneficial. I think she’s the right person for the job for that reason.
“From a local perspective, clearly the biggest conversation we’ve got is devolution and we’re waiting for the legislation.
“She’s been very supportive of that, she was notified as the deal went through and was quite happy about it, otherwise it wouldn’t have happened.
“I’m fully expecting that legislation to happen and for us to work towards the combined authority, the mayoral election and the cash that comes with it.”
Tom Randall (Con), MP for Gedling and a Rishi Sunak supporter, added: “It’s a very convincing result for her, she’s won hands down and is a good candidate and I congratulate her on her victory.
“It’s a tough in-tray, we’ve got the war in Ukraine, this unprecedented energy crisis causing serious issues and the Government will have to take action on that.
“There are some big issues here that will be difficult to tackle. But now this contest is over, it’s important politicians face these issues head-on.
“The message I’ve had is that we need to implement the 2019 manifesto, for which ‘levelling up’ was a key part of that. I do expect this agenda will carry forwards under the new leader.”
However, Nottinghamshire Labour has raised concerns over the appointment and called on Ms Truss to call a general election.
Cllr Kate Foale, leader of the Labour Group on the county council, said: “I’m pleased the Conservatives in Government are no longer distracting themselves with an internal squabble.
“But I fear another Conservative Prime Minister will not change things quickly enough to help those in most need.
“Listening to people on the doorstep I know that many are scared for themselves and their families about what this winter will bring.
“Liz Truss appears to have no empathy or concern for people on lower incomes, some of whom are key workers who are working hard to keep us safe and well.
“We expect the new Prime Minister to call a general election at the earliest opportunity so the country can elect a Labour Government to sort out the mess that 12 years of successive Conservative Governments have left us in.”
But the appointment has gone down well with a grassroots Conservative politician who met Ms Truss during the summer hustings.
Cllr Andre Camilleri (Con), county councillor for Mansfield South, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I’ve met her and I find her very understanding, I think if anyone can sort out the cost of living crisis, she will.
“She’s strong and determined, she proved to be a good Foreign Secretary and I’ll support her.”