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Liz Truss ascends Cabinet ladder to be appointed Foreign Secretary

By PA News

From being mocked for her outrage about cheese imports to being appointed to one of the great offices of state, Liz Truss has made a steady rise up the Cabinet ladder.

Promoted by the Prime Minister to Foreign Secretary during his top-team reshuffle, Ms Truss has been rewarded after being seen to have made a success of her international trade secretary post.

While the Government faced tough headlines about deadlock in the negotiations with the European Union during the Brexit transition period, the South West Norfolk MP made steady work of rolling over a host of trade deals for the UK, ensuring the terms agreed while an EU member were ready to continue after exiting the bloc.

Liz Truss pictured entering 10 Downing Street amid a Cabinet reshuffle (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Liz Truss pictured entering 10 Downing Street amid a Cabinet reshuffle (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A much-coveted trade deal with the US might have eluded her, but the 46-year-old won plaudits in the Conservative Party for securing new terms with Japan and Australia, while a New Zealand agreement is said to be nearing completion.

To secure the terms with Canberra, Ms Truss’s free-trade beliefs were said to have won out against the protectionism instincts of other ministers, such as Environment Secretary George Eustice, especially when it came to food imports.

Her Labour critics, however, bemoan that the Cabinet minister did not deliver a “single trade deal that we didn’t already have inside the EU”, calling the praise within Government for her performance overblown.

With Dominic Raab removed from the Foreign Office after his botched handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, Boris Johnson has turned to a trusted ally in his latest reshuffle.

Dominic Raab was removed from the Foreign Office during the reshuffle (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Dominic Raab was removed from the Foreign Office during the reshuffle (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Ms Truss was an early backer of Mr Johnson during the Tory leadership race in 2019, a decision that helped her snare a promotion from chief secretary to the Treasury to heading up the Department for International Trade.

A vocal Remainer during the EU referendum, reports suggest No 10 has been impressed with the way she has embraced post-Brexit opportunities and trade reforms.

The married mother-of-two, whose relationship survived an affair with former Tory MP Mark Field before her election to the Commons, boasts an impressive CV, defying her upbringing by left-leaning parents to hold posts as education minister, environment secretary and justice secretary in previous Conservative governments.

Away from politics, Ms Truss’s flair for social media has seen her offer an insight into the woman behind the politician by updating her Instagram account with pictures of her relaxing at the beach, or behind the scenes at official events.

Infamously, the worlds of social media and politics combined in 2014, when her improbably enthusiastic speech about opening pork markets in Beijing went viral, pilloried on satirical programmes such as Have I Got News For You?

She caused further hilarity when telling the Tory Party conference that year: “We import two-thirds of our cheese, that is a disgrace.”

Brought up in Yorkshire, Ms Truss studied philosophy, politics and economics at Merton College, Oxford, where she became president of the University Liberal Democrats.

Elected to Parliament in 2010, she previously worked in the energy and telecommunications industry and is a qualified management accountant.

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