|The Right Honourable
|Secretary of State for Justice
14 July 2016
|Prime Minister||Theresa May|
|Preceded by||Michael Gove|
|Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs|
15 July 2014 – 14 July 2016
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Owen Paterson|
|Succeeded by||Andrea Leadsom|
|Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare|
4 September 2012 – 15 July 2014
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Sarah Teather (Minister of State for Schools and Families)|
|Succeeded by||Nick Gibb|
|Member of Parliament
for South West Norfolk
6 May 2010
|Preceded by||Christopher Fraser|
|Born||Mary Elizabeth Truss
26 July 1975
Oxford, England, UK
|Political party||Liberal Democrats (before 1996)
|Alma mater||Merton College, Oxford|
Mary Elizabeth "Liz" Truss PC MP (born 26 July 1975) is a British Conservative Party politician who was appointed Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor in 2016. She is the first female Lord Chancellor in the thousand-year history of the role. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for South West Norfolk since 2010.
After graduating from the University of Oxford in 1996, Truss worked in sales, as an economist, and was deputy director at the think-tank Reform, before becoming a member of parliament at the 2010 general election. As a backbencher, she called for reform in a number of policy areas, including childcare, maths education, and the economy. She founded the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs, and authored or co-authored a number of papers and books, including After the Coalition (2011) and Britannia Unchained (2012).
Truss was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State from 2012 to 2014, with responsibility for education and childcare in the Department for Education. She was the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from 2014 to 2016. On 14 July 2016, she was appointed Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor by Theresa May, succeeding Michael Gove.
- 1 Early and personal life
- 2 Career
- 3 Political career
- 4 Parliamentary career
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early and personal life
Truss was born in Oxford, England. She was raised in a northern, left-wing household; her father, John Truss, is a professor of pure mathematics at the University of Leeds; her mother was a nurse, teacher, and member of the CND. Truss has described both as being "to the left of Labour". When Truss later ran for election to Parliament, her mother agreed to campaign for her and her father declined to do so.
Truss attended a state primary school in Paisley, in Scotland, followed by Roundhay School, a comprehensive school in north-east Leeds. She lived in Canada for a year, and contrasts the competitive attitude in schooling there with the "trendy" education she received in Leeds. She read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Merton College, Oxford.
In 2000, she married an accountant, Hugh O'Leary. The couple have two daughters.
After losing her first two elections, Truss became the full time deputy director of Reform in January 2008, where she advocated more rigorous academic standards in schools, a greater focus on tackling serious and organised crime, and urgent action to deal with Britain's falling competitiveness. She co-authored The Value of Mathematics and A New Level amongst other reports.
Truss was President of Oxford University Liberal Democrats and a member of the national executive committee of its youth and student wing. She also expressed republican sentiments at the 1994 Liberal Democrats conference. Truss joined the Conservative Party in 1996. She served as the chairman of the Lewisham Deptford Conservative Association from 1998 to 2000. She was elected as a councillor in the London Borough of Greenwich in 2006, standing down in 2010, shortly before the end of her term of office.
Truss contested election for the Labour constituency of Hemsworth in 2001, swinging the vote by 4%. This brought her to the attention of Conservative Central Office, who assigned her a political mentor in Conservative MP Mark Field - the same MP with whom she later had an extramarital affair. After Sue Catling had fallen out with the local Conservative Association over an extramarital affair, Truss was selected to fight Calder Valley in 2005. A locally divided Conservative party resulted in a hold for Labour.
Under David Cameron as Conservative leader, Truss was added to the party's controversial 'A List'. In 2006, she was tipped to fight the by-election in the strong Conservative seat of Bromley and Chislehurst, where a by-election was pending after the death of the then sitting MP Eric Forth. The Daily Mail broke the story of her extra-marital affair with Mark Field. The selection contest was won by Bob Neill, the leader of the Conservative group on the London Assembly.
In October 2009, she was selected for the South West Norfolk seat by members of the constituency Conservative Association. She won over 50% of the vote in the first round of the final against five other candidates. Shortly after her selection, some members of the constituency Association objected to Truss's selection, claiming that information about her infidelity with Field had been withheld from the members. A motion was proposed to terminate Truss's candidature, but this was defeated by 132 votes to 37 at a general meeting of the Association's members three weeks later.
Following her election to the House of Commons on 6 May 2010, Truss campaigned for issues including the retention of the RAF Tornado base at RAF Marham in her constituency; over seven months she asked 13 questions in the Commons about RAF Marham, secured a special debate on the subject, wrote dozens of letters to ministers and collected signatures on a petition which was delivered to Downing Street. She also successfully lobbied for the dualling of the A11 west of Thetford. With an eye on the Thetford Forest, in her constituency, she spoke out against the proposal to sell off forests and played a leading role in preventing a waste incinerator being built in West Norfolk. Her work to campaign for design improvements to road junctions in her constituency, notably the A47, led to her being named Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month by road safety charity Brake in January 2013.
In March 2011, she wrote a paper for the liberal think-tank CentreForum in which she argued for an end to bias against serious academic subjects in the education system so that social mobility can be improved. Truss wrote a further paper for the same think-tank in May 2012, in which she argued for change in the structure of the childcare market in Britain.
In October 2011, she founded the Free Enterprise Group, which has been supported by over 40 other Conservative MPs. In September 2011, together with four other members of the Free Enterprise Group, she had co-authored After the Coalition, a book which sought to challenge the consensus that Britain's economic decline is inevitable by arguing for the return of a more entrepreneurial and meritocratic culture. A further volume by the same authors, Britannia Unchained, billed as "an insightful and critical assessment of Britain's challenges in the face of future uncertainty", was published in September 2012. As part of a serialisation in The Daily Telegraph, Truss wrote an article previewing her chapter on the importance of science in education. The piece was praised by the physicist Brian Cox as an "excellent article".
Truss has championed Britain following Germany's lead in allowing people to have tax-free and less-heavily regulated "mini-jobs". Since Truss published a paper on the policy for the Free Enterprise Group in February 2012, the policy has been examined by the Treasury as a policy to promote growth.
Truss has campaigned for improved teaching of more rigorous school subjects, especially mathematics. She has publicised that only 20% of British students study maths to 18, and called for maths classes to be compulsory for all those in full-time education. Truss herself studied double A-level maths. She has argued that comprehensive school pupils are being "mis-sold" easy, low-value subjects to boost school results: comprehensive school pupils are six times as likely to take media studies at A-level as privately educated pupils. Truss has also criticised the over-reliance on calculators to the detriment of mental arithmetic.
Junior Minister in the Department for Education
On 4 September 2012, Truss was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Education, with responsibility for childcare and early learning, assessment, qualifications and curriculum reform, behaviour and attendance, and school food review. In this role, she developed some of the policy areas that she had pursued as a backbencher.
In January 2013, she announced proposals to reform A-Levels, by concentrating examinations at the end of two-year courses. She sought to improve British standards in maths for fear that children are falling behind those in Asian countries, and led a fact-finding visit to schools and teacher-training centres in Shanghai in February 2014 to see how children there have become the best in the world at maths.
Truss also outlined plans to reform childcare, intended to overhaul childcare qualifications, and provide more choice of quality education and care for parents. The proposed reforms were broadly welcomed by some organisations such as the charity 4Children, the Confederation of British Industry and the College of West Anglia. However, the proposals met opposition from others. The TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady and the then Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg were among those criticising the reforms, echoed by some parents and childcare bodies, such as the charity National Day Nurseries Association.
The columnist Polly Toynbee was highly critical of the minister's plans, and challenged Truss to demonstrate how to care for two babies alongside four toddlers on her own. Truss responded to Toynbee's challenge by saying that being an early educator was a very demanding job, requiring great and specialist expertise, for which she was not trained. In the event, aspects of the reforms relating to relaxation of childcare ratios were blocked by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
In a 15 July 2014 cabinet reshuffle, Truss was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, replacing Owen Paterson, and becoming the youngest female cabinet minister in British history. In apparent contrast to her predecessor, Truss declared that she fully believed that climate change is happening, and that "human beings have contributed to that".
In November 2014, Truss launched a new 10-year bee and pollinator strategy to try and reverse the trend of falling bee populations, including a strategy to revive traditional meadows which provide the most fertile habitat for pollinators. In July 2015, she approved the limited temporary lifting of an EU ban on the use of two neonicotinoid pesticides, enabling their use for 120 days on about 5% of England’s oil seed rape crop to ward off the cabbage stem flea beetle; campaigners have warned that pesticides have been shown to harm bees by damaging their renowned ability to navigate home.
Truss cut taxpayer subsidies for solar panels on agricultural land, as her view was that the land could be better used to grow crops, food and vegetables. She described farming and food as "hotbeds of innovation" and promoted the production and export of British food, including cheese, pork pies and apples. Her 2014 remarks that "we import two-thirds of our cheese: that is a disgrace", and "opening up new pork markets" in Beijing were widely mocked on social media and on the satirical current affairs programme Have I Got News For You?
In March 2015 she was one of only two Cabinet Ministers to vote against the government's proposals to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes, in what was technically a free vote.
Critics who have attempted to engage with her, according to George Monbiot in The Guardian, have said that she is "indissolubly wedded to a set of theories about how the world should be, that are impervious to argument, facts or experience. She was among the first ministers to put her own department on the block in the latest spending review, volunteering massive cuts. She seems determined to dismantle the protections that secure our quality of life: the rules and agencies defending the places and wildlife we love."
Secretary of State for Justice
On 14 July 2016, Truss was appointed as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor in Theresa May's first ministry. Truss is the first woman to hold either position. The decision to appoint her was criticised by the then Minister of State for Justice Edward Faulks, Baron Faulks, who resigned from the government, questioning whether she was going to have the clout to be able to stand up to the prime minister when necessary, on behalf of the judges. Truss herself said that he did not contact her before going public with his criticism, and she had never met or spoken to him.
Truss was heavily criticised, including by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve and the Criminal Bar Association, for failing to support more robustly the judiciary and the principle of judicial independence, after three judges of the Divisional Court came under ferocious attack from politicians and sections of the press for ruling against the government in the article 50 Brexit case. Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, who had previously suggested that, like her immediate predecessors Chris Grayling and Michael Gove, she lacked the essential legal expertise that the constitution requires, called for her to be sacked as justice secretary as her perceived inadequate response “signals to the judges that they have lost their constitutional protector.” Truss denied she had failed to defend the judges. “An independent judiciary is the cornerstone of the rule of law, vital to our constitution and freedoms,” she wrote. “It is my duty as lord chancellor to defend that independence. I swore to do so under my oath of office. I take that very seriously and I will always do so." She also said that the independent judiciary was robust enough to withstand attack by the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail.
Following a significant rise in prison violence incidents in 2015 and 2016, Truss announced in November 2016 a £1.3 billion investment programme in the prison service and the recruitment of 2,500 additional prison officers, partly reversing the cuts made under the previous coalition government.
- The Value of Mathematics (June 2008)
- A New Level (June 2009)
- Academic rigour and social mobility: how low income students are being kept out of top jobs (March 2011)
- A decade of gains – learning lessons from Germany (February 2012)
- Affordable quality: new approaches to childcare (May 2012)
- After the Coalition (2011)
- Britannia Unchained (2012)
- [dead link]
- The London Gazette: . 13 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
- Asthana, Anushka (9 June 2012). "The lady's for turning, right from CND to Conservative". The Times. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Elizabeth Truss MP". Department for Education. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-11.
- "Theresa May's new cabinet: Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan axed". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
- Louis Gerber (2010-05-06). "Liz Truss is the new Secretary of Justice". Cosmopolis.ch. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
- "Profile: Elizabeth Truss". The Sunday Times. 8 November 2009. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
- Forsyth, James (23 June 2012). "Next right". The Spectator. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
- "A political affair: We profile cabinet minister Liz Truss - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk".
- "Biography", Elizabeth Truss' official website
- "Guardian contributor page". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-07-15.
- "The value of mathematics", Reform, June 2008
- "A new level", Reform, June 2009
- Truss flirted with Lib Dems before embracing Tories, The Times, 17 July 2014
- Liberal Democrat conference: the spirit of Roy Jenkins lives on, The Guardian, 4 September 2012
- "Elizabeth Truss MP". BBC Democracy Live. BBC. Retrieved 2010-07-25.
- Stokes, By Paul. "Dumped candidate blames old Tory sexism".
- "Electoral History and Profile", The Guardian
- "Tory's affair details 'withheld at meeting". Eastern Daily Press. 30 October 2009.
- Rayner, Gordon. "MPs involved in scandals accused of 'hypocrisy' over calls for tougher regulation of the press". The Daily Telegraphdate=9 November 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
- "David Cameron phones local grandee", The Daily Telegraph, 13 November 2009
- "Iain Dale's EDP column", Eastern Daily Press, 31 October 2009
- McSmith, Andy (16 November 2009). "A field day for the Tory old guard". The Independent.
- "Tory woman wins selection battle". BBC News. 17 November 2009.
- "Campaign aim to keep Tornado base at RAF Marham", BBC News, 13 November 2010
- "Elizabeth Truss joins the cabinet table in reshuffle", BBC News, 18 July 2014
- "Former minister’s regret over A11 dualling", EDP, 17 March 2011
- "Government urged to grant heritage status to Thetford Forest", EDP, 2 February 2011
- "Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month", Brake, January 2013
- "Academic rigour and social mobility: how low income students are being kept out of top jobs", CentreForum, 15 March 2011
- "Affordable quality: new approaches to childcare", CentreForum, May 2012
- "Free Enterprise Group", FEG website
- "After the Coalition", Biteback Publishing, 16 September 2011
- "Britannia Unchained", Palgrave Macmillan
- "We must shift science out of the geek ghetto", The Daily Telegraph, 4 September 2012
- "Brian Cox tweet", Twitter, 4 September 2012
- Jowit, Juliette (19 August 2012). "Treasury considers bid to boost employment with tax-free 'mini-jobs'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
- Cooper, Rachel (20 August 2012). "Treasury 'considers tax-free mini-jobs to spur employment'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
- Warrell, Helen; Bryant, Chris (19 August 2012). "Treasury weighs German 'mini jobs' scheme". Financial Times. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
- McGurran, Deborah (28 March 2012). "Norfolk MP calls for cash for maths". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
- Coughlan, Sean (21 June 2012). "Maths should be compulsory until 18, says MP report". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
- Paton, Graeme (15 June 2011). "Comprehensive school pupils 'mis-sold' soft A-level courses". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
- McGurran, Deborah (1 December 2011). "Elizabeth Truss in a calculated move on maths". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
- "Justice committee – membership", UK Parliament, March 2011
- "Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare", gov.uk website. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
- "A-level shake up will 'end the treadmill' of repeated exams", BBC Democracy Live, 23 January 2013
- "Liz Truss: strong media personality with big ideas on schooling", The Guardian, 15 July 22014
- "Shanghai visit for minister to learn maths lessons", BBC News, 18 February 2014
- "Childcare restrictions to be relaxed, minister announces", The Guardian, 29 January 2013
- "Parents to have more choice of high quality childcare", Department for Education, 29 January 2013
- "Coalition promises 'More Great Childcare' amid growing anxiety in the nursery sector", daynurseries.co.uk, 29 January 2013
- "College supports childcare changes", Lynn News, 8 February 2013
- "Childcare plans will hit standards, Labour warns", Channel 4 News, 29 January 2013
- "Quality of early education must not be sacrificed if we want More Great Childcare says national charity", NDNA, 29 January 2013
- "How do you fit six toddlers into a buggy? Ask Liz Truss", The Guardian, 29 January 2013
- "Childcare reform proposals face fierce criticism", The Guardian, 29 January 2013
- "Childcare Ratio Shake-Up Blocked By Clegg", Sky News, 6 June 2013
- Ridge, Sophy. "Cameron's reshuffle: gender isn't the only thing women MPs have to offer". The Telegraph. The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- "Biography", gov.uk. Retrieved 18 July 2014
- "Former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to deliver keynote speech at climate-sceptic organisation's lecture", Independent, 18 July 2014
- "Environment Secretary Liz Truss says climate change 'is happening'", Western Morning News, 9 January 2015
- "Tokenism, climate change, King’s Lynn incinerator, farming and food: Q&A with Environment Secretary and Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss", Eastern Daily Press, 25 July 2014
- "Liz Truss: leave lawnmower in the shed to protect UK’s bees", The Guardian, 4 November 2014
- "UK suspends ban on pesticides linked to serious harm in bees", The Guardian, 23 July 2015
- "Pesticides linked to honeybee decline", The Guardian, 29 March 2012
- "Solar farms are a blight on the landscape, says minister", BBC News, 18 July 2014
- "Environment Secretary Liz Truss flies the flag for British apples", Western Daily Press, 25 September 2014
- "Elizabeth Truss at French food expo selling UK food", BBC News, 27 October 2014
- "Liz Truss on BBC Have I Got News For You". 9 October 2014 – via YouTube.
- "Liz Truss - Pork Markets". 18 June 2015 – via YouTube.
- "This Tory Minister Is More Excited About Pork Than Anyone Has Ever Been". BuzzFeed.
- "Cigarettes to be sold in plain packets by 2016", The Times, 12 March 2015
- Monbiot, George (12 November 2015). "Toothless Environment Agency is allowing the living world to be wrecked with impunity". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- Gibb, Frances (19 July 2016). "Justice minister quits with blast at 'novice' lord chancellor". The Times. Retrieved 19 July 2016. (subscription required (. ))
- "Legal firms pursuing troops is outrageous, says Liz Truss", Telegraph, 1 October 2016
- "Unrepentant Mail demands 'public hearings' for judges as Brexit row escalates". Law Society Gazette. 7 November 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
- Charles Falconer (25 July 2016). "This row over Liz Truss as Lord Chancellor isn't about gender. Its about the law". theguardian.com.
- "Liz Truss rebuffs criticism over newspaper attacks on Brexit judges", Guardian, 10 November 2016
- "The bulging intray facing President Trump", The Times, 10 November 2016
- Alan Travis (27 October 2016). "Prison violence epidemic partly due to staff cuts, MoJ admits". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- "Prisons to get 'biggest overhaul in a generation'". BBC News. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- Alan Travis (3 November 2016). "Prisons in England and Wales to get 2,500 extra staff to tackle violence". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Elizabeth Truss.|
- Elizabeth Truss official website
- Free Enterprise Group official website
- Profile on Conservative Party website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament
for South West Norfolk
|Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
|Secretary of State for Justice
|Order of precedence in England and Wales|
The Dowager Countess of Harewood
as Lord Chancellor
as Prime Minister