Liz Truss has said “brighter days lie ahead” for Britain as she made her final speech as prime minister before handing over to new Tory leader Rishi Sunak.
After seven chaotic weeks, Truss on Tuesday praised tax cuts and celebrated reversing the national insurance hike imposed by Sunak when he was chancellor.
She warned the nation continues to “battle through a storm” but insisted she believes that better is to come.
Truss also said the UK must “out-compete” autocratic regimes “where power lies in the hands of the few”, seemingly without a hint of irony.
Speaking from Downing Street, Truss said: “From my time as Prime Minister I’m more convinced than ever that we need to be bold and confront the challenges we face.
“We simply cannot afford to be a low-growth country where the Government takes up an increasing share of our national wealth and where there are huge divides between different parts of our country. We need to take advantage of our Brexit freedoms to do things differently.”
Truss made no apologies for the disastrous mini-budget that sparked financial turmoil and led to the chaotic end of her premiership.
She continued to stand by her tax-cutting ideals, despite being forced to reverse most of her policies when new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was brought in to clear up the mess.
She cited one of Brexit’s benefits as “lower taxes, so people keep more of the money they earn”, before wishing Sunak “every success, for the good of our country”.
In the speech lasting three minutes and seven seconds, Truss quoted Roman philosopher Seneca to say: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
Truss thanked her family and her short-lived Downing Street team during the speech in front of a relatively small crowd of supporters that included her daughters Frances and Liberty, husband Hugh O’Leary and Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey.
“We continue to battle through a storm but I believe in Britain, I believe in the British people and I know that brighter days lie ahead,” she ended her speech by saying.
Sunak will be appointed as the country’s next prime minister by the King and look to build a new Cabinet that might unite a fractious Tory party.
He won the Tory leadership contest on Monday without a vote after rivals Penny Mordaunt and Boris Johnson dropped out of the race.
Allies hope he will stabilise the party following Johnson’s dramatic downfall and his successor’s fleeting but tumultuous tenure.