Truss in pictures: From Leeds schoolgirl to Liberal Democrat to Tory prime minister

Liz Truss's path to No 10 differs from her predecessors. ITV News' Romilly Weeks looks at her past

It has taken Liz Truss just 12 years to go from being a new MP to becoming the prime minister.

Only three other politicians in modern times have made the same journey in a shorter period, all of them Conservatives: Boris Johnson and John Major, both of whom took 11 years, and David Cameron, who needed just nine years.

As the new prime minister, Liz Truss will enter No 10 on Tuesday having won the backing of Tory party members by presenting herself as an avid Brexiteer who is the free market-loving heir to Margaret Thatcher.

Winning the support of Conservative activists in the leadership vote a day earlier was the final move in an extraordinary series of political transformations throughout her life.

Here is Liz Truss' extraordinary political journey in pictures:

Born in Oxford in 1975 to parents she describes as “left-wing”, her mother, a nurse and a teacher, took a young Ms Truss to marches for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1980s and to “peace camp”.

Truss with her mother and supporters of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
Elizabeth Truss holding up the LDYS banner on a mass trespass in protest at the Criminal Justice Bill on 2 July 1994 Credit: Liberal Democrat Youth Society

The family upped sticks to Leeds, where Ms Truss attended the Roundhay state secondary school before studying philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University. Here is Ms Truss in a class photo with class mates at her school in Leeds.

Liz Truss (bottom, third from right) in her 1989 class photo

The Conservatives were not even her first political party, having initially had a brush with the

Liberal Democrats and using a speech at their 1994 conference to back a motion calling for the abolition of the monarchy.

'We do not believe that people should be born to rule'

At the 1997 Conservative party conference, she met future husband Hugh O’Leary. She now has two teenage daughters.

Liz Truss posting a photo of her and her husband, Hugh O'Leary, on Valentines Day 2019 Credit: Instagram/

After the unsuccessful runs for the Tories in Hemsworth in 2001 and Calder Valley in 2005, she was elected as a councillor in Greenwich in 2006 before becoming deputy director of the right-of-centre Reform think tank two years later.

Here is Ms Truss at her first MP campaign in 1998:

Truss' first ever election campaign in 1998, Vanbrugh Ward Greenwich, with running mate Douglas Credit: Instagram/

In 2008 she became deputy director of the right-of-centre Reform think tank.

Liz Truss as Deputy Director of Reform at the launch of Reform's Lawful Society report on the nature of crime and the incentives Credit: PA

She first entered Parliament at the 2010 general election, when she won the seat of South West Norfolk with 48% of the vote.

She held the seat at the 2015, 2017 and 2019 elections, increasing her share of the vote on each occasion. At the 2019 election she polled 69% of the vote, well ahead of her Labour rival, who finished second on just 18%.

Here she is during her 2010 campaign to become an MP.

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for South West Norfolk Elizabeth Truss, canvasses in the village of West Walton, in Norfolk. Credit: PA

Another political conversion was under way, and she shifted from arguing to stay in the EU at the 2016 referendum to become a strong defender of the decision to leave.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss with George Osborne during his speech where he warned that the UK would be poorer outside the European Union Credit: PA

After clashes with Lib Dem deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg, she was promoted to environment secretary in 2014.

But while her fortunes were rising in Westminster, her reputation as a speechmaker faltered.

It was in the environment brief that she gave an often-ridiculed address to the Tory conference where she discussed her left-to-right conversion in a pantomime manner.

Her tone switched to a serious one when decrying the state of play that saw the UK importing two thirds of its cheese. “That is a disgrace,” she insisted, deadpan.

Truss a Environment Secretary (third from right) in Theresa May's newly appointed 2016 cabinet Credit: PA

Ms Truss’s star kept rising, however, and she did a year as justice secretary before heading to the Treasury as chief secretary and then leading the Department for International Trade.

It was during this period that her prolific and carefully curated social media output saw the department nicknamed the “Department for Instagramming Truss”.

Here she is in 2016 becoming the first woman ever to hold the role the new Lord Chancellor, arriving at the Judge's entrance to the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London before being installed.

Liz Truss as she became the first woman ever to hold the role the new Lord Chancellor, arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice Credit: PA

In the Foreign Office she took a tough stance in talks and would anger the EU with legislation threatening to break international law over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

She would also oversee the successful release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori from Iranian detention where other ministers had failed.

The Foreign Office gave her a much higher profile and she seized on it with numerous eye-catching photo ops that bore a resemblance to Mrs Thatcher’s escapades.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (right) greeting Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow. Credit: PA

And she has sought to portray herself as her tax-slashing successor during the fight for No 10, though Mr Sunak has branded her polices the opposite of Thatcherism and that they fail to meet the rapidly worsening cost-of-living crisis.

Ms Truss has appeared undaunted by such attacks, instead adopting a Johnsonian approach to deploy unwavering optimism for Britain’s future, including by hitting out at “too much talk” over the inevitability of a recession.

Truss recreates Thatcher's iconic look in Russia as foreign secretary on a visit in 2022 Credit: AP/Instagram:
Liz Truss recreates one of Margaret Thatcher’s iconic photos on a visit to Estonia in 2021 Credit: Downing Street/AP

While Truss denies emulating Britain's first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, saying in 2022 that "every woman in politics gets compared to Theresa May or Margaret Thatcher", social media users and media commentators have pointed out similarities between Thatcher and Truss in both her policies and photo appearances.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss taking part in the ITV Tory leadership debate live Credit: PA

She has spent many years setting the stage, and now the Tory members have selected her as the new leader of the Conservative party.

Liz Truss following the announcement that she is the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister Credit: PA

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know