Heritage: Britain’s New Prime Minister can be a powerhouse like Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was a titan on the world stage, a visionary leader who transformed Britain from the “sick man of Europe” in the 1970s into a global power again in the 1980s. Now, over 30 years after Lady Thatcher left office, the question naturally arises: Can Liz Truss, Britain’s third female prime minister (following Theresa May), also prove to be a capable leader?

Truss, who previously served as Foreign Secretary and International Trade Secretary, succeeds Boris Johnson, who resigned as Prime Minister following a rebellion among Conservative Members of Parliament. She faces immense challenges, from soaring inflation and a large-scale energy crisis, to the continuing war in Ukraine and growing aggression from the enemies of the free world, including Russia, China and Iran.

Truss is the right leader for Britain at this moment. She models herself on Thatcher’s leadership and is a self-described “Thatcherite,” who believes in cutting taxes, reducing government spending, and shrinking the size of the state. 

A born-again Brexiteer (after originally opposing Brexit in the 2016 referendum), she is a strong defender of British national sovereignty and self-determination, and has resolved to stand up to the European Union on vital areas of British national interest, including amending the hugely flawed Northern Ireland Protocol.

Truss is already off to a flying start, appointing a strongly conservative cabinet, many of whom are on the right of the Conservative Party. It includes rising stars Suella Braverman as the new Home Secretary in charge of securing Britain’s borders and ending illegal migration from France, as well as Kemi Badenoch in the position of International Trade Secretary, overseeing Britain’s drive to secure a trade deal with the United States. Both Braverman and Badenoch have also been at the forefront of Britain’s culture wars, and key figures in combating the left’s nefarious “woke” agenda.

In addition, leading free-marketeers Kwasi Kwarteng and Jacob Rees-Mogg have been appointed to the key positions of Chancellor of the Exchequer and Business Secretary respectively, with vital roles at a time when Britain’s economy is under great duress. Ben Wallace, who has been an outstanding Defence Secretary, remains in his post, and will be a major thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin and Russia’s barbaric efforts to invade Ukraine.

As Prime Minister, Liz Truss must follow Thatcher’s example and pursue policies that advance economic freedom, and roll back the frontiers of bloated state power. 

Encouragingly, she has called for an aspiration-based society, one that champions individual freedom over government handouts, and celebrates the free market instead of tying its hands. She should resist the siren calls to spend more taxpayer money, and work to defeat the specter of socialism, which has brought so much economic ruin to Britain in the past, and wrecked dozens of economies across the world.

In an era of declining American leadership under Joe Biden and his far-left presidency, Truss has an opportunity to be a robust leader of the free world, willing to stand up to imperial Russia, Communist China, and Islamist Iran. She should be assertive in her dealings with the Biden administration, and stand her ground on issues of vital British national interest, including the Northern Ireland Protocol, which threatens the integrity of the United Kingdom.

Truss should stiffen the resolve of the United States in confronting the mounting menace posed by China’s brutal Communist Party, and also urge President Biden to end the negotiations with Iran, and walk away from the dangerous idea of reviving the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.

Truss can be a hugely consequential prime minister if she follows the example of the Iron Lady who came before her. Great Britain needs the kind of steadfast, principled conservative leadership that Margaret Thatcher stood for and believed in.

There are high hopes for Truss. Britain’s future as a great nation in the Brexit era will depend ultimately on the path she takes her nation down in the next few years.

Nile Gardiner is director of The Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom and Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow. [This piece originally appeared in Fox News]

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