Our first woman lord chancellor and justice secretary, who is just 40, may have experienced a degree of schadenfreude as well as elation upon her appointment by the new PM this morning.
As junior to Michael Gove at the Department of Education, she reportedly voiced disappointment over the latter’s reluctance to act on her suggestions.
Truss’s elevation certainly continues Theresa May’s democratisation (as well as feminisation) of the Cabinet.
She was educated at the north Leeds comprehensive Roundhay School before going up to Merton College, Oxford to study the ‘aspiring politician’s degree’ – Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She qualified as a management accountant and worked for Shell and Cable & Wireless.
MP for south-west Norfolk, Truss entered parliament in 2010 and became environment secretary a year ago following a spell as minister for education and childcare. When it comes to the law she is not a total neophyte, after serving on the Commons justice select committee for a period under the coalition administration.
Truss is hardly the epitome of the suburban middle-class Tory high-flier, however. At Oxford she was president of the Lib Dems and questioned the need for the monarchy. She joined the Conservative Party two years later.
After being elected as an MP, Truss co-authored (with Dominic Raab, among others) the provocative tome Britannia Unchained, which was received as a kind of manifesto for the new Tory Right.
One of many memorable passages read thus: ‘The British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor. Whereas Indian children aspire to be doctors or businessmen, the British are more interested in football and pop music.’
With regard to justice and penal policy evidence of Truss’s opinions is thin on the ground. Unsurprisingly perhaps, she has voted consistently for restrictions and cuts to legal aid. And in parliament she has taken aim at the ’most expensive criminal justice system in the world, per capita’, pointing to the scope for ’savings’ without ‘cutting front-line services’.
She was also proactive in seeking the reform of employment regulations, which may bode ill for those hoping for government concessions on tribunal fees.
Truss has also been hailed in some quarters of the press as ‘the new Margaret Thatcher’. For the moment however, it would seem that position is taken.