Tory leadership: South Tyneside residents react to appointment of Liz Truss as next Prime Minister and plead for more help with the cost of living crisis
‘She needs to tackle the rise in energy and costs’ was the overwhelming message from South Tyneside residents to incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss as the news of her appointment received a mixed reaction from shoppers on Ocean Road in South Shields.
After weeks of debates and hustings, the Tory Party have today (September 5) confirmed Liz Truss as their new leader and as such she will take over the departing Boris Johnson as Prime Minister on Tuesday.
While news of her appointment was greeted with a mixture of delight and disdain, what was unanimous was the need for the new Prime Minister to “help with the Cost of Living Crisis”.
Retired Communications Engineer and Tory voter, Ron Davison, 71, from South Shields, said: “The cost of living and the energy price situation has got to be her top priority as a lot of people are really concerned as we move towards winter. For some it really will be a case of eating or heating.
"I think Rishi Sunak did well as chancellor during the pandemic but Liz Truss comes from a less affluent background and so may have a better understanding of life in the North East.
"To be honest, I think at the moment the job is a bit of a poisoned chalice.”
Retired machine setter, Nick Holland, 70, who was visiting South Shields from Newton Aycliffe, was also pleased Mrs Truss piped Rishi Sunak to the post.
Nick, who normally votes Conservative, said: “Of the two, I would have voted for Liz Truss as I believe Rishi Sunak stabbed Boris Johnson in the back. I think, like during the pandemic, she’s going to have to provide some type of handout to help with the cost of energy.
"Tax cuts aren’t really going to benefit those who need support most.”
Scott Carlucci, 52, who owns The Clifton Hotel in South Shields, also hopes the new Prime Minister will extend any help to include small businesses.
Scott, who also votes Conservative, added: “I’m quite pleased she has been appointed as during her campaign she spoke of tax breaks to help small businesses with the rising energy and running costs.
"I prefer Liz Truss to Rishi Sunak who I think is tarred by the end of the Johnson regime. It’s nice to see a female leader.”
However staunch Labour voter and retired engineer, Steve Hudson, believes a General election is the only way to determine the next Prime Minister.
Steve, 62, said: “It doesn’t make a difference to me. I’m a Labour supporter and didn’t want either. There should be a General Election and let the people decide.
"I’m not certain Labour would get in but they’d have a better chance this time. Whoever is charge needs to do more to help with the cost of energy, including supporting small businesses.
"There are so many businesses on this High Street which have closed down.”
It was a sentiment shared by fellow Labour supporter Teresa Martin, 62, who is from Hebburn.
The retired therapeutic counsellor said: “The attitude and behaviour of this Tory Government has been a disgrace and people deserve better. It’s not right the next Prime Minister should be decided by 200,000 Tory members. There should be a General Election.
"If Labour can’t get in now, they never will.”