Liz Truss: The new Justice Secretary known for venting her fury about cheese

She joins Justine Greening and Amber Rudd in being appointed to new roles in Theresa May's reshuffle 

Heather Saul@heatheranne9
Thursday 14 July 2016 13:47
Remembering when Liz Truss gave one of the weirdest speeches ever

Theresa May’s unveiling of her new cabinet this morning continues with the appointment of Elizabeth Truss to the position of Secretary of State for Justice.

Ms May promised more women would appear in senior roles ahead of her primary reshuffle and female MPs to be appointed to roles in her cabinet include Amber Rudd, replacing her as Home Secretary, and Justine Greening as Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities.

Ms Truss, 40, has reiterated Ms May’s promise that “Brexit means Brexit”. The MP for South West Norfolk since her election in 2010, Ms Truss has also served as the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under David Cameron’s administration since 2014.

She grew up in a left-wing family before becoming a ‘rebel’

A self-described "practical Yorkshire girl”, Ms Truss’s background is unusual in comparison to her colleagues in that she was raised in a northern, left-leaning family and educated at a comprehensive. She grew up in Paisley and Leeds, going to marches, peace camps and protests with her parents as a child before attending the University of Oxford to read philosophy, politics and economics at Merton College.

In a 2014 Conservative Party Conference speech, Ms Truss described her defection to the Tory party as a personal rebellion. “I, Conference, became a rebel,” she told delegates. “I became a CONSERVATIVE.”

Her father, a maths professor, reportedly refused to campaign for her during the election. His profession clearly influenced his daughter however and Ms Truss has argued extensively for education reform, particularly in maths.

Before entering politics, Ms Truss worked in energy and telecoms, as an economist and as the Deputy Director for the think-tank Reform.


Ms Truss is a self-confessed foodie who pushed buying British products to the top of her agenda as the Environment Secretary.

“I want people to buy British because it’s the tastiest food and the most exciting food,” she told The Telegraph in 2015. “When I was growing up, other countries’ food – like the French - was perceived as exciting and innovative and our food wasn’t seen like that.

“It’s still the case with wines. Our sparkling wines are award-winning and compete very well with champagne but I’m not sure if people realise the extent to which it really is a very high-quality product.”

Viral star

Ms Truss is perhaps better known to some for the excruciatingly awkward speech she gave to delegates at the 2014 Conservative Party Conference on the admittedly somewhat unenthralling topic of British food exports, such as tea, pork and cheese.

After introducing herself to delegates, a grinning Ms Truss continued her food-themed address with the now infamous line: “In December I'll be in Beijing, opening up pork markets”, pausing for dramatic effect after delivering this sentence.

During the same speech, she added: “We import two-thirds of our cheese. That. Is. A. Disgrace."

A speech delivered at the Party conference the following year calling for children to know the “proper names” for animals and trees made her a viral star once again. No prizes for guessing how Twitter responded on this occasion.

Ms Truss will have no doubt refined her orating skills in the two years up until her appointment to Theresa May’s cabinet.


Ms Truss is married with two daughters.

What she watches to unwind

"Brat Pack flicks from the 1980s. I watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off a lot; The Breakfast Club, St Elmo’s Fire, that kind of thing. Just popular culture."

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments