With a deliberately dramatic performance, self-proclaimed "launcher" Boris Johnson stole the show from Britain's new Prime Minister, Liz Truss.
The previous head of government promised his successor "nothing but energetic support" on her first day in office - but the 58-year-old clearly vented his anger at the forced exit and left room for speculation about a comeback.
The previous Foreign Secretary addressed the population from the same location in Downing Street on Tuesday afternoon. She was previously appointed the 56th Prime Minister by Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. "The Queen has received an audience with the Honorable Elizabeth Truss and asked her to form a new government," the palace said.
The most important job in the UK is now becoming a mammoth task for the 47-year-old: Rapidly rising energy costs, her Conservative Party divided, the health care crisis and the Russian war against Ukraine are just the biggest challenges she faces. "I am confident that together we will weather the storm, rebuild our economy and become the modern, great Britain I know we can be," said Truss.
Johnson describes himself as a launch vehicle in parting
It is already clear that the style of government is changing. The often wooden-looking Truss does not have the charisma of its jovial predecessor by far. Puns and hints are far from her. Johnson is quite different – he used a strange-sounding comparison for his future role. "Let me say that I am now like one of those launch vehicles that has done its job and gently re-enters the atmosphere and sinks invisibly somewhere in a distant part of the Pacific," he said outside Downing Street's famous black door . His wife Carrie and numerous employees, members of parliament and confidants listened to the address to the nation and applauded enthusiastically.
After 1,140 days in office, Johnson was upset about his cabinet's forced departure: "You changed the rules halfway." In addition, the studied historian compared himself to a Roman ruler: "Like Cincinnatus, I return to my field." Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus (519-430 BC) had returned to work in the fields after a successful battle - but took over sole rule again when asked to do so.
Johnson was forced to resign after numerous scandals, but remains popular with the party base. He continues to sit in parliament as a regular member. Limiting his influence is considered one of the most important challenges facing his successor.
Cabinet consists of confidants
The fact that the audience with the Queen did not take place in London's Buckingham Palace, but for the first time in the Scottish country estate of Balmoral, was due to the 96-year-old monarch's ongoing mobility problems. The Queen is traditionally in Scotland from mid-July to mid-September. With Truss, the Queen has seen 15 Prime Ministers during her 70-year reign. Truss is the third woman to take office after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May.
Worry about the high cost of living
Accompanied by her husband, Truss announced quick steps to revitalize the economy and cushion the skyrocketing rise in the cost of living. In Great Britain, too, there are fears that soaring energy costs as a result of the Ukraine war could put millions in financial difficulties.
According to reports, the prices for gas and electricity are to be frozen - that could cost the state up to 100 billion pounds (116.6 billion euros). If Truss sticks to their announcements that they will cut taxes immediately, it will be a difficult balancing act. Add to this the problems of the chronically underfunded NHS health service and massive public sector dissatisfaction with wages and salaries. "Of course it won't be easy, but we can do it. We will turn Great Britain into a rising nation," promised Truss.
But to make matters worse for her, she has joined the right wing of her party, whose dogmas include a lean state and a tough stance on the EU. Political scientist Anand Menon from King's College in London warned that for many of their supporters, purely ideological doctrine is more important than party unity. Whether Truss can prevail depends on how much space she is given. In order to achieve her goals, the new head of government is also reportedly replacing key officials. According to scoffers, cat Larry is now one of the few constants in Downing Street.
Congratulations from Scholz and Biden
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) congratulated the new British Prime Minister on taking office. "I look forward to continuing the close and good cooperation between the United Kingdom and Germany as partners and friends in these challenging times," said Scholz, according to the Federal Government's Press and Information Office on Tuesday evening. "I wish you strength and every success for your term of office and the tasks ahead of you."
US President Joe Biden also congratulated Truss. "I look forward to deepening our countries' special relationship and working closely together on global challenges," Biden wrote on Twitter. This includes continued support for Ukraine.
Biden and Truss also spoke to each other personally on the phone, the British government said afterwards. Among other things, the two spoke about the special relationship between the two countries, which they wanted to build on, as well as their cooperation in NATO and in the joint security alliance with Australia.