To the delight of her supporters Ms Truss pointed out her enemies, the “loony lefties”, “Brexit deniers” and the “anti-growth coalition”, also taking a swipe at Sir Keir Starmer.
“He has no long-term plan and no vision for Britain,” she said of the Labour leader.
And she allied herself to the “heroes” who make Britain work – “the factory workers, the commuters, the white van drivers, the hairdressers, the plumbers, the accountants, the IT workers and millions of others up and down the UK.”
In a highly personal appeal, she said she had “fought” to be where she is – relating how she went to a comprehensive school and was once given a junior hostess badge while her brothers received a junior pilot badge.
Making what seemed to be a thinly-veiled jibe at critics on her own benches, Ms Truss said: “I know how it feels to have your potential diminished by those who think they know better.”
The UK has been through a grim year with a cost-of-living squeeze and energy crisis driving up bills for hard-pressed families.
Although upbeat, the speech was short on genuine substance and almost entirely devoid of new policies.
At times she appeared nervous, cautiously holding a glass of water with two hands as she took a sip.