Yesterday afternoon at 2pm Graham Brady, who is the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, announced that Rishi Sunak has won the conservative leadership race to become the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
It was an exciting weekend politically across the British Isles as there was great excitement and trepidation about Boris Johnson arriving back in the country after his holiday and regaining the top job in parliament. Johnson joined the top three candidates for the latest ballot to lead the party which comes with the keys to number 10 Downing Street.
On Monday night Rishi Sunak was the only candidate who had officially entered the race, to gain more than 100 members of parliament supporting his campaign. Last week Penny Mordant was the first to declare she was running but she was not able to gain more than thirty official votes. Johnson’s supporters were claiming he had received more than a hundred votes of confidence from the country’s conservative members of parliament but there was doubt and he did not publicly commit to the contest.
Yesterday morning Penny Mordaunt, who has behaved most elegantly throughout the recent dramas, decided the best thing for the country was to rally behind the candidate who had clearly gained a huge lead, gaining more than 144 votes of confidence in his premiership. Mordaunt duly pulled out of the race which allowed Rishi Sunak to become the only politician to meet the criteria set out last week by Brady and the constitutional committee. Sunak was therefore the clear winner of the latest ‘internal’ party leadership contest, although he has not been voted into office by the population of the UK.
There was much relief within the conservative party. Many felt that a quick and strong decision needed to be made to keep the momentum of the conservatives as the party in power and ward off calls for a general election. This decisive win by Sunak was greeted with joy by his close allies who felt this outcome was ‘meant to be’, after his close call at running against Liz Truss for the position of Prime Minister just last month.
Tomorrow will be the first day of Rishi Sunak’s time as Prime Minster and it will be interesting to see who ends up with what job in his top team of conservative ministers later this week. There is much work to be done and with so many problems to solve and challenges to face economically, it is fortunate that Mr Sunak is a talented economist and experienced Chancellor.
This evening during his first speech since winning the Prime Ministers position Sunak promises to serve ‘with integrity and humility’ and he says the UK faces a ‘profound economic challenge’.
After a meeting chaired by Liz Truss this morning, Sunak plans to seek permission from King Charles III to form a new cabinet. Then we will start to know more about Sunak’s plans to govern the country and who will step into fresh key roles in his senior conservative team. Sunak plans to address the nation late this morning with his first speech as Prime Minister.
‘Mr Sunak will be the UK’s first Hindu prime minister, the first of Asian heritage, and the youngest for more than 200 years at the age of 42.’ Stated Sky news today. Congratulations and messages of support quickly emerged from far and wide and the pound and instantly the markets responded favourably to the news.
Sunak’s pledge to “bring our party together” and provide “stability and unity” will be a welcome direction of travel. Citizens of the UK who will wait to see how well Rishi Sunak and his chosen ministers can understand and provide solutions that meet the needs of the economy and working people and families during this cost-of-living crisis.
Rishi Sunak is well placed to lead the UK in taking England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland into a more positive, healthy and wealthy direction in the long term. In the short term there are sure to be difficult decisions to be made and a balancing act to be embarked on to ensure the demands of competing government departments, the NHS, tax and growth can be balanced successfully.
(1) Rishi Sunak makes first public address since winning Tory leadership contest’ BBC News 24 October 2022 ‘Rishi Sunak makes first public address since winning Tory leadership contest’ BBC News
(2) ‘Sunak promises to serve ‘with intergrity and humility’ as he says UK faces ‘profound economic challenge’ Harry Taylor, Andrew Sparrow, Helen Sullivan, The Guardian, 24 October 2022 ‘Sunak promises to serve ‘with intergrity and humility’ as he says UK faces ‘profound economic challenge’ Harry Taylor, Andrew Sparrow, Helen Sullivan, The Guardian
(3) ‘Rishi Sunak warns UK faces ‘profound economic challenge’ as he wins race to become PM’ faye Brown, Sky News, 24 October 2022 ‘Rishi Sunak warns UK faces ‘profound economic challenge’ as he wins race to become PM’ faye Brown, Sky News