The former chancellor wins Conservative Party leadership contest days after the dramatic resignation of Liz Truss as prime minister.
ister after winning the ruling Conservative Party’s leadership contest, which was triggered by the resignation of Liz Truss last week.
Sunak’s win on Monday came days after Truss’s resignation after her disastrous tax cuts plans and policy U-turns plunged the markets into chaos. The unprecedented economic crisis drew a rare intervention from the Bank of England.
Britain faces serious economic challenges and needs stability and unity, Sunak said on Monday in his first public speech since winning the contest.
“There is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge,” Sunak said. “We now need stability and unity, and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together.”
Sunak, a former finance minister, has been left with the task of steering a deeply divided country through an economic downturn set to make millions of people poorer.
Andrew Simmons, reporting from London, said Sunak is “pretty well placed” despite the challenges ahead.
“In some ways, … some of his work has already been done in terms of putting out the fires that Liz Truss created because it did cause a storm in the markets,” Simmons said.
“The whole list of tax cuts and ideas that frankly, according to Sunak and others, belongs to Disneyland because none of it was going to be really possible without crashing the economy more,” he said.
Sunak’s only challenger, Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons and former defence minister, was reportedly backed by 30 MPs compared with nearly 150 supporting Sunak.
“This decision is an historic one and shows, once again, the diversity and talent of our party,” Mordaunt said in a statement as she withdrew from the race just minutes before the winner was due to be announced. “Rishi has my full support.”