By Connor Steel
RISHI SUNAK will officially be announced as Britain’s new Prime Minister on Tuesday morning after securing an uncontested success in the latest Conservative Party leadership contest; the former-Chancellor being the only candidate to reach the threshold of 100 nominations from MPs during a 4-day race to replace Liz Truss.
This result was confirmed at 2pm by Chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady, who revealed that Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt had exited the contest after failing to clinch enough support from Tory parliamentary colleagues to enter the ballot paper. Her withdrawal followed that of Boris Johnson on Sunday night; the former Prime Minister insisting it was “simply not the right time” to return despite the huge backing.
It means that Mr Sunak ‘automatically’ became Prime Minister without the need for either a vote from MPs or Conservative Party members, bringing back voter memories of a similar result from 2016. On this occasion it was Andrea Leadsom who departed the race and handed Theresa May the clearest path to Downing Street.
For Mr Sunak it marks a dramatic turnaround from just seven weeks ago as he suffered an election defeat in September’s leadership contest, losing by over 20,000 votes against Ms Truss. He has now become the 1st British-Asian Prime Minister and at forty-two years old, the youngest MP to lead the country in modern times.
And he will replace the shortest serving Prime Minister in Liz Truss, who will leave her position exactly forty-nine days since replacing Mr Johnson. She was forced to announce her upcoming resignation last Thursday (October 20) after weeks of pressure and disunity stemming from mini-budget measures on September 23.
In his short speech lasting two minutes Mr Sunak paid tribute to Ms Truss and told an audience of MPs: “The United Kingdom is a great country but there is no doubt we do face a profound economic challenge. We now need stability and unity and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our Tory party and our country together.”
Previously a cabinet member under Boris Johnson before resigning in July, Mr Sunak face challenges as he looks to calm economic markets following the mini-budget last month and guiding Britain through the cost of living crisis. Further tests remain including the Northern Ireland Protocol and the threat of a second Scottish independence vote next Autumn, whilst also transforming a fractured party trailing in voter polling to Labour.
He will likely start work on Tuesday afternoon after the traditional handover of power, which will begin at 9am as Liz Truss presides over her last cabinet meeting before giving an address outside 10 Downing Street. The outgoing Prime Minister will then travel to Buckingham Palace to tender a formal resignation to His Majesty.
Mr Sunak is further set to have a private audience with King Charles III where he will be requested to create a Government and officially become Prime Minister. Returning to Downing Street at approximately 11:40am he looks set to give his opening speech as leader before entering Number 10 and his cabinet is announced.
One name in the running for a top position is Fareham MP Suella Braverman as she will look to complete a quick return to the frontbenches, particularly after her resignation as Home Secretary just five days ago. But despite backing Mr Sunak in this particular contest, she is yet to publicly offer congratulations on his victory.
Meanwhile Gosport MP Dame Caroline Dinenage tweeted earlier tonight: “Congratulations @RishiSunak on becoming the new @Conservatives leader & Prime Minister. I’ve no doubt he will put our country 1st, provide the unity, direction and common purpose to get our economy back on track and face the challenges ahead”.
Readers are encouraged to visit media sites such as BBC News, Sky News and ITV News for all developing updates or reaction to this story; which includes any breaking announcements of potential cabinet members.
PICTURED BY ALAMY (2J16Y13): Mr Sunak leaves Downing Street in March as he prepares to deliver his Spring Statement to House of Commons, one of his last major speeches as British Chancellor before exiting.