LONDON — Rishi Sunak has vowed to undo the economic mess wrought by his predecessor Liz Truss after he was named Britain’s new prime minister.
In a somber speech from the steps of 10 Downing Street on Tuesday, Sunak admitted “mistakes have been made” by his predecessor in recent weeks and said he was appointed “in part, to fix them”.
Truss only took over as British Prime Minister last month but was quickly forced to resign after her sweeping economic plan spooked markets, plunged the pound and drove up borrowing costs in the UK. United.
Sunak predicted precisely those consequences in a summer-long Conservative leadership race – in which he finished a distant second – and is now reaping the political reward.
“Our country is facing a deep economic crisis,” Sunak said in his speech. “I will put economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s program. This will mean tough decisions ahead.
Sunak insisted he was ‘not intimidated’ by the huge challenges facing Britain, adding: ‘I know the high office I have accepted and I hope to live up to it. its demands.”
After winning the second Conservative leadership race of the year on Monday, the 42-year-old was formally invited on Tuesday to form a government by Britain’s new monarch, King Charles III.
But he takes over at an extremely difficult time for Britain, with soaring energy costs, mortgage rates and inflation rates triggering a cost of living crisis for millions of households and dwellers. companies.
In his speech, Sunak also delivered a veiled blow to his former boss Boris Johnson, who was also forced out of office earlier this year following a series of personal scandals.
“This government will demonstrate integrity, professionalism and accountability at all levels,” Sunak said.
Johnson tweeted his congratulations after Sunak took office, insisting it was “time for every Tory to give our new Prime Minister our full and wholehearted support”.
The new prime minister is expected to spend Tuesday afternoon forming his new cabinet and appointing key staff to No 10 posts. He is Britain’s youngest prime minister in modern history and the first Briton of Asian descent to lead the country.
Truss, who beat Sunak in a summer leadership race, said in his farewell speech on Tuesday that it had been “a huge honor” to lead the nation and showed few signs of contrition over the of his chaotic seven weeks in office.
“Since my tenure as prime minister, I’ve been more convinced than ever that we need to be bold and rise to the challenges we face,” Truss said.
She even quoted the Roman philosopher Seneca, adding, “Just because things are hard doesn’t mean we don’t dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
Sunak won the Tory leadership race this week after rival Penny Mordaunt failed to win the required 100 nominations from fellow Tory MPs. He also rebuffed a brief challenge from former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who decided to pull out of the contest on Sunday night despite claiming he had enough nominations.
Sunak is well known to the British public, having served as Chancellor for more than two years under Johnson before stepping down after his former boss was embroiled in a series of personal scandals.
He was a hugely respected figure after setting up the scheme that replaced people’s wages if their businesses struggled to keep them during the COVID-19 pandemic, and another that saw the government raise bills by 50% restaurants to encourage people to support businesses. .
But his approval ratings took a hit after it emerged his wife Akshata Murty held ‘non-domiciled’ privileged tax status in Britain, which she later relinquished. He has also come under fire after it was revealed he held a US green card until recently, suggesting he may not have been fully committed to staying in Britain.