'Difficult decisions to come': Rishi Sunak says in first address as UK PM

Sunak, the UK's 57th Prime Minister -- and the third one this year -- ascended to the top spot following a loss in the Conservative leadership contest to outgoing PM Liz Truss only six weeks ago

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, October 25, 2022, 04:57 PM IST
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Rishi Sunak appointed the new British PM by King Charles III | Twitter

It's official - Rishi Sunak has become the new British prime minister, following a meeting with King Charles at Buckingham Palace, where he was invited to form a government by the monarch.

'I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government's agenda. This will mean difficult decisions to come,' asserted Sunak, during his first address to the country from No. 10 Downing Street.

"Some mistakes were made," Sunak delicately said of outgoing PM Liz Truss' leadership. However, he paid tribute to Truss, saying she was not wrong to want to improve growth in this country, saying, "it's a noble aim".

He added that he admired her restlessness to create change: "Not born of ill will or bad intentions, quite the opposite. But mistakes nonetheless."

Sunak, the UK's 57th Prime Minister -- and the third one this year -- ascended to the top spot following a loss in the Conservative leadership contest to outgoing PM Liz Truss only six weeks ago.

Sunak takes on the top role at a time when Britain is in the midst of a deep economic crisis, and is expected to make tough decisions on taxation and public spending that are all but certain to prove unpopular.

After being overwhelmingly backed by Conservative MPs on Monday, he warned that the UK faced a "profound economic challenge."

Sunak also ruled out an early general election, despite calls from the opposition Labour Party, the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party -- polls show that were a general election to occure right now, the Tories would be trounced.

Meanwhile, Truss has become the shortest-serving PM in UK history - having served for only six and a half weeks.

10 Highlights of Sunak's speech:

PM Sunak opened by paying tribute to his predecessor Liz Truss, saying that she was not wrong to want to improve growth in this country, adding that, "it's a noble aim".

He said he admired her restlessness to create change - but admitted that, "Some mistakes were made. Not born of ill will or bad intentions, quite the opposite. But mistakes nonetheless."

He stated that he was determined to "fix the mistakes" made by his predecessor.

Acknowledging the tough challenges that lay ahead, Sunak claimed that during his time as chancellor, he did everything he could "to protect people and businesses" through schemes such as furlough.

"I will bring the same compasssion to the challenges we face today," he said, adding that he will not leave the next generation with a "debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves".

"I will unite our country not with words but with action," said Sunak. "I will work day in and day out to deliver for you."

Sunak affirmed that his government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level. "Trust is earned and I will earn yours," he says.

Sunak went on to say that he understood how difficult this moment was after the costs of Covid and the rampant price rises as a result of the Ukraine war. "I fully appreciate how hard things are," he said.

Sunak added that he understood that he had his work cut out to restore trust after all that has happened. "I'm not daunted," Sunak said, adding that he knew of the pressure of the high office and hoped he could live up to its demands.

Sunak concluded by saying that he was ready to lead the country "into the future and put your needs above politics", adding he would build a government that, "represents the best of my party... Together we can achieve incredible things."

Following that, the new prime minister ended his speech and entered No. 10 Downing Street for the first time.

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