Rishi Sunak will become the United Kingdom’s new prime minister after winning the ruling Conservative Party’s leadership contest triggered by the dramatic resignation of Liz Truss last week.
Sunak’s win on Monday came days after Truss’s resignation following 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.
Sunak was to make his first remarks at 2:30pm (13:30 GMT), according to Party official Graham Brady, whose 1922 committee of Tory MPs organised a rapid leadership election following last week’s resignation of Truss.
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.
“These are unprecedented times. Despite the compressed timetable for the leadership contest it is clear that colleagues feel we need certainty today,” Mordaunt said in a statement.
“They have taken this decision in good faith for the good of the country.”
Sunak and Mordaunt had lost to Truss in an earlier race to appoint a new leader after then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to announce his resignation in July following a wave of scandals linked to parties entertained during the coronavirus lockdown.
Sunak will be Britain’s first leader of color and the first Hindu to take the top job. At 42, he’ll also be the youngest prime minister in more than 200 years.
While there were rumours over a Johnson’s comeback over the weekend, he pulled out of the contest on Sunday.
He said late on Sunday that he had secured the backing of 102 legislators and could have been “back in Downing Street”, but that he had failed to persuade either Sunak or the other contender, Mordaunt, to come together “in the national interest”.
“I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time,” Johnson said.
The Tories retain a majority in parliament, meaning that as their leader, Sunak will be named prime minister by King Charles III.