Rishi Sunak becomes Prime Minister

Momentum had been with Sunak after he won the support of over half of the parliamentary party.

A photo of Rishi Sunak leaving Downing Street

Rishi Sunak will become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after Penny Mordaunt pulled out of the Tory leadership race, just minutes before the results of the nominations were annouced.

Momentum had been with Sunak after he won the support of over half of the parliamentary party. Nearly 200 Conservative MPs publicly backed the former chancellor ahead of the nomination deadline on Monday.

Sunak is set become the UK’s first British Asian prime minister, and will take office as the UK faces enormous economic challenges.

In her statement announcing her withdrawal, Mordaunt said: “These are unprecedented times. Despite the compressed timetable for the leadership contest it is clear that colleagues feel we need certainty today. They have taken this decision in good faith for the good of the country.

“Members should know that this proposition has been fairly and thoroughly tested by the agreed 1922 [Committee] process. As a result, we have now chosen our next prime minister. This decision is an historic one and shows, once again, the diversity and talent of our party. Rishi has my full support.”

Sunak, the richest MP in Parliament, is taking over at a time of profound economic turmoil amid a cost of living crisis. His rapid coronation as Tory leader is unlikely to heal divisions in the party, with the likes of Nadine Dorries who backed a Johnson return predicting ‘all hell would break loose’ if Sunak became prime minister.

Reacting to the news Sunak is set to become prime minister, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner tweeted: “The Tories have crowned Rishi Sunak without him saying a word about what he would do as PM. He has no mandate, no answers and no ideas. Nobody voted for this. The public deserve their say on Britain’s future through a General Election. It’s time for a fresh start with Labour.”

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey tweeted: “The Conservatives have trashed our economy, pushed health services to the brink, and added hundreds of pounds to people’s mortgage payments. Now Conservative MPs have installed another out-of-touch Prime Minister without giving you a say. We need General Election NOW.”

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