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Officially appointed head of the British government by King Charles III, Rishi Sunak said during his speech in front of 10 Downing Street on Tuesday afternoon that he wanted to start “immediately” to repair the “mistakes” made under Liz Truss.
Transfer in the UK. The day after his victory in the British Conservative Party, Rishi Sunak, on the morning of Tuesday 25 October, met King Charles III, who officially appointed him Prime Minister, the third in two months in a country plagued by unprecedented instability and deep social crisis.
It is the first time that Charles III appoints a head of government. Former Downing Street tenant Liz Truss was received by Elizabeth II on September 6 during an audience at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The 96-year-old sovereign died two days later.
Former banker and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, aged 42, becomes the youngest head of government in Britain’s modern history after a meteoric rise in politics. He is also the first of Indian origin and the first from a former British colony.
>> To read: Rishi Sunak, the first non-white to lead Britain
The new prime minister has warned of “tough decisions” ahead to right the “mistakes” under Liz Truss, who was forced to resign after a financial storm caused by her economic programme.
“I will put economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s programme. That means tough decisions will have to be made,” the 42-year-old prime minister said in his first speech from the steps of 10 Downing Street.
Earlier this morning Liz Truss, who stepped down on October 20 after just 44 days in office, made a final speech outside the prime minister’s residence before heading to Buckingham Palace to hand in her resignation to the king.
“I wish Rishi Sunak every success for the benefit of our country,” she said, saying she was “more convinced than ever that we must be bold in the face of challenges” and that “Ukraine must be supported more than ever.” .
Congratulations to @Rishisunak who becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain. Together, we will continue to work to address the challenges of the moment, including the war in Ukraine and its multiple consequences for Europe and for the world.
—Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) 25 October 2022
President Emmanuel Macron sent his “congratulations” to the new British prime minister in a message posted on Twitter on Tuesday. “Congratulations to Rishi Sunak on becoming Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Together we will continue to work to face the challenges of the moment, including the war in Ukraine and its multiple consequences for Europe and for the world,” wrote the head of the French state.
A period of unprecedented instability
After his victory in his formation on Monday, Rishi Sunak promised “stability and unity”. “Bringing the party and the country together will be my top priority,” he said in a brief speech. “Britain is a great country, but there is no doubt that we face a deep economic challenge.”
He becomes head of government in a country facing a serious economic and social crisis. Inflation exceeds 10%, the highest rate in the G7. Energy prices are sky high, as are food prices. The risk of recession hovers. He will also need to reassure markets, rattled by the Truss government’s budget announcements at the end of September, all of which have since been canceled in disaster.
>> To watch: Rishi Sunak on his way to 10 Downing Street: the serious budget candidate’s revenge
Rishi Sunak comes to power in a period of unprecedented instability: He is the fifth British Prime Minister since 2016, when the country chose to leave the EU in a referendum. He is the third head of government in two months.
He took the leadership of an extremely divided Conservative Party after twelve years in power. On Monday he told MPs to “unite or die” as the Labor opposition topped the polls two years before the general election.
More than 60% of voters want elections before the end of 2022
Rishi Sunak ruled out early elections, demanded by Labour. But according to an Ipsos poll published on Monday, 62% of voters want an election before the end of 2022. And according to another poll by the YouGov Institute, only 38% of Britons are satisfied with Rishi Sunak becoming their Prime Minister.
Pragmatist Labour, this early Brexiter will need to form a government quickly, to both provide guarantees to the markets and satisfy the clans of his majority, at the risk of suffering the same fate as Liz Truss. He will also have to explain his intentions: he did not speak during the Tories’ flash campaign, which started on Thursday.
He won without a program or a vote of members after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood down and his opponent Penny Mordaunt failed to qualify.
During the previous campaign last summer, when he was beaten by Liz Truss, this former Chancellor of the Exchequer (2020-2022) insisted on the need to fight inflation, calling the program of his competitor, which provided significant tax cuts, a “fairytale”. On immigration, he said he supported the ultra-controversial program of sending migrants who arrived illegally in the UK to Rwanda. However, this project is blocked in court.