Rishi Sunak vows to fix Liz Truss’s mistakes in first speech as PM

In his first speech as prime Minister, Rishi Sunak pledged to correct “mistakes” under Liz Truss’s leadership. He also warned of “difficult choices” ahead.

He stated that he would rebuild trust and confidence, and lead the UK through a “profound economic crisis”.

Mr Sunak said he would deliver the manifesto that won Conservatives a stunning victory in 2019.

After King Charles appointed him PM, his speech at No 10 was the first.

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After telling Tory MPs that they must unify or face electoral defeat, Mr Sunak, the UK’s first British Asian Prime Minister, announced his cabinet today.

Major reshuffle saw Dominic Raab return as deputy PM and Grant Shapps become business secretary. Jeremy Hunt remained as chancellor.

The majority of MPs supported Mr Sunak’s leadership. There was no need to vote for Tory members when Penny Mordaunt, his only rival, withdrew.

Opposition parties reiterated their demand for an immediate general elections and claimed that Mr Sunak did not have a mandate from the people.

On Monday, Mr Sunak was effectively coronated as Tory leader by the Tory Party. This marked the end to Ms Truss’s turbulent premiership that began just 49 days after her election.

After defeating Mr Sunak during the summer ballot, Ms Truss was elected prime minister. She won over Tory members with her tax-cutting economic agenda.

Her government was weakened by political and economic turmoil. This was exacerbated when she presented a mini-budget with unfunded tax cuts that has largely been abandoned.

Ms. Truss gave her farewell speech in which she defended her economic policies. She said that her time as prime minister made her more bold.

In his speech, Mr Sunak praised his predecessors Boris Johnson, Ms Truss and said that she “wasn’t wrong to want to increase growth in this country – it is a noble goal”.

Mr Sunak stated that “but some mistakes were made.” “Not out of malice or bad intentions. In fact, the exact opposite. But mistakes nonetheless.

“I was elected leader of the party, and prime minister to fix them. That work starts immediately.”

Sunak, who was chancellor from July to this year, said he would put “economic componence & stability at the center of this government’s Agenda”, warning that it will be “difficult decisions to come”.

Although he did not give any details on the decisions, he indicated that funding support for energy bills and reducing government debt were likely to be some of them.

Sunak will likely reduce public spending in order to plug a PS40bn gap in the public finances.

A Downing Street spokesperson said that Mr Sunak met with Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, on his first day of office.

According to Downing Street, Joe Biden, the United States President, stated that “the UK remains America’s closest friend” in an additional call.

President Biden and the prime minister also agreed to “preserve” the Good Friday peace agreement, which established power sharing in Northern Ireland.

This comes amid ongoing disputes over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is part of the post Brexit deal between the UK & EU.

Mr Sunak also spoke with the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford of Wales.

Ms Sturgeon stated that the conversation with Mr Sunak was constructive, and Downing Street claimed Mr Sunak had stressed their “duty to work closely together”.

Drakeford stated that the call was a chance to “discuss” the importance of working together “as four nations” in order to address “urgent problems” facing the UK.

Outside his new home at Downing Street, Mr Sunak spoke in a solemn tone about the economic challenges facing him.

He made his appearance on his own, without Akshata Murty his wife and his two daughters.

He reminded the public about his decisions as chancellor during Covid-19, which included the furlough scheme that helped employers pay their employees.

Sunak stated that “there are always limitations”, but he also promised that he would bring the same compassion to the problems we face today.

This was the first time the public heard Mr Sunak since his election as Tory leader.

Former hedge fund boss and 42-year-old ex-MP, he is entering office as his party is in crisis.

The party was searching for its third leader in this year’s election. Mr Sunak’s ex-boss, Mr Johnson, insists that he is the only one who can unite the Conservatives to win the next election.

Johnson, who resigned in September as Prime Minister, eventually withdrew his support from the Tory leadership race, admitting that it wasn’t the “right moment” to make a comeback.

While Mr Sunak spoke of Mr Johnson’s “incredible accomplishments” in his speech he downplayed his ownership of the party’s victory in 2019.

Prime Minister said that “the mandate I won in 2019 for my party is not solely the property of any individual, but rather it belongs to all of us and unites us.”

He said, “And the heart and soul of that mandate ist our manifesto.” It is my promise that I will keep it.”

If Mr Sunak steps away from the 2019 manifesto of his party – which promised to “level-up” the country – calls for an early general elections may grow stronger.

The next one will not take place before January 2025 at the latest. Mr Sunak does not have to hold one earlier in the UK’s parliamentary system.

Sir Ed Davey, leader of Liberal Democrats, said that Mr Sunak’s refusal not to call a general elections showed his party did not trust the British people and they would be “rightly furious” if they are denied a vote.

Anneliese Dodds, chair of Labour Party, said that the country needed a “fresh start” after 12 years of Conservative failure. This was a group which Mr Sunak was a part of.

Today, Labour leader Sir Keir starmer, who met with his shadow cabinet, warned his party not to be complacent and called Mr Sunak a “ruthless” politician.

Sir Keir stated that Mr Sunak would not deliver for workers and asked his MPs to ignore the noise, even if the Tories’ new prime minister gives them “a significant poll boost”.