The UK’s new prime minister Rishi Sunak has warned the country that “there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge.”
In his first comments after being named PM Sunak said: “We now need stability and unity, and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together.”
Behind closed doors Sunak gave his first speech to Tory MPs and told them the Conservative party is facing an “existential threat” and must “unite or die”.
In a bid to heal the wounds exposed since Boris Johnson’s demise, Sunak pledged to return the government to the 2019 manifesto and make tackling the economic crisis his first priority.
Sunak – who quit Johnson’s government as chancellor in July – told MPs his focus will be on “policies not personalities”.
Jeremy Hunt is widely expected to remain as chancellor and deliver a major economic statement about the government’s tax and spending plans on October 31.
Underlining the economic problems Sunak faces is today’s report in the Financial Times that suggests the UK “has fallen into recession during a period of political uncertainty and high energy and borrowing costs.”
A chief consultant at S&P Global Market Intelligence said the data for the UK shows “the economic decline gathering momentum”.
A UK survey of the economy, conducted between October 12 and 20, shows that export sales have plummeted at their fastest rate since spring 2020 and new orders are down at their fastest rate since the start of 2021.
It’s PM Sunak after Penny drops out of race
Sunak replaced Liz Truss in No 10 after his only remaining rival for the leadership, Penny Mordaunt dropped out of from the race to be leader. Johnson’s bid to regain power came to an abrupt end yesterday.
Morduant tweeted today that she was withdrawing from the race just two minutes before the 2pm nomination deadline and said Sunak had her “full support”.
Mordaunt’s failure to garner the support of 100 Conservative MPs has brought about an effective coronation of the prime minister by 357 Tory MPs. It means they avoid a general election while the Conservative party avoids the risk of further reputational damage by avoiding a vote of their 200,000 members.
“Rishi Sunak has been crowned by Tory MPs. It’s a coronation not an election. All without saying a single word about what he’d do as Prime Minister to address this Tory crisis. He has no mandate and the British people have had no say. #GeneralElectionNow”, tweeted Angela Rayner, the Labour party deputy leader.
Sunak to meet king tomorrow
Liz Truss chairs her final cabinet meeting as PM at 9am on Tuesday (October 25) and will make a speech outside No 10 before going to Buckingham Palace to formally resign to the king.
Sunak will be next at the palace, to be appointed PM by Charles III before returning to Downing Street to deliver his speech. He will take over as the UK’s third prime minister of the last two months.
At 42-years-old, Sunak will be the youngest PM in almost 240 years – William Pitt the Younger was just 24 when he became PM in 1783.
Sunak will be the UK’s first PM of colour and the first Hindu to hold the office. Being confirmed today as PM is particularly auspicious for Hindus, Jains and Sikh all over the world as it marks Diwali, the festival of lights celebrations for new beginnings, good triumphing over evil and light over darkness.
BBC suspend newsreader ‘gleeful’ at Johnson’s exit
Meanwhile, a BBC news presenter has been taken off-air for being “gleeful” after Boris Johnson dropped out of the leadership race.
Well this is all very exciting, isn’t it?” said Martine Croxall to viewers, adding: “Am I allowed to be this gleeful? Well I am.”
Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries was among critics on social media complaining the “lack of impartiality” shows “how deep rooted the bias is.”
Croxall laughed at a guest mocking Johnson during the newspapers segment of her programme, saying she “probably shouldn’t” adding: “I’m probably breaking some terrible due impartiality rule by giggling.”
The BBC released a statement on Monday saying BBC News is “urgently reviewing last night’s edition… for a potential breach of impartiality.
“It is imperative that we maintain the highest editorial standards. We have processes in place to uphold our standards, and these processes have been activated.”.
Channel 4 News presenter Krishna Guru-Murthy was suspended last week for making an offensive remark about former Brexit minister, ERG member and current Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker.
Following an off-camera exchange with, Guru-Murthy was caught by a microphone saying: “What a cunt.”