Rishi Sunak has said he has been elected as prime minister to ‘fix’ the mistakes made under Liz Truss’ premiership.
Having been formally appointed by King Charles III on Tuesday, Sunak made his first speech outside No 10 Downing Street as Britain’s new prime minister.
He pledged to put economic stability and confidence at the “heart” of his government’s agenda.
The Conservative Party leader also acknowledged there will need to be “difficult decisions” made amid the economic crisis.
“It is only right to explain why I am standing here as your new prime minister,” said Sunak.
“Right now, our country is facing a profound economic crisis. The aftermath of Covid still lingers, Putin’s war in Ukraine has destabilised energy markets and supply chains the world over.
“I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Liz Truss. She was not wrong to want to improve growth in this country, it is a noble aim.
“And I admired her restlessness to create change. But some mistakes were made.
“Not borne of ill-will or bad intentions, quite the opposite in fact. But mistakes nonetheless.
“And I have been elected as leader of my party and your prime minister, in part, to fix them, and that work begins immediately.”
Sunak pointed to his work as chancellor during the coronavirus pandemic as he vowed to work “day in, day out” to deliver for people across the country.
He continued: “I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda.
“This will mean difficult decisions to come, but you saw me during Covid doing everything I could to protect people and businesses with schemes like furlough.
“There are always limits, more so now than ever, but I promise you this – I will bring that same compassion to the challenges we face today.
“The government I lead will not leave the next generation, your children and grandchildren, with a debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves.
“I will unite our country not with words, but with action. I will work day in, day out, to deliver for you.”
The Prime Minister insisted he will earn the trust of the public.
He said: “This government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level. Trust is earned and I will earn yours.”
Sunak promised that he would deliver on the mandate secured by Boris Johnson in the 2019 general election.
“I will always be grateful to Boris Johnson for his incredible achievements as prime minister and I treasure his warmth and generosity of spirit,” he said.
“And I know he would agree that the mandate my party earned in 2019 is not the sole property of any one individual, it is the mandate that belongs to and unites all of us.
“And the heart of that mandate is our manifesto. I will deliver on its promise – a stronger NHS, better schools, safer streets, control of our borders, protecting our environment, supporting our armed forces, levelling up.
“And building an economy that embraces the opportunities of Brexit where businesses invest, innovate and create jobs.
Sunak said that he understands the work he must do to restore trust.
However, he insisted that he is “not daunted” by the challenge of becoming prime minister.
“I understand how difficult this moment is. After the billions of pounds it cost us to combat Covid, after all the dislocation that caused, in the midst of a terrible war that must be seen successfully to its conclusions, I fully appreciate how hard things are,” said Sunak.
“And I understand too that I have work to do to restore trust after all that has happened.
“All I can say is that I am not daunted. I know the high office that I have accepted and I hope to live up to its demands.
“But when the opportunity to serve comes along, you cannot question the moment, only your willingness.
“So, I stand here before you ready to lead our country into the future, to put your needs above politics, to reach out and build a government that represents the very best traditions of my party.
“Together we can achieve incredible things. We will create a future worthy of the sacrifices so many have made and fill tomorrow and every day thereafter with hope.”
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross described Sunak as a “serious leader for serious times” as he said that he is a tried and tested leader.
He said: “Rishi Sunak was frank and honest about the huge economic challenges the country faces as a result of the global cost-of-living crisis and he didn’t try to sugar-coat the fact that tough economic decisions lie ahead.
“But the country, like the financial markets, can be reassured that our new prime minister is uniquely qualified and will work day and night to steer Scotland and the UK through this tough period.
“Rishi is a tried and tested leader in turbulent economic times and he made it clear he will approach the current economic challenges with the same compassion that we saw from him during the pandemic.
“What came across loud and clear from his address was that our new prime minister is a man of calm authority and integrity who won’t be daunted by the hurdles he faces. Rishi Sunak is a serious leader for serious times.”
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said that Sunak does not have a mandate as he called for a general election.
“As Scotland faces yet another Tory prime minister we didn’t vote for, it’s clearer than ever that independence is the only way to escape the constant crisis of Westminster control,” he said.
“Rishi Sunak is running scared of democracy by refusing to hold an election. He is feart of voters and too afraid to face their verdict after the Tories plunged the UK into economic chaos.”
Blackford added: “No-one voted for this and the Tories have no mandate to impose the devastating cuts they are now planning.”
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