Ahead of becoming the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak Monday said that Tory MPs face “an existential threat” unless they can win back the people’s trust, and have got only one chance to do so, British media reported.
In what is being reported as his first words as the Conservative Party leader, Sunak said their focus should be on “policies not personalities”. He also ruled out an early election, The Independent reported, quoting senior Conservative MP Simon Hoare, who heard his speech.
Hoare said he believed the de facto budget planned for next Monday would go ahead.
“He (Sunak) said we are facing an existential threat — but it is not an existential threat that is inevitable,” Hoare was quoted as saying, while speaking to the media.
“He said we have one shot to get it right, to restore faith and trust in British politics – and there will be no second chances.”
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According to the report, Sunak addressed Conservative MPs, including former PM Boris Johnson, in a packed committee room half an hour after it was announced that he would succeed Liz Truss.
During the address, Sunak also stressed the need for “sustainable growth” after Liz Truss’s mini Budget crashed the economy.
He reiterated his commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by the legal deadline of 2050 and to only cutting taxes when the economy and public finances allow.
His leadership was confirmed after Penny Mordaunt also withdrew from the race, after Johnson, as she failed to gather the 100 nominations that she required for the contest.
Quoting government sources, the Independent report said Sunak is likely to meet King Charles III and take over as PM on Tuesday, though a handover late Monday is also possible.
While announcing his plans to run for the PM post last week, Sunak said he wanted to “fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country”.
In an accompanying vision statement, the former finance minister highlighted his track record of serving in the Boris Johnson Cabinet, helping to steer the economy through the toughest of times during the Covid pandemic.
“The challenges we face now are even greater. But the opportunities – if we make the right choice – are phenomenal. I have the track record of delivery, a clear plan to fix the biggest problems we face and I will deliver on the promise of the 2019 manifesto,” he had said in the statement.