The former chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has been declared leader of the Conservative Party after becoming the only candidate to officially win the backing of 100 Tory MPs. Mr Sunak now looks set to become Britain’s 57th prime minister later this week following the collapse of Liz Truss’s brief premiership.
Boris Johnson withdrew from the leadership contest on Sunday, and many of the cabinet ministers who had previously backed Mr Johnson shifted their position to endorse Mr Sunak. The other candidate, Penny Mordaunt, dropped out just before the 2pm deadline today.
It is a remarkable chain of events. Just seven weeks after Rishi Sunak lost the leadership election to Liz Truss, he has now won the support of more than half of Conservative MPs. Many of his supporters are saying his strategy of fiscal caution has now been vindicated, but there is no doubt that he faces a number of very serious economic issues.
King Charles is now heading back to London from Sandringham and will have an audience with Mr Sunak at Buckingham Palace to formally invite him to become Prime Minister later this week. There will also be an audience with Liz Truss as the outgoing PM.
Rishi Sunak will now need to work fast to appoint his cabinet, settle the recent chaos in the Conservative Party and clarify his economic strategy. It is understood he is not in favour of having a general election in the short term. In his first public statement as incoming Prime Minister, Mr Sunak said he recognised the profound economic challenges the country faces, and that he will serve with integrity and humility to bring the party and the country together.
The current chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, is expected to remain in post and will deliver the Medium-Term Fiscal Plan on 31 October. This statement will, Mr Hunt has said, be ‘pretty much’ a full budget, and that ‘…we’re going to be talking about tax, we’re going to be talking about medium and long-term plans.’ The government is now under intense pressure to deliver a credible plan to restore confidence in the economy; higher mortgage rates, energy bills and rising inflation are just some of the issues that will need to be tackled.
We will be releasing more details about the Medium-Term Fiscal Plan and how this will affect you and your business following the announcements.