New UK prime minister Rishi Sunak warns ‘difficult decisions to come’ - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER

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New UK prime minister Rishi Sunak warns ‘difficult decisions to come’

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Rishi Sunak warned of “difficult decisions to come” as he became the UK’s second unelected prime minister in seven weeks on Tuesday, promising to “fix” the economic mess which he blamed in part on his predecessor.

The former UK finance minister, who replaces Liz Truss after a “mini-budget” that sparked turmoil in financial markets, admitted starkly that “mistakes were made” by his Conservative party colleague.

“I have been elected leader of my party and your prime minister in part to fix them,” he said, speaking in an address after his appointment by King Charles III.

The elevation of Sunak, the first person of colour to head a UK government and the youngest prime minister for more than 200 years, comes after the latest bloodletting among Conservative MPs, which is trailing the opposition Labour party amid a financial squeeze that has seen a jump in mortgage costs and plunging investor confidence in Britain.

Sunak, a former banker and the richest politician in parliament, emerged on Monday as the victor in a Conservative leadership race among MPs to succeed Truss after rivals dropped out.

They included the former prime minister Boris Johnson, whose government was brought down earlier this year after losing the confidence of MPs and ministers, including Sunak, amid a series of scandals.

Standing in front of his Downing Street office just over an hour after an unapologetic resignation speech from Liz Truss, Sunak said he was elected by MPs as Britain faced a “profound economic crisis” amid the lingering aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the destabilisation of markets and energy supply chains caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Paying tribute to Truss, he said the mistakes that had been made were not “born of ill will or bad intentions” but happened despite her “noble aim” of wanting to improve UK economic growth, which has long been sluggish.

“I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda. This will mean difficult decisions to come,” he said, in a likely reference to expected cuts in public expenditure.

Appealing to public-facing rising energy and food prices, Sunak said he fully appreciated how hard things were for many people.

“All I can say is that I am not daunted. I know the high office I have accepted and I hope to live up to its demands,” he said.

Seeking to contrast himself with Truss, on course to rack up huge borrowing bills to pay for swingeing tax cuts before she was forced into an almighty U-turn on her economic agenda, Sunak said he would “not leave the next generation … with a debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves”.

He also delivered a riposte to another predecessor and his loyalists in the party by saying the mandate the Conservatives were handed at the 2019 general election, won by former prime minister Boris Johnson, was not the property of one individual and he would be guided by its promises.

“I will unite our country not with words but with actions,” he said. “This government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level. Trust is earned, and I will earn yours.”

Despite calls by the opposition for Britain to be allowed a general election, Sunak has reportedly ruled out imminently calling a public vote, which is scheduled to be held no later than January 2025.

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