Rishi Sunak becomes British Prime Minister and faces the economic crisis

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak became Britain’s third prime minister of the year on Tuesday and must now focus on tackling an economic crisis that has left the country’s finances in a precarious state and millions of Britons struggling to pay their bills. food and energy.

Altar, Britain’s first color leadermet at Buckingham Palace King Charles III, who had just accepted the resignation of Liz Truss.

Sunak – at 42, Britain’s youngest leader in over 200 years – is expected to start appointing a cabinet immediately and tackling an economy sliding into recession. The third Conservative prime minister this year, he will also try to unite a divisive ruling party after Truss’ short and disastrous tenure weakened Britain’s already difficult economic outlook.

Speaking outside the prime minister’s residence, Sunak acknowledged his predecessor’s mistakes and promised to put “economic stability and confidence” at the heart of his program.

He said he would face the “deep economic crisis” with compassion and lead a government of “integrity, professionalism and accountability”.

Truss left after making a public statement outside the Prime Minister’s office at 10 Downing Street, seven weeks to the day after her appointment as Prime Minister. Sunak was chosen to replace her as leader of the ruling Conservative party on Monday.

Truss offered a defense of her low-tax economic vision and short tenure before being kicked out of the prime minister’s official residence for the final time.

“I’m more convinced than ever that we need to be bold and confront the issues we face,” she said. She stuck to the free-market principles of “cutting taxes” and “producing growth”, despite the market chaos unleashed by her September 23 budget package.

Truss wished Sunak success as Britain continues to “fight through a storm”.

Sunak’s top priorities will be appointing cabinet ministers and preparing a budget statement that outlines how the government plans to find billions of pounds (dollars) to fill a fiscal hole created by soaring inflation and a sluggish economy. , and exacerbated by Truss’ destabilizing economic experiments.

The statement, which is expected to include tax increases and spending cuts, is currently due in Parliament on Monday by Treasury Chief Jeremy Hunt – if Sunak keeps him in office.

Sunak, who himself served as Treasury chief for two years until July, becomes prime minister in a remarkable reversal of fortune just weeks after losing to Truss in a Tory election to replace former prime minister Boris Johnson. Over the summer, party members chose his encouragement to cut taxes over his warnings that inflation must be brought under control.

framework admitted last week that she could not go through with her plans – but only after his attempts sparked market chaos and worsened inflation at a time when millions of Britons were already struggling with soaring borrowing costs and rising energy and food prices food.

The party is now desperately looking for someone to right the ship after months of chaos under Truss and Johnson, who resigned in July after becoming mired in ethics scandals.

Sunak was chosen as the Conservative leader after becoming the only candidate to clear the hurdle of 100 nominations from fellow lawmakers to run for the party. Sunak beat rival Penny Mordaunt, who could get a job in her government, and ousted Johnson, who returned from a vacation in the Caribbean to rally support for a comeback bid, but didn’t get enough support to stand. to present.

As well as stabilizing Britain’s economy, Sunak must try to unite a ruling party that has fallen into acrimony as its polls plunge.

Conservative lawmaker Victoria Atkins, an ally of Sunak, said the party would “settle” under Sunak.

“We all understand that now we really need to support Rishi – and, in all honesty, that’s exactly what the party has done,” she told LBC radio station.

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Follow all AP reporting on British politics at https://apnews.com/hub/british-politics

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