Rishi Sunak to be next PM as Mordaunt withdraws
Seven years after becoming MP for William Hague’s old seat of Richmond, today Rishi Sunak goes one better than his predecessor and becomes our next Prime Minister.
It was just minutes before the result of the ballot was called, that Penny Mordaunt confirmed that she was pulling out of the leadership election, paving the way for Rishi Sunak to become Conservative leader and therefore Prime Minister.
The writing was on the wall for Mordaunt in the mid afternoon as a large number of her backers either flipped into the Sunak camp, or implored her to pull out, as she simply didn’t have the numbers to compete with the 179 plus public backers that Rishi Sunak had.
In terms of the choreography of this, it is unclear as to how it will work. He is first due to meet with his MPs before today is out to make his case for the new government that he is about to build. It is not expected that he will make any large policy decisions today, however he will have been making a shortlist of his preferred cabinet in recent days, or possibly weeks.
It is intriguing that Sunak has been relatively quiet towards the electorate, with just one post on twitter and Instagram confirming that he will indeed stand, so the public and the media will be expecting him to face the cameras very soon.
Rishi Sunak becomes the first PMoC (Prime Minister of Colour), and indeed he is the first Hindu Prime Minister. This is poignant as today is Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights.
The new Prime Minster has a daunting in-tray facing him as he comes into office, and although he wasn’t billed as a unity candidate, it is hoped that he will be able to get the support that he needs in order to bring the Conservatives together so that they can govern effectively.
At a time where the country is facing a cost of living crisis, soaring import and export costs and the fall-out of former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ mini budget, a large question mark hangs over whether the British public will gain an accountable, front facing government from this vote, and if that instant impact isn’t widely felt, will the Tory knives be out for Rishi as they were for Truss and Johnson?
It has been confirmed that King Charles III will travel from his Sandringham Estate to London this afternoon which means that he should be able to formally receive Liz Truss’ resignation and invite Rishi Sunak to form a government as early as tonight.
Sunak is already coming in for some slack just minutes into the job, as he decides to address his MPs behind closed doors before speaking to the public. Some commentators are saying that ideally, the public need someone to get behind, and that he should be setting his policies out to voters before he sets them out to MPs.
In terms of reaction from the opposing benches, Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party has said: “The Tories have crowned Rishi Sunak without him saying a word about what he would do as PM. He has no mandate, no answers and no ideas. Nobody voted for this.”
As for how long this will last, The Conservatives will be hoping that Rishi is the man to lead them into the next election, however at the moment, two years is a lifetime in politics.