Rishi Sunak took charge as Britain’s first Indian-origin prime minister with a promise to fix “mistakes” and also warning of “difficult decisions”. The address to the nation came after an audience with King Charles III, a day after he was elected the new leader of the Conservative Party in a historic leadership run.
The 42-year-old investment banker-turned politician is the youngest British prime minister in 210 years. He is also Britain’s first Hindu prime minister.
In his first address at the doorstep of 10 Downing Street in London, the new prime minister said that he takes over at a time when the UK is facing a “profound economic crisis” as it deals with the aftermath of Covid and the Russia-Ukraine conflict and asserted that he is “not daunted” by the high office he has accepted and hopes to live up to its demands.
“Some mistakes were made; not borne of ill-will or bad intentions but mistakes nonetheless and I have been elected as leader of my party and your prime minister in part to fix them,” said Sunak, the second prime minister in as many months and the third this year.
“I will unite our country not with words but with action. I will work day in and day out to deliver for you,” he said.
Sunak warned of “difficult decisions to come” and pointed to his record as chancellor of exchequer during the pandemic to promise that he will bring that “same compassion” to the challenges ahead.
“I stand here before you ready to lead our country into the future, to put your needs above politics, to reach out and build a government that represents the very best traditions of my party. Together we can achieve incredible things. We will create a future worthy of the sacrifices so many have made and fill tomorrow and every day thereafter with hope,” he said.
On a somewhat defiant note to the Opposition clamour for a general election, he stressed that the mandate the Conservative Party won in the 2019 general election is not the sole property of one person — with reference to former prime minister Boris Johnson — but “a mandate that belongs to and unites all of us”.
“Congratulations to @RishiSunak on this historic day, this is the moment for every Conservative to give our new PM their full and wholehearted support.” Johnson tweeted.
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