The former Chancellor had previously not made any public comment at all throughout the short Tory leadership race, since Liz Truss resigned on Thursday. The 42-year-old will become Prime Minister, having been elected only by Conservative MPs, during a time of great upheaval at home and abroad.
In a private speech to the 1922 Committee and other Tory backbenchers, Sunak said there would be “no early general election”. However in an 81-second public speech from Conservative Campaign Headquarters, in which he took no questions from the media, he promised he would bring “stability and unity”.
His speech, in full, was: “I would like to pay tribute to Liz Truss for her dedicated public service to the country. She has led with dignity and grace through a time of great change and under exceptionally difficult circumstances both at home and a abroad.
“I am humbled and honoured to have the support of my parliamentary colleagues and to be elected as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party. It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to serve the party I live and to give back to the country I owe so much to.
“The United Kingdom is a great country but there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge. We now need stability and unity and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together.
“Because that is the only way we will overcome the challenges we face and build a better, more prosperous future for our children and our grandchildren. I pledge that I will serve you with integrity and humility, and I will work day in day out for the British people.”
It is not known when Sunak will become Prime Minister. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said a timetable had not yet been decided for the transition of power.
“I can confirm that the transition won’t be taking place today,” the spokesman told reporters.
“Beyond that there are discussions ongoing between the outgoing PM, the incoming PM and the Palace with regards to timetable.”
The spokesman could not confirm whether Rishi Sunak would take Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons on Wednesday. “I can’t be definitive at this point,” the spokesman said.