Rishi Sunak warned the nation is facing a “profound economic crisis” as he pledged to fix the “mistakes” of Liz Truss’s leadership in his first speech as Prime Minister.
The freshly-appointed Conservative leader braced the nation for “difficult decisions to come” as he made his first speech after meeting the King.
Sunak, 42, became the UK’s first Hindu PM, the first of Asian heritage and the youngest for more than 200 years. He was appointed Prime Minister by the King after Charles accepted the resignation of Ms Truss after just 49 days in office, making her the shortest-serving leader in history.
In his speech from Downing Street, Sunak said it was “only right to explain why I’m standing here as your new Prime Minister”, saying: “Right now our country is facing a profound economic crisis.”
He said it is the lingering aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and Vladimir Putin’s destabilising war in Ukraine. Sunak said Ms Truss was “not wrong” to want to drive up growth, describing it as a “noble aim”, but added that “some mistakes were made”.
Here is Rishi Sunak’s first speech as Prime Minister in full.
Everything Rishi Sunak said in his first speech as PM
“I’ve just been to Buckingham Palace and accepted His Majesty the King’s invitation to form a government in his name. It is only right to explain why I’m standing here as your new Prime Minister.
“Right now, our country is facing a profound economic crisis. The aftermath of Covid still lingers. Putin’s war in Ukraine has destabilised energy markets and supply chains the world over. I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Liz Truss. She was not wrong to want to improve growth in this country – it is a noble aim.
“I admired her restlessness to create change – but some mistakes were made. Not born of ill-will or bad intention – quite the opposite in fact. But mistakes, nonetheless. And I have been elected as leader of my party and your Prime Minister, in part, to fix them. And that work begins immediately.
“I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda. This will mean difficult decisions to come. But you saw me during Covid doing everything I could to protect people and businesses with schemes like furlough. There are always limits, more so now than ever. But I promise you this, I will bring that same compassion to the challenges we face today.
“The government I lead will not leave the next generation, your children and grandchildren, with a debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves. I will unite our country not with words, but with action. I will work day-in and day-out to deliver for you. This government will have integrity, professionalism, and accountability at every level. Trust is earned and I will earn yours.
“I will always be grateful to Boris Johnson for his incredible achievements as prime minister. And I treasure his warmth and generosity of spirit. And I know he would agree that the mandate my party earned in 2019 is not the sole property of any one individual. It is a mandate that belongs to and unites all of us. And the heart of that mandate is our manifesto.
“I will deliver on its promise. A stronger NHS, better schools, safer streets, control of our borders, protecting our environment, supporting our Armed Forces, levelling up and building an economy that embraces the opportunities of Brexit, where businesses invest, innovate, and create jobs.
“I understand how difficult this moment is. After the billions of pounds it cost us to combat Covid, after all the dislocation that caused in the midst of a terrible war that must be seen successfully to its conclusions, I fully appreciate how hard things are.
“And I understand to that I have work to do to restore trust after all that has happened. 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. But when the opportunity to serve comes along, you cannot question the moment, only your willingness.
“So, 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. Thank you.”