Rishi Sunak Resigns As Tory Leader And Prime Minister Following Election Defeat

rishi-sunak

Rishi Sunak apologized to the country after his devastating election loss, acknowledging the voters’ “anger and disappointment” and their desire for change.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street after a disastrous night for the Conservative Party, Sunak confirmed his resignation as prime minister, saying: “To the country, I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry.”

“I have given this job my all, but you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgment that matters.

“I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

He also announced he would step down as Conservative leader once arrangements for selecting his successor were in place. The party is likely to win just over 121 seats, marking its worst result in history.

Sunak congratulated Keir Starmer on Labour’s resounding victory, stating: “In this job, his successes will be all our successes, and I wish him and his family well. Despite our disagreements in this campaign, he is a decent, public-spirited man whom I respect.”

By 11 a.m., with only two constituencies yet to declare results, Labour had secured a massive landslide with more than 410 seats.

Sunak said the Tories now needed to rebuild and take up their “crucial” role in opposition. He also apologized to the party’s candidates and campaigners: “I’m sorry that we could not deliver what your efforts deserved. It pains me to think how many good colleagues who contributed so much to their communities and our country will now no longer sit in the House of Commons.”

He then traveled to Buckingham Palace for his final audience with the king before Starmer formally becomes prime minister.

Reflecting on his legacy, Sunak said he had reduced inflation to the Bank of England’s target of 2%, put mortgage rates on a downward trajectory, and enhanced the UK’s international standing. He cited support for Ukraine and the negotiation of the Windsor Framework on post-Brexit trading arrangements in Northern Ireland.

He thanked his family for their support and sacrifices. After concluding his speech, he walked into a waiting car on Downing Street hand-in-hand with his wife, Akshata Murty.

Sunak became Tory leader in October 2022 without any contest following the implosion of Liz Truss’s 45-day stint in Downing Street. He has pledged to stay on as an MP for the full term of the current parliament.

The Conservatives are now set for a bruising leadership contest, with senior figures such as Kemi Badenoch, Tom Tugendhat, and Robert Jenrick vying to take over.

Several other likely contenders, including Grant Shapps and Penny Mordaunt, were among the 12 cabinet ministers to lose their seats, a record-breaking number. According to analysis by the Institute for Government, a further 24 junior ministers and seven Tory whips were ousted from their constituencies.

The outgoing chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, is likely to play a role in rebuilding the party after he unexpectedly saw off a major challenge from the Liberal Democrats in his Godalming and Ash seat, clinging on by 891 votes.

The Tory chair, Richard Holden, survived by only 20 votes in Basildon and Billericay, an Essex seat his party won with a 20,412 majority in 2019.