Rishi Sunak’s ‘first job’ may start Tory ‘civil war’ says Peston
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Rishi Sunak will officially become Prime Minister on October 25, one day after an uncontested internal election handed him the reins of the Conservative Party. The Prime Minister’s office announced he would seek permission from King Charles III to form a Government tomorrow morning, allowing the party to facilitate a handover from Liz Truss’s chaotic but short-lived premiership. But without an express mandate from party members or the public, MPs from within the Tory and opposition ranks have called for a general election.
Will Rishi Sunak call a general election?
Labour has led calls for a general election following Mr Sunak’s appointment, with Angela Rayner and Sir Keir Starmer having advocated for a national vote since Ms Truss resigned.
The SNP, Liberal Democrats and other opposition parties have since followed, along with a small number of Conservative MPs.
Boris Johnson loyalist Nadine Dorries has said a general election is “unavoidable”, as Mr Johnson was the only prospective Tory candidate with a mandate from the people.
Parties to the right of the Tories, such as Reform UK’s Richard Tice, have echoed those demands and warnings.
Mr Tice claimed Mr Sunak was elected by “acclamation”, after members “rejected him” in the last leadership race.
But the new PM’s allies have said the new Prime Minister will not heed these calls.
He has reportedly made it clear to MPs behind closed doors that he will not hold an early election.
Tory MP Simon Hoare has said Mr Sunak will ask the general public to “give us the space and the time” and “more of your patience”.
He added the new Prime Minister would argue that it is “worth [the public’s] time”.
Conservative voters had previously rejected their new leader in September when they chose Ms Truss.
She won 57 percent of the party’s support, while Mr Sunak trailed by 14 points at 43 percent.
The latest contest never went to members, as he was the only candidate to receive the 100 or more nominations required to stand.
In a short victory speech, Mr Sunak pledged to unite the country and Conservative Party.
He said he was “humbled and honoured” to have won the election this afternoon during an address to MPs and party members.
And he expressly thanked his “parliamentary colleagues” more than 100 of whom supported him into office.
But Mr Sunak also warned that the UK faces a “profound economic challenge”.
He said: “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 to deliver for the British people.”
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