London, Oct 25 (EFE).- Rishi Sunak on Tuesday said he would prioritize economic stability but forewarned of “difficult decisions” as he took over as the United Kingdom’s prime minister, the country’s third in two months.
“I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda. This will mean difficult decisions to come,” the ruling Conservative Party’s new leader said in a national address delivered outside Downing Street, his official residence in central London.
Sunak, 42, the first Hindu and person of color to become the UK’s prime minister, inherits an economy on the verge of recession and a party cleft apart by ideological differences.
“Right now our country is facing a profound economic crisis,” he said, adding that he would face the challenges with the “compassion” he showed during his time as chancellor of the exchequer – the UK equivalent to a finance minister – during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, a period when he rose to public prominence under Boris Johnson.
“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.”
Sunak paid a brief tribute to his predecessor Liz Truss, saying her intention to promote economic growth in the UK was a “noble aim” but that her government had made “mistakes.”
Truss formalized her resignation Tuesday morning in a meeting with King Charles III.
She became the shortest serving prime minister in UK history, stepping down just seven weeks after she was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II two days before the monarch’s death.
Sunak also thanked his former boss Johnson for his “incredible achievements” and his “warmth and generosity of spirit.”
International leaders congratulated Sunak on his rise to power.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: “In these testing times for our continent, we count on a strong relationship with the U.K. to defend our common values, in full respect of our agreements.”
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who had a close relationship with Johnson in the wake of Russia’s invasion, said he was ready to continue building the British-Ukrainian relationship.
The UK’s new prime minister took to the helm of the Conservative Party on Monday after running uncontested in a leadership race – his closest rival Penny Mordaunt withdrew just before the deadline.
In August, he lost a leadership battle to Liz Truss when the process was handed over to a vote by Conservative Party members.
He is expected to appear in front of MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday morning.
In July, Sunak was one of the heavyweight cabinet members to quit Johnson’s government as it reeled from scandals linked to illegal lockdown parties, culminating in the erstwhile PM announcing his resignation, which he formalized in early September.
Sunak and Johnson were both fined by police for breaching lockdown rules. EFE