Rishi Sunak makes first statement since winning race to be prime minister but will not take over at No 10 today – UK politics live | Conservative leadership

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Sunak promises to serve ‘with integrity and humility’ as he says UK faces ‘profound economic challenge’

Rishi Sunak starts by paying tribute to Liz Truss for her leadership, saying she served “under exceptionally difficult circumstances”.

He is humbled to have been elected leader of the Conservative and Unionist party, he says. It is the greatest privilege of his life “to be able to serve the party I love and give back to the country I owe so much to”, he says. He goes on:

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, to deliver for the British people.

That barely counted as a speech. Sunak’s delivery was wooden, and the content did not really rise above cliche. But his tribute to Truss was generous, and his reference to “integrity and humility” suggest that he is still keen to show that he marks a departure from Boris Johnson, as well as from Truss too.

Sunak to give first public comments since becoming Tory leader and next PM

Rishi Sunak is about to give a speech on camera at Tory HQ. These will be his first public comments, not just since becoming prime minister designate (he won’t take over until tomorrow at the earlier) but since Liz Truss resigned. He got elected Tory leader this time without making any public speeches, or giving any interviews, at all.

In normal circumstances that would be a democratic outrage, but the process was truncated, and Sunak and his policy agenda, were subject to extensive coverage during the last Tory leadership contest in the summer.

But of course quite a lot has changed since then. It would have been good to have heard him discuss the mini-budget, and the economic crisis it provoked.

All we got was this message.

The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis.

That’s why I am standing to be Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister.

I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country. pic.twitter.com/BppG9CytAK

— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 23, 2022

Sunak will not take over as PM today, No 10 says

At the afternoon lobby briefing, Downing Street said the handover of power from Liz Truss to Rishi Sunak would not happen today. It is expected to happen tomorrow, although the PM’s spokesperson would not even confirm that.

What Sunak told Tory MPs in his first speech to them as Tory leader

Jessica Elgot

Jessica Elgot

Simon Hoare, a long-time Rishi Sunak supporter, has given more details of Sunak’s speech to Tory MPs where he told them the party faced “an existential threat”. (See 3.37pm.)

“[Sunak] said we could not pretend the last few weeks and months had been easy or edifying or helpful,” said Hoarer. He went on:

We are going back to serious, pragmatic traditions of Conservative government. The message we heard was about going forward – as a party and a government this is about the future and shaping the future. We cannot rewrite history. We will play the hand we have got, but it is not an inevitable threat we face.

Sunak told MPs his ambition was to have a “highly productive UK economy”, stressing a commitment to levelling up and the pledges of the 2019 manifesto. He said the party backed “low taxation” but said it had to be affordable and deliverable.

He said a stable and productive economy would be the engine that drove a well-funded health and education service, as well as delivering on net zero carbon emissions and said it would be an “environmentally focused government”.

Sunak said there would be “no early election” though he said opposition parties would inevitably clamour for one. He said he would ask the British people for space and time to resolve the problems the country is facing.

There was no commitment to spending cuts, but Sunak said it would be a “tough period” for the government. Stressing a need for stability, MPs said they inferred that Sunak would ask Jeremy Hunt to stay on as chancellor. “Time is not on our side, we have no time to lose,” Hoare said.

Iain Duncan Smith, a prominent backer of both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, said it was right that a decision had been made quickly. He said:

There is no more messing around, it is time to end the psychodrama and get on with governing. He [Sunak] said it was time to end personality politics. He knows now we have to deliver what we promise. His first priority is to stabilise the economy and get that moving, then all the other things we promise to do, make the most of Brexit, levelling up in left-behind areas.

Rishi Sunak posing with fellow Tories outside CCHQ.
Rishi Sunak posing with fellow Tories outside CCHQ. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA

The former prime minister Theresa May said Rishi Sunak has her “full support”.

In a tweet which might be taken as an implicit criticism of the alternative scenario – in which Boris Johnson was back at Downing Street – she adding that Sunak will provide the “calm, competent, pragmatic leadership” the UK needs.

Congratulations @RishiSunak on becoming Leader of the Conservative Party.

Rishi will provide the calm, competent, pragmatic leadership our country needs at this deeply challenging time. He has my full support.

— Theresa May (@theresa_may) October 24, 2022

Action for Children, a charity that protects and supports vulnerable children and young people, has urged Rishi Sunak to prioritise the 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK.

The charity added:

The simplest way to do this is for the prime minister to stand by his promise earlier this year, to keep benefits in line with inflation.

Rishi Sunak has just arrived at Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ), where he was filmed hugging and shaking hands with Conservative officials and MPs waiting for him.

He was greeted with cheers and applause, but went inside without making any public comments. We’re still waiting for him to say anything in public despite now being the prime minister in waiting.

However, a lectern has been erected inside CCHQ, so we’re expecting him to speak shortly.

Sunak arriving at CCHQ to thunderous cheers, hugs, kisses and high fives – it’s fair to say your average Conservative MP seems almost overcome with relief at avoid another week of tearing each other apart.

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) October 24, 2022

Sunak: Conservative party faces ‘existential threat’

Sunak warned MPs in that meeting a little earlier that the Conservative party was facing an “existential threat,” according to the Guardian’s deputy political editor, Jessica Elgot.

Sunak told Tory MPs the party was facing an “existential threat.” He said the party could win the next election by uniting and being honest with the electorate on tough decisions – and returning to core values like fiscal discipline

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) October 24, 2022

Sunak rule out early election – reports

Rishi Sunak has told Conservative MPs that there will not be an early general election.

The new Tory leader addressed MPs in the Commons after the 1922 Committee announced he was the only candidate in a condensed leadership contest.

We’re now waiting for Sunak to appear in public as Tory activists and MPs are gathering outside of Conservative Party Central Office.

Broadcast interviews have been halted by security inside Westminster’s central lobby after a sit-in protest by Greenpeace UK activists took place.

The group said that more than 30 activists had occupied parliament. It added on Twitter: “While the government is in chaos, almost 7 million people are facing fuel poverty.”

“We need the next government to deliver a proper windfall tax to insulate homes and keep people warm this winter.”

“We’re mid way through an interview.. excuse me” Sky News @joncraig tells security as they try to bring things to a halt after a sit-in protest started inside Westminster
Interview halted now pic.twitter.com/iLTNC5Kx5O

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) October 24, 2022

Greepeace said campaigners from Greenpeace and Fuel Poverty Action entered the Palace of Westminster as tourists and visitors and were occupying the central lobby, linking arms, reading testimonies from people struggling with bills and unfurled a banner reading “chaos costs lives”.

Greenpeace UK’s co-executive director, Will McCallum, said:

Rishi Sunak should have realised by now the huge mistake he made by blocking plans for warmer homes and failing to properly tax fossil fuel giants. People need permanently lower bills and a safe climate, and that means more renewable energy, more financial support, a nationwide street-by-street insulation programme, and a proper tax on the energy profiteers to pay for it.

Ruth London, from Fuel Poverty Action, called for support for their “energy for all” proposal, giving each household enough free energy to cover basics such as heating, cooking and lighting, paid for windfall taxes, ending fossil fuel subsidies and higher prices for excess energy use.

Here’s the moment when the protestors took up their positions

There’s a sit-in protest by Greenpeace going on in Central Lobby right now

Here’s the moment it happened live on @SkyNews, while they were mid-interview with Rebecca Pow and Laura Farris

A policeman then came over to try to stop them from filming pic.twitter.com/OM07uHpApQ

— Eleanor Langford (@eleanormia) October 24, 2022

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