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Live updates: Rishi Sunak becomes British Prime Minister


“Some mistakes were made.

With this four-word missive in his first speech as prime minister, Rishi Sunak made it clear that he wanted to distance himself as much as possible from his politically radioactive predecessor, Liz Truss.

It was an unusually blunt assessment from his colleague, but it’s clear to see why Sunak wants to portray himself as (yet another) new face for Britain. Truss’ tenure has wreaked havoc on Britain’s economy, and Sunak has cast himself as the man to balance the books and bring stability to the country.

He will begin that task later on Tuesday when he begins naming his cabinet. Some expect an olive branch for those on the party’s right wing, but Sunak must balance unity with harmony after yet another period of chaos in Downing Street.

It also remains to be seen whether the economic debate within the Conservative Party is truly settled.

In her own 416-word farewell speech — eight words for each day she served as leader — Liz Truss omitted any apologies for the impact of her budget plan.

Instead, Truss tried one last time to defend his vision. ‘We simply cannot afford to be a low-growth country where the government takes an increasing share of our national wealth,’ Truss said, calling for ‘lower taxes’ and a focus on growth .

Truss may seek to put what’s left of her political capital to good use by becoming an outspoken backbench MP. Sunak also has to deal with the continued presence of his rival, Boris Johnson, and the considerable appeal he still holds within the party. And he must fend off calls for a general election from a Labor party that is soaring in the polls after a year of crisis at the helm of the ruling group.

With potential enemies on all sides and economic headwinds on the horizon, some might wonder why Sunak even wants the job.

But “when the opportunity to serve comes, you can’t question the timing, only your will,” Sunak said outside Downing Street.

This will could be put to the test in the months to come. For now, however, Sunak has landed the job he coveted on the second attempt, on a historic day for Britain.

Read more about Sunak’s nomination here.

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