Rishi Sunak appointed new Conservative Party leader and prime minister

Rishi Sunak appointed new Conservative Party leader and prime minister
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Tue 25th Oct 2022

The new leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister of the United Kingdom is Rishi Sunak.

The former chancellor secured more than the minimum 100 required nominations from Tory MP in the party leadership contest. The BBC said he had the public support of 193 of his colleagues.

Penny Mordaunt had announced she was also standing as a candidate but pulled out of the race just before Monday's deadline for nominations meaning that Sunak was declared the new leader without the vote having to be put to Conservative Party members.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson decided not to stand saying it was "simply not the right time". He got the public support of 54 MPs according to the BBC although he claimed he had received more than 100 nominations.

Sunak, the third prime minister this year, takes over from Liz Truss who quit after 45 days in the job. He came second to Truss in the previous leadership contest in September.

The MP for Richmond becomes leader amid economic turmoil, rising energy prices and a cost of doing business crisis.

During the leadership campaign in the summer Sunak promised to "deliver tax cuts that drive growth" but "only after we've got a grip of inflation".

Liz Truss and her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced several publicly unfunded tax cuts in a mini-Budget which led to the economic crisis due to the response of the financial markets.

Jeremy Hunt, Kwarteng's replacement as chancellor, reversed most of the tax cuts although the increase to National Insurance, which Sunak announced as chancellor, has been cancelled and will not go ahead.

Hunt is due to give a fiscal plan statement on 31 October.

UPDATE 26/10/22: The government has announced that the fiscal plan statement has been upgraded to a full Autumn Statement and will now take place on 17 November.

The Treasury said it will contain the "UK's medium term fiscal plan to put public spending on a sustainable footing, get debt falling & restore stability".

'Difficult decisions to come'

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street after officially becoming prime minister, Sunak said Liz Truss "was not wrong to want to improve growth...but some mistakes were made".

The prime minister said work to fix those mistakes "begins immediately". He added:

"I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government's agenda. This will mean difficult decisions to come.

"But you saw me during Covid doing everything I could to protect people and businesses with schemes like furlough. There are always limits - more so now than ever. But I promise you this, I will bring that same compassion to the challenges we face today."

Enterprise Nation's reaction to Rishi Sunak as the new prime minister

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said:

"We hope Rishi Sunak's appointment signals an end to the ups and downs in UK politics we've all become used to - and the beginning of a stable focus on the urgent matters at hand.

"Small businesses need confidence and stability to move forward and build. We hope he will continue to demonstrate his support for the community and the key role it plays in economic growth and that this support will be reflected in the Budget next week.”

Which key small business issues do you think new prime minister Rishi Sunak should focus on? Join this group and tell us.

Top image credit: HM Treasury

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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