Rishi Sunak insists Tory party now 'united' during first public visit as PM

Rishi Sunak made the comments as he visited Croydon University Hospital on Friday

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Rishi Sunak has insisted that the Tory party is now “united”, during his first public visit as Prime Minister at Croydon University Hospital.

During a visit to a hospital in south London, the Prime Minister was asked by reporters whether the instability of recent weeks has anything to do with Brexit or whether there was an ongoing “civil war” within the Conservatives.

“I am confident that our party is united. It is united behind delivering on the promise of the manifesto that we were elected on, with very strong support, in 2019.

“What does that manifesto say? It says we want to have a stronger NHS, that we want safer streets, that we want better schools, that we want to protect our borders and that we want to level up the economy across our country.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak was officially appointed Prime Minister earlier this week
Rishi Sunak was officially appointed Prime Minister earlier this week

“That is what unites and excites all Conservatives, that is what excites me, and that is what I want to deliver for the people of this country.”

While Mr Sunak, who was officially declared Prime Minister on Tuesday, declined to deny suggestions officials warned him against reappointing Suella Braverman as Home Secretary and said she “raised” the issue with him before giving her the job.

Mr Sunak: “The Home Secretary has acknowledged the mistake, she’s recognised she made a mistake, she’s taken accountability for that and that’s the right thing.

“Now, as I said in Parliament earlier this week, she raised this topic with me when I discussed reappointing her as Home Secretary and I’m confident that she’s learned from her mistake.”

He insisted he does not regret the appointment, saying: “No, as I have said, she’s accepted her mistake and learned from it, and I’m confident of that.”

During the visit, the former Chancellor also promised to put “fairness at the heart” of the “difficult decisions” the Government will be making as he seeks to plug a multi-billion pound black hole in the nation’s finances.

He continued: “I acknowledged that mistakes have been made and part of why I’m now Prime Minister is my job is to fix them – and I’m confident that we can.

“The Chancellor has already said of course difficult decisions are going to have to be made. And I’m going to sit down and work through those with him.

“But what I want everyone to know is that we need to do these things so that we can get our borrowing and debt back on a sustainable path.

“That’s important because it means that we can get a grip of inflation. If we do that, it means we can limit as best as possible the increase in interest rates, which is important.

“But as we do that, I want people to be reassured, we will always do it with fairness at the heart, we will protect the most vulnerable and ensure that we can continue to grow the economy in the long run.”