Rishi Sunak to be next Prime Minister as Penny Mordaunt drops out of race

Rishi Sunak overcame the competition from Penny Mordaunt, while Boris Johnson ruled himself out of the running on Sunday

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Rishi Sunak is to be the new Prime Minister after Penny Mordaunt dropped out of the Tory leadership race.

Ms Mordaunt announced that she had pulled out of the race just minutes before 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady was due to announce the nominations.

Mr Sunak will address the Conservative Parliamentary Party at 2.30pm this afternoon in a Commons committee room, Sir Graham confirmed.

The Committee chairman said that the new Tory leader will speak to MPs in Committee Room 14 later this afternoon.

Rishi Sunak is to be the next PM
Rishi Sunak is to be the next PM

The King will be travelling to London this afternoon, as previously planned, from the private royal estate of Sandringham, it is understood.

But it appears unlikely Charles will host audiences at Buckingham Palace during Monday to accept the resignation of outgoing Prime Minister Ms Truss and appoint her successor Mr Sunak.

After announcing she was pulling out, Ms Mordaunt said Mr Sunak had her “full support” as she dropped out of the contest to become the next prime minister.

She said: “These are unprecedented times. Despite the compressed timetable for the leadership contest it is clear that colleagues feel we need certainty today.

“They have taken this decision in good faith for the good of the country.

Penny Mordaunt pulled out of the race shortly before 2pm on Monday
Penny Mordaunt pulled out of the race shortly before 2pm on Monday

“Members should know that this proposition has been fairly and thoroughly tested by the agreed 1922 process.

“As a result, we have now chosen our next prime minister.”

Speaking following the announcement, London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Politics aside, I want to congratulate Rishi Sunak on making history today as Conservative leader and soon to be prime minister.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Mr Sunak to call an early general election.

She tweeted: “Congratulations to @RishiSunak, I wish him well and, notwithstanding our political differences, will do my best to build a constructive working relationship with him in the interests of those we serve.

“That he becomes the first British Asian, indeed the first from any minority ethnic background, to become PM is a genuinely significant moment. It certainly makes this a special #Diwali.

“As for the politics, I’d suggest one immediate decision he should take and one he certainly should not. He should call an early general election. And he should not, must not, unleash another round of austerity. Our public services will not withstand that.

“For Scotland, of course, he becomes another PM we did not and, without doubt would not vote for even if given the chance. To escape the damage of Westminster governments with no mandate here, and take our future into our own hands, Scotland needs independence.”

Former prime minister David Cameron said on Twitter: “Huge congratulations @RishiSunak on becoming PM to lead us through challenging times.

“I predicted a decade ago that @Conservatives would select our first Brit Indian PM & proud today that comes to be.

“I wish Rishi the v best, he has my wholehearted support.”

Mr Sunak became the firm frontrunner to be the next Prime Minister after Mr Johnson ended his comeback bid on Sunday and rival Ms Mordaunt battled to win sufficient support from Tory MPs.

Mr Sunak, a former chancellor, swiftly hit the threshold of 100 nominations from Conservative colleagues ahead of the deadline of 2pm on Monday before commanding the public support of about half the parliamentary party.

Ms Mordaunt appeared far behind but allies insisted they are “confident” she will hit the target, which would see the Commons Leader face off against Mr Sunak in an online ballot of Tory party members.

But after failing, Mr Sunak has now effectively received a “coronation” from Conservative MPs and quickly succeed Liz Truss as prime minister – seven weeks after he lost out to her in the last contest.