New prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has said the United Kingdom is facing a “profound economic crisis”. Mr. Sunak made the comment during his first speech as prime minister outside 10 Downing Street shortly before midday on Tuesday.
Mr. Sunak saw off challenges from former prime minister, Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt to be elected the new leader of the Conservative party by the parliamentary party (MPs) on Monday afternoon. Mr. Sunak is the first person of colour and of Hindu faith to become prime minister.
“I fully appreciate how hard things are and I understand too that I have work to do to restore trust after all that has happened,” he said. “All I can say is that I am not daunted. I know the high office I have accepted and I hope to live up to its demands.”
Mr. Sunak added: “But when the opportunity to serve comes along, you cannot question the moment, only your willingness. So, I stand here before you ready to lead our country into the future.”
He continued: “To put your needs above politics, to reach out and build a Government that represents the very best traditions of my party. Together, we can achieve incredible things. We will create a future worthy of the sacrifices so many have made and fill tomorrow, and every day thereafter, with hope.”
Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister), Micheál Martin, was one of the first to congratulate Mr. Sunak on becoming prime minister and used it as an opportunity to remind the British government of its promise to uphold and protect the Good Friday Agreement.
“The close relationship between our two countries is built on shared history, deep cultural and economic ties, and strong people-to-people links. Our shared responsibility as joint stewards of the Good Friday Agreement, working together in partnership, is vital to support peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland, particularly now in the absence of a properly functioning Assembly and Executive.
“Building on work already under way, there is a real opportunity for the EU and UK to find jointly agreed solutions on the issues pertaining to the protocol, and I urge Prime Minister Sunak to move quickly to substantive engagement with the EU on that basis. I am committed to a strong and deep British-Irish relationship and I look forward to early engagement with Prime Minister Sunak on the important issues we face on these islands and globally.”