Rishi Sunak plunged the knife in on Liz Truss today pledging to ‘fix’ her ‘mistakes’ after taking over as Britain’s 57th PM.
The incoming premier addressed the nation from Downing Street after being asked to form a government by King Charles in the traditional ‘kissing hands’ ceremony at Buckginham Palace.
In a sombre speech, he warned of ‘difficult’ decisions to deal with the ‘profound economic crisis’ facing the country, saying he ‘understood’ that Britons were suffering. ‘I fully understand how hard things are,’ he added.
In a swipe at Boris Johnson, he said the ‘mandate’ from the 2019 election did not belong to any individual.
‘I stand here before you ready to lead our country into the future. Ready to put your needs before politics,’ he said.
Earlier, Liz Truss hailed her ‘significant achievements’ as she gave her farewell remarks outside No10 – sealing her fate as the shortest-serving PM ever.
Watched by husband Hugh, her two daughters, staff and ministers, Ms Truss made a defiant valedictory speech in Downing Street – with little hint of emotion and no apology.
She said it had been a ‘huge honour to lead the country’. ‘In just a short period this government has acted urgently and decisively… we helped millions of households with their energy bills,’ she said.
Earlier, she gathered her Cabinet one last time, telling them they could boast of ‘significant achievements’ and had been in charge at a ‘vital moment in the history of our country’.
In an uncompromising message despite the market carnage caused by the mini-Budget, she added that ‘lower taxes’ are needed and the country cannot be ‘low growth’.
‘I believe in Britain… I know that brighter days lie ahead,’ she added.
Ms Truss, again accompanied by her family, then went to see the King at Buckingham Palace and formally resigned.
Friends say she will ‘take a break’ from politics, having passed the torch to a politician she soundly defeated in the previous Tory leadership campaign just seven weeks ago.
The ignominious departure comes as Mr Sunak gears up for a dramatic day as he faces a hellish in-tray, with more evidence of soaring inflation and a £40billion black hole in the public finances.
The new PM will give his own address to the nation from outside No10 this morning, and turn his mind to forming his first Cabinet.
Aides have insisted Mr Sunak will create a ‘big tent’ rather than only promoting his allies as Ms Truss did. Jeremy Hunt is almost certain to stay on as Chancellor, a week before the crucial Halloween Budget and after the markets calmed somewhat, while Grant Shapps could hang on to the Home Office.
But he is expected to find a big job for leadership rival Penny Mordaunt, as well as right-wingers such as Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch. There could also be returns for Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, and former education secretary Gavin Williamson.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who backed Ms Truss over the summer and then Boris Johnson’s abortive comeback bid over the weekend, is likely to make way – possibly for Ms Mordaunt.
An early area of tension will be military spending, with respected Defence Secretary Ben Wallace seen as at risk after Mr Sunak refused to commit to increasing budgets to 3 per cent of GDP by 2030.
The new premier told MPs yesterday that he wanted his government to represent the ‘views and opinions’ from across the Conservative Party.