Sunak begins to lead with warning: ‘Tough decisions ahead’

UK Finance Minister and political assassin Jeremy Hunt’s warning that further tax hikes are on the way appears to have been underscored by new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in his first speech to the country, warning against “tough decisions coming”. .

Addressing the country from the steps of Downing Street, his new official residence and political office, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak outlined the intentions of his new government minutes after leaving Buckingham Palace, where he was appointed by the king for almost 40 minutes. long meeting.

Unlike her predecessor Liz Truss, who spoke of a growing economy, Sunak was pessimistic in her speech, speaking of a “deep economic crisis”.

Sunak’s rapid rise to the highest political post in the UK – he only became a Member of Parliament seven years ago – has been guided by Jeremy Hunt, the man some have called the Prime Minister of facto for his brutal and effective takeover of the Truss government. After reversing nearly all of Truss’ planned tax cuts, Hunt said there are tax hikes to come.

Implicitly confirming this, Sunak said from the podium this morning: “I will put economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda. This will mean tough decisions ahead.

Most likely, it will also mean long overdue budget cuts in the state. His remark that ‘the government I lead will not leave the next generation, your children and grandchildren, with a debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves’ strongly suggests he will cut borrowing to fund spending. daily government. , which will certainly mean huge tax hikes, government cuts, or both.

Making a trial of conciliation with those who did not support him in the leadership challenge, Sunak expressed his admiration for his predecessors over the past two months, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, but could not s refrain from criticizing. He said: “Mistakes were made. Not born of bad will or bad intention – quite the contrary in fact. But mistakes nonetheless.

Sunak said he would correct those mistakes, promising compassion but tempering that by remarking, “There are always limits, more than ever.”

Given the considerable discussion in the UK establishment media and social media over the perceived need for a snap election now – not a constitutional necessity in Britain’s Westminster system, where prime ministers are not generally considered to have personal mandates – it’s perhaps unsurprising that Sunak also touched on this topic.

Reflecting on the reality of the UK constitution, Sunak claimed that winning the 2019 general election – which gave the Tories a historic governing majority, not that they had done anything significant with it – was not owned by no one, but was instead tied to the manifesto, which he said he would strive to deliver.

Sunak will now appoint his new government. No new ministers yet, but plenty of sackings and resignations from Westminster with household names from the Johnson era like Jacob Rees-Mogg already out of government.

Read Rishi Sunak’s first speech as Prime Minister:

Hello. I have just been at Buckingham Palace and have accepted His Majesty the King’s invitation to form a government in his name. It is fair to explain why I am standing here as your new Prime Minister.

Our country is currently facing a deep economic crisis. The aftermath of Covid still lingers. Putin’s war in Ukraine has destabilized energy markets and supply chains around the world.

I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Liz Truss. She was not wrong to want to improve the growth of this country, it is a noble objective. I admired his hustle to create change – but some mistakes were made. Not born of bad will or bad intention – quite the contrary in fact. But mistakes nonetheless. And I was elected leader of my party and your prime minister, in part, to fix them. And this work begins immediately. I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s program.

This will mean tough decisions ahead.

But you saw me during Covid doing everything I could to protect people and businesses with schemes like furlough. There are always limits, more than ever. But I promise you, I will bring the same compassion to the challenges we face today. The government I lead will not leave the next generation, your children and grandchildren, with a debt to settle that we were too weak to pay ourselves.

I will unite our country not by words, but by deeds. I will work day after day to deliver to you. This government will demonstrate integrity, professionalism and accountability at all levels. Trust is earned and I will earn yours.

I will always be grateful to Boris Johnson for his incredible achievements as Prime Minister. And I cherish his warmth and generosity of spirit. And I know he would agree that the mandate my party won in 2019 is not the exclusive property of one individual. It is a mandate that belongs to us and unites us all. And the heart of this mandate is our manifesto. I will keep his promise.

A stronger NHS, better schools, safer streets, controlling our borders, protecting our environment, supporting our armed forces, upgrading and building an economy that seizes the opportunities of Brexit , where companies invest, innovate and create jobs.

I understand how difficult this moment is. After the billions of pounds it has cost us to fight Covid, after all the upheaval it has caused in the midst of a terrible war that has to be carried through to its conclusion, I fully appreciate how how difficult things are. And I understand that I have work to do to restore trust after all that has happened.

All I can say is that I am not discouraged. I know the high office I have accepted and I hope to live up to its requirements. But when the opportunity to serve presents itself, you cannot question the timing, only your will.

So, I stand here before you, ready to lead our country into the future, to put your needs above politics, to reach out and build a government that represents the 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 after, with hope. Thanks.


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