Sunak vows to fix Truss 'mistakes', warns of 'economic crisis' in first address as British PM

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Sunak Vows To Fix Truss 'Mistakes', Warns Of 'Economic Crisis' In First Address As British Pm Sunak Vows To Fix Truss 'Mistakes', Warns Of 'Economic Crisis' In First Address As British Pm
Mr Sunak became British prime minister on Tuesday after his predecessor’s chaotic 49 days in office. Photo: PA Images
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Sam Blewett, PA Deputy Political Editor

Britain's new prime minister Rishi Sunak warned the nation is facing a “profound economic crisis” as he pledged to fix the “mistakes” of Liz Truss’s leadership.

The freshly-appointed Conservative leader braced the nation for “difficult decisions to come” as he made his first speech after meeting Britain's King Charles.

Mr Sunak (42) became the UK’s first Hindu PM, the first of Asian heritage and the youngest for more than 200 years.

Britain's King Charles welcomes Rishi Sunak during an audience at Buckingham Palace where he invited the new Tory leader to become prime minister (Aaron Chown/PA)

He was appointed after the kind accepted the resignation of Ms Truss after just 49 days in office, making her the shortest-serving leader in history.

In his speech from Downing Street, Mr Sunak said it was “only right to explain why I’m standing here as your new prime minister”, saying: “Right now our country is facing a profound economic crisis.”

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He said it is the lingering aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and Vladimir Putin’s destabilising war in Ukraine.

Mr Sunak said Ms Truss was “not wrong” to want to drive up growth, describing it as a “noble aim”.

He added: “But some mistakes were made. Not born of ill-will or bad intentions – quite the opposite in fact. But mistakes nonetheless.

“I’ve been elected as leader of my party and your prime minister in part to fix them – and that work begins immediately.”

He vowed to place “economic stability and confidence at the heart of this Government’s agenda”, after the financial chaos triggered by Ms Truss.

“This will mean difficult decisions to come,” he said, but he promised to repeat the “compassion” he showed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Close relationship

Taoiseach Micheál Martin congratulated Mr Sunak on his appointment, adding he looks forward to early engagement with the new prime minister "on the important issues we face on these islands and globally".

"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," Mr Martin said.

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The Taoiseach added: "Building on work already underway, 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."

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