British Prime Minister Sunak steps down as Conservative Party leader after historic defeat

Sunak during his farewell speech at 10 Downing Street.

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Rishi Sunak is stepping down as leader of the Conservative Party. He has just said so in a speech at 10 Downing Street, and Sunak will remain party leader for the time being, so that his party has time to arrange his succession.

The Conservatives suffered a historic election defeat. According to the latest BBC count, the party now has 121 seats, the worst result in the party’s 200-year history. With 412 seats, Labour has enough to secure an outright majority.

Sunak began his speech by saying he was about to go to King Charles to resign as prime minister. He then expressed his regret for “the country”.

Sunak: “I’m sorry. I did everything I could, but you sent a clear message that the government must change. I have heard your anger and disappointment, and I take responsibility for that loss.”

This is Sunak’s farewell speech:

This is British Prime Minister Sunak’s farewell speech

Sunak then announced that he would step down as party leader and therefore not enter parliament as leader of the opposition. After his speech, Sunak left 10 Downing Street alongside his wife Akshata Murthy.

After his short speech, he and his wife left for Buckingham Palace to formally tender his resignation to King Charles. Buckingham Palace issued a press release shortly after Sunak’s visit announcing that the King had accepted Sunak’s resignation.

The order of succession to Sunak will be a difficult task for the Conservatives. Leaders who could succeed him, such as Penny Mordaunt, Steve Baker and Grant Shapps, have all lost elections in their areas and therefore their seats.

After his speech, Sunak left 10 Downing Street:

Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street for the last time

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