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Rishi Sunak to be next UK Prime Minister

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Rishi Sunak will become the UK’s next prime minister after Conservative leadership rival Penny Mordaunt dropped out of the race at the last minute.

The former chancellor was selected by MPs to succeed Liz Truss as Tory leader and will enter Downing Street less than two months after he lost the last race.

He will be the UK’s third prime minister in seven weeks, after Ms Truss resigned just 44 days into her premiership.

Mr Sunak’s comeback represents a number of symbolic milestones: He will be the UK’s first Hindu prime minister, the first of Asian heritage, and the youngest for more than 200 years at the age of 42.

Several senior Tories have congratulated Mr Sunak and called on the party to unite around him – but Labour has reiterated its calls for an immediate general election.

Sunak will enter No 10 unopposed and avoid an online ballot of the Conservative members that rejected him for Ms Truss last month.

Announcing the results of the leadership race, Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 committee, said the Conservative Party only received one “valid” nomination to be the leader and therefore prime minister, and that was Mr Sunak.

Mr Sunak was runner-up in the last leadership race, securing the highest backing from MPs but losing out to the outgoing prime minister after the vote went to members.

Ms Truss won on a mandate to slash taxes to spark economic growth, but she was forced to row back on almost all of her economic policies after her mini-budget sent the markets into financial turmoil and the pound crashing.

Mr Sunak had called her plans “fairy-tale economics”, and many MPs backing him said he was the right candidate to restore economic credibility.

Conservative MPs are now calling for the party to unite behind the new leader after a divisive few weeks in Westminster.

But opposition MPs are calling for a general election, saying Mr Sunak has no mandate from the public to govern,

Mr Sunak will not officially become prime minister until Ms Truss formally tenders her resignation with King Charles, when he will be invited to form a government.

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