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Rishi Sunak set to be UK’s next prime minister

Rishi Sunak set to be UK’s next prime minister

What’s next for Britain’s Rishi Sunak? The new leader’s first days

  • Rishi Sunak will take power in a Tuesday morning audience with King Charles
  • Britain’s fifth prime minister in six years will then start appointing his top team
Britain’s incoming prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has been named the new leader of the Conservative Party after a truncated leadership contest following Liz Truss’s resignation.

The former chancellor won the race on Monday when rival Penny Mordaunt failed to win the backing of enough lawmakers and after former prime minister Boris Johnson ditched his own comeback attempt.

While exact timings might change, here is a look at how the handover of power will unfold.

Tuesday, October 25

Truss, who stepped down last week after only six weeks in office, is set to hold a farewell meeting with her Cabinet at 9am (4pm Hong Kong time), Downing Street said.

She will then step out and make a statement outside the famous black door of No 10 at around 10.15am.

Truss will then take a short car ride from Downing Street to Buckingham Palace for an audience with the king, in which she will formally tender her resignation.

44 days as PM nets Truss a US$129,000 yearly stipend … for life

Once she has left, it is Sunak’s turn to see the king at the palace. He will be appointed as the country’s next prime minister and asked to form an administration.

Sunak will then head back to Downing Street to address the nation for the first time as prime minister at around 11.35am.

It is customary for the new prime minister to be greeted by the Cabinet secretary at the door of No 10 and get clapped in by staff before heading into the Cabinet Room to receive security and intelligence briefings from civil servants.

Sunak will be handed the nuclear codes and write “letters of last resort” to commanders of submarines carrying Trident nuclear missiles with orders on what to do if the government has been wiped out in a nuclear attack.

He is likely to use the rest of the day to start putting together his new Cabinet as he seeks to fix a fractured party.

Veteran Westminster watchers have started to speculate about who will take the top spots in his Cabinet, with Jeremy Hunt potentially staying on as chancellor of the exchequer in the name of stability, Dominic Raab expected to make a return to Cabinet, and Mordaunt tipped for a promotion.

Sunak could also start receiving calls from world leaders wishing him well in the new job.

New leader of Britain’s Conservative Party Rishi Sunak arrives at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters, in London, on Monday. Photo: Reuters

Wednesday, October 26

Sunak is set to face Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during his first Prime Minister’s Questions at noon.

He is likely to continue his reshuffle and receive more calls from international leaders as he starts working through his in-tray. He faces a daunting set of challenges, exacerbated by the chaotic legacy left by Truss, including turbulent financial markets and industrial unrest.

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Monday, October 31

This is the date set by Truss and Chancellor Hunt for the highly anticipated Halloween financial statement setting out how the government intends to get the public finances back on track.

It remains to be seen whether Sunak will opt to stick to this timetable.

Hunt has warned of “eye-wateringly difficult” decisions ahead on tax and spending. Sunak, who has emphasised the need for financial stability, may take a broadly similar approach.


Sunak is expected to make his first international trips as prime minister, travelling to the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt in early November and to the G20 in Bali a week later.