“I take responsibility for loss…”: Rishi Sunak steps down

Outgoing British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves the Conservative Campaign Headquarters, following the results of the general election, in London, Britain, July 5, 2024. REUTERS/Belinda Jiao

London, July 5, 2024 – United Kingdom’s outgoing Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak on Friday apologized to the country after the Conservative Party’s drubbing in the general election, its worst-ever in recent times and accepted blame for the defeat.

Sunak, in his last speech to the nation as Prime Minister from outside 10 Downing Street said, “To the country, I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry. I have given this job my all but you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change and yours is the only judgement that matters. I take responsibility for this loss…Following this result, I will step down as party leader…”

FLE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during a Conservative general election campaign event, in London, Britain June 24, 2024. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

The 44-year-old leader said that he will step down as leader of the Conservative party which suffered a landslide loss in the election.

“Following this result, I will step down as party leader,” he said, a move that is set to trigger a contest for the next Conservative leader.

Labour Party won the UK general as per results declared from almost all the parliamentary seats. Keir Starmer will be the next prime minister and is due to meet the king shortly where he’ll be invited to form a government.

The Conservative Party lost more than 250 seats and now faces life in opposition.

“…This is a difficult day at the end of a number of difficult days. This is the best country in the world and it is thanks entirely to you, the British people,” said Sunak.

Sunak wished the “decent public spirited man” Starmer. “Whilst he has been my political opponent, Keir Starmer, will shortly become our prime minister. In this job, his successes will be all our successes, and I wish him and his family well. Whatever our disagreements in this campaign, He is a decent, public spirited man who I respect,” said Sunak.

The outgoing PM said he had heard the “anger” of British voters, who delivered his Conservative Party its worst-ever defeat, and apologized to the candidates who had lost their seats.

“To all the conservative candidates and campaigners who worked tirelessly, but without success, I am sorry that we could not deliver what your efforts deserved. It pains me to think how many good colleagues who contributed so much to their communities and our country will now no longer sit in the House of Commons. I thank them for their hard work and their service,” said Sunak.

Incoming British Prime Minister Keir Starmer delivers a speech at Number 10 Downing Street, following the results of the election, in London, Britain, July 5, 2024. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Reflecting on his 21-month premiership, Sunak said he had “returned stability to our economy” and rebuilt Britain’s relations with its allies.

“I have given this job my all. But you have sent a clear message, and yours is the only judgement that matters. This is a difficult day, but I leave this job honoured to have been Prime Minister of the best country in the world,” said Sunak.

He singled out a major deal he struck to normalize relations between the UK and European Union in the wake of Brexit – a policy he championed – as another of his achievements.

“When I first stood here as your prime minister, I told you the most important task I had was to return stability to our economy. Inflation is backed to target, mortgage rates are falling and growth has returned. We have enhanced our standing in the world, rebuilding relations with allies, leading global efforts to support Ukraine, and becoming the home of new generation of transformative technologies. And our United Kingdom is stronger too. With the Windsor framework, devolution restored in Northern Ireland, and our union strengthened. I’m proud of those achievements. I believe this country is safer, stronger, and more secure than it was 20 months ago. And it is more prosperous, fairer and resilient than it was in 2010,” said Sunak.



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