Rishi Sunak is poised to make history as the UK’s first British Asian prime minister, after his only remaining rival bowed out of the leadership race earlier today.
Mr Sunak, Britain’s former chancellor of the exchequer, will replace Liz Truss as the UK’s next prime minister, it has been announced.
The news comes after Penny Mordaunt announced her last minute withdrawal from the leadership contest to replace Truss, who lasted just 45 days in the job.
Ms Mordaunt failed to secure the support of the 100 Tory MPs she needed to make it onto the ballot and force a head-to-head vote among Conservative Party members.
In a statement issued on Twitter just before 2pm, she said “it is clear that colleagues feel we need certainty today” and that “as a result, we have now chosen our next Prime Minister”.
She said: “This decision is an historic one and shows, once again, the diversity and talent of our party. Rishi has my full support.”
Nearly 200 Conservative MPs publicly backed Sunak ahead of the nomination deadline today (Monday, October 24).
Former PM Boris Johnson had put himself forward for the leadership race but pulled out yesterday, claiming it wasn’t “the right time” to try and reclaim his former position.
As well as being the first British Asian prime minister the UK has seen, Rishi Sunak will also be the nations youngest PM.
At 42, he is expected to take office in the next few days now the result of the Tory leadership contest is known, making him the third prime minister of the year.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has tweeted her congratulations to Mr Sunak, pointing out the significance of the news falling on Diwali Day (October 24).
“That he becomes the first British Asian, indeed the first from any minority ethnic background, to become PM is a genuinely significant moment. It certainly makes this a special #Diwali,” she said.
“I wish him well and, notwithstanding our political differences, will do my best to build a constructive working relationship with him in the interests of those we serve.”