Rishi Sunak to meet King Charles on Tuesday morning before taking over as PM and says UK faces ‘profound economic challenge’ – as it happened

Last modified: 08: 44 PM GMT+0

Rishi Sunak to meet monarch after Liz Truss chairs her final cabinet meeting at 9am


Here’s a roundup of today’s news, as Rishi Sunak wins the Conservative party leadership, as the only candidate after Penny Mordaunt decided not to run.

  • Rishi Sunak has become Conservative party leader, after the result of the first round of the leadership contest was announced on Monday afternoon.

  • In a speech Sunak told his party it must “unite or die” and in a stilted TV address he said Britain faces “a profound economic challenge”.

  • Penny Mordaunt announced she would withdraw from the race, minutes before the 1922 committee announcement. Allies have shown evidence she was less than 10 MPs away from making the 100 MP threshold.

  • Sunak will meet King Charles at the palace on Tuesday where he will be asked to form a government, and become prime minister. Sunak will give a speech outside Downing Street before midday.

  • Liz Truss will chair her final cabinet at 9am before going to the palace to resign.

  • YouGov has released new polling suggesting that Keir Starmer is seen as likely to make the best prime minister by voters in three times as many constituencies as Sunak.

That’s all for today. Thanks for following along.

Despite having no popular mandate, he did little to reassure people who are worried sick about rising costs or lengthening NHS waits. The emergency is real. Yet Mr Sunak seems intent on turning off household support for energy bills next April. He plainly thinks that meeting an arbitrary target of reducing national debt is more important than saving people from penury.

Read our editorial on Sunak’s incipient premiership here:


Guardian sketchwriter John Crace has written this on the day’s events which he’s described as a “second coming for Sunak, the silent messiah”.

It all panned out about as well as the Conservative party could have hoped. A new leader – the right leader, as far as MPs were concerned – elected in a matter of days. No general election. Heaven forbid. A failed state couldn’t be doing with that level of democracy. Never trust the people you’re intending to govern.

Not even a parochial, controlled election of the Conservative gerontocratic membership. That really hadn’t worked out so well the last time they had tried that. No. Now was the time to reduce the electorate from 180,000 down to 357 MPs. That was the way to govern the UK. Men and women who could be trusted to put the interests of themselves and their party ahead of those of the country. A higher calling than simple patriotism.

Mind you, it hadn’t been entirely plain sailing. Boris Johnson had flown back from his holidays – how thoughtful of him to take a break when the rest of parliament was not on recess – to announce that he thought he had served his time in the wilderness. In his mind, a couple of months hard vacation were more than long enough punishment for criminality, serial lying and general incompetence.

To be fair it had also been long enough for 102 MPs. Enough to have secured the Convict a place on the ballot. That’s if you trust him not to have double-counted at least 20 of his supporters. Not many people did. Most just thought he hadn’t got the numbers and was trying to put the most positive spin on a failed comeback.

Read more:

The chancellor Jeremy Hunt has congratulated Rishi Sunak on becoming prime minister.

Sunak has not yet announced whether he will keep Hunt in post, ahead of a fiscal statement that is scheduled to take place on 31 October.

Hunt tweeted: “This is a time for honesty about the huge economic challenges we face, and courage in addressing them. We have a PM who can be trusted to do just that - and give us all confidence in the huge potential of our country.”

Congratulations to @RishiSunak, our next Prime Minister. This is a time for honesty about the huge economic challenges we face, and courage in addressing them. We have a PM who can be trusted to do just that - and give us all confidence in the huge potential of our country.

— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) October 24, 2022

New polling by YouGov has found that a majority of people believe Rishi Sunak should call an early general election.

The results, published hours after it was confirmed that Sunak would be the next prime minister, found 56% of people said they thought he should, against 29% who thought otherwise.

Do you think Rishi Sunak should or should not call an early general election?

Should: 56%
Should not: 29%https://t.co/hSbZEqiHdn pic.twitter.com/hD962OIGHo

— YouGov (@YouGov) October 24, 2022

YouGov also found that there were mixed feelings about Sunak taking over as prime minister – 41% of people fell under the category of “disappointed” against 38% of those who were “pleased”.

How pleased or disappointed are you that Rishi Sunak will be the next prime minister?

Pleased: 38%
Disappointed: 41%https://t.co/Yb175Q2yjb pic.twitter.com/86RzXYot4k

— YouGov (@YouGov) October 24, 2022

The news that Rishi Sunak will become prime minister tomorrow when he meets the King means that Liz Truss has done her final prime minister’s questions.

There was thought that she might have hung on until Wednesday lunchtime, to answer questions from the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, for the final time.

Outgoing leaders have previously used final sessions at the dispatch box as a valedictory send off, from Margaret Thatcher retorting “I’m enjoying this” in response to a quip from Dennis Skinner about whether she would become the governor of the new European Central Bank, to Boris Johnson’s “hasta la vista, baby” in July.

Instead Truss’s last time addressing the commons as prime minister will be her insisting she was a “fighter, not a quitter”, before standing down 24 hours later.


Rishi Sunak to meet King Charles on Tuesday morning before taking over as prime minister

The government has announced a timetable for Tuesday, where Rishi Sunak will travel to Buckingham Palace and meet King Charles.

Sunak will meet the monarch after Liz Truss has chaired a final meeting of her cabinet at 9am, after which she will make a speech outside Downing Street. She will then go to Buckingham Palace for an audience with the King.

Afterwards, Sunak will go and meet the King, where he will be asked to form a government.

The new prime minister will then give a speech outside Number 10 at about 11.35am.


Former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith has said that Boris Johnson was “begging for votes” over the weekend, having returned from the Dominican Republic to try and put together a leadership campaign.

Speaking to Andrew Marr on LBC, he said: “I think the problem when Boris came over was: one, Boris was completely unexpectedly having to do this. He made no plans. He had no team. He kind of expected I think when he arrived that there would be at least 150 people claiming him. And this would grow to the majority that didn’t happen, suddenly they find themselves struggling and begging people for votes.

“That was demeaning, really. And then when Rishi and the other said, no, the only deal we do with you is if you were serving us, not the other way around, and that cost didn’t suit him.”

This is Harry Taylor taking over from Andrew Sparrow for the rest of this evening.


Here are tweets from two academics on the prospects of the Conservative party under Rishi Sunak.

This is from Prof Tim Bale, who has written several books about the modern Conservative party.

Pessimism/scepticism is my default position. So it comes as something of a surprise that I'm not entirely sure that the answer to "Will the Conservative Party fall apart under Rishi Sunak" is yes. https://t.co/wZIZS4HagE pic.twitter.com/7W6euiEJme

— Tim Bale (@ProfTimBale) October 24, 2022

And this is from Prof Matt Goodwin, who has written books mostly on populism and the radical right.

So many things lined up against Rishi. Divided party. Unhappy country. Inflation. Energy. Interest rates. Huge cuts looming. No end in sight in Ukraine. No party in history has won 5 elections in row. But, you know, for some reason, my instinct tells me Rishi may surprise us all

— Matt Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) October 24, 2022

That’s all from me for today. My colleague Harry Taylor is taking over now.

This is from Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader, on Rishi Sunak’s election as Tory leader and next PM.

Rishi Sunak's 90-second statement reflects a Conservative Party devoid of any plan to fix the multiple crises they have created.

No ideas. No conviction. No mandate.

This government has a simple choice: embrace the transformative change this country needs or get out of the way.

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 24, 2022

Mark Drakeford has also offered “llongyfarchiadau” (congratulations) to Rishi Sunak.

Llongyfarchiadau @RishiSunak. The UK desperately needs a period of stability and cooperation to focus on the many challenges we face.

I hope we're able to work constructively together to support people through these difficult times in a way that your predecessors didn't allow.

— Mark Drakeford (@PrifWeinidog) October 24, 2022

Drakeford says he hopes that Rishi Sunak will work “constructively” with his administration. Relations cannot be much worse than they were under Liz Truss. During the Tory leadership contest in the summer Truss said Nicola Sturgeon was an “attention seeker” who was best ignored, and once she became PM Truss acted her on own advice, declining to make the usual courtesy calls to the Scottish and Welsh first ministers on her appointment.

YouGov has released new polling suggesting that Keir Starmer is seen as likely to make the best prime minister by voters in three times as many constituencies as Rishi Sunak. Overall, 38% of respondents said Starmer would be best, while 29% said Sunak would be best. And the seat by seat figures (produced by an MRP [multilevel regression and post-stratification] analysis) suggest that Sunak was not ahead in any of the “red wall” Labour seats won by Boris Johnson at the last election.

🗺️ NEW MRP | Which of the following do you think would make the best prime minister? (21-23 Oct)

Starmer: 389 wins in constituencies
Sunak: 127 constituencies
'Not sure': 116 constituencieshttps://t.co/WJhHIz2eFm pic.twitter.com/y0kcsFIrZC

— YouGov (@YouGov) October 24, 2022

And this is from Leo Varadkar, the Irish deputy PM. Varadkar, who was taoiseach (Irish PM) for three years, and who is due to take up the post again as part of a coalition deal, is of Indian heritage himself.

Congratulations @RishiSunak on becoming Conservative Party Leader and PM. You have worked hard to achieve this. These are challenging times of war, inflation, global uncertainty. I look forward to the UK working with Ireland and the EU as friends and allies in the years ahead

— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) October 24, 2022

And the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, has offered his “warmest congratulations” to Rishi Sunak.

Warmest congratulations @RishiSunak! As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues, and implementing Roadmap 2030. Special Diwali wishes to the 'living bridge' of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 24, 2022

Sunak was born in the UK, but his parents are of Indian descent (via east Africa), and his wife is the daughter of one of India’s best known, and richest, businessmen. His victory in the Tory leadership election is big news in India. The story is leading the Times of India website.

Times of India website front page
Times of India website front page Photograph: Times of India

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, has sent a message of congratulations to Rishi Sunak.

Congratulations to @RishiSunak on becoming the UK's Prime Minister.

Working together is the only way to face common challenges … and bringing stability is key to overcoming them.

— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) October 24, 2022

The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, has said that Rishi Sunak must take the blame for the “mess” the economy is in. In an interview with Harrison Jones at Metro, Starmer said:

[Sunak] is part of the problem. If you look at what they all said about each other over the summer, he and [Liz] Truss were slugging it out to say how awful the mess was that they created and that they should be prime minister to sort out the mess of their own making.

So he is absolutely covered in the mess, we have not had economic growth in the way we should have had in the last 12 years and he is a major factor in that.


Theresa May has joined David Cameron, another former Tory PM, in tweeting her congratulations to Rishi Sunak.

Congratulations @RishiSunak on becoming Leader of the Conservative Party.

Rishi will provide the calm, competent, pragmatic leadership our country needs at this deeply challenging time. He has my full support.

— Theresa May (@theresa_may) October 24, 2022

Liz Truss, the outgoing PM, has also offered her congratulations and pledged her support.

Congratulations @RishiSunak on being appointed as Leader of the Conservative Party and our next Prime Minister.

You have my full support.

— Liz Truss (@trussliz) October 24, 2022

Sir John Major has not said anything yet – but he’s not on Twitter, and when he wants to comment, he does it the old-fashioned way, via press release.

And Boris Johnson has not said anything yet either. As the i’s Paul Waugh suggests, perhaps Johnson took exception to the line in Sunak’s speech about serving with “integrity and humility”. (See 4.18pm.)

Clock is still ticking....maybe Johnson is smarting from that final line of Sunak's brief speech that he will serve "with integrity and humility"?

— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) October 24, 2022

Douglas Ross, the embattled Scottish Conservative leader, has congratulated Rishi Sunak on securing the leadership of the UK party, even as his own tenure is under increasing threat.

Ross said he looked forward to working with Sunak “for the good of Scotland and for the whole of the United Kingdom” in a short statement on Twitter, adding: “As he showed during his time as chancellor – not least in safeguarding one in three Scottish jobs during the pandemic through the furlough scheme – Rishi Sunak is uniquely well equipped for that task.”

Congratulations to @RishiSunak on becoming the leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister.

I look forward to working with him for the good of Scotland and the whole United Kingdom. pic.twitter.com/4HFY28s3ow

— Douglas Ross MP MSP (@Douglas4Moray) October 24, 2022

During the last leadership contest Ross did not formally back a candidate but appeared alongside Liz Truss on visits the day she and Sunak jousted at the Scottish leadership hustings in Perth. After her election as UK leader, there were a series of senior departures from Ross’s backroom team at Holyrood, and a humiliating misstep over a job applicant’s inaccurate CV, sharpening internal anxieties about his leadership.

Since the economic crisis and the collapse in Tory support triggered by Truss’s mini-budget – a collapse that could result in the the Tories being wiped out in Scotland – Ross urged the party to rally around her, later insisting he was duty bound to support her.

With that, following his swithering and equivocation on Boris Johnson’s premiership, his internal critics in the Scottish party are plotting vigorously against him, although no clear challenger has yet emerged. The Times reported one Tory MSP saying in late September: “Cutlasses are being sharpened.”


Samuel Kasumu, the former race adviser to Boris Johnson who is standing to be the Conservative candidate for the mayoralty of London, said Rishi Sunak’s win as the first British Asian prime minister was a “historic” moment, and offered his full support.

“He’s actually the second minority ethnic Conservative prime minister after one of my heroes, Benjamin Disraeli,” Kasumu said, referring to Britain’s first and only prime minister of Jewish heritage to date, who came to office in 1868. Kasumu went on:

There is no doubt that this is still a historic day for Britain. The country needs him to succeed, and he has my full support.


Commenting on Rishi Sunak’s speech (see 4.18am), the Lib Dem Treasury spokeperson, Sarah Olney, said:

Rishi Sunak’s statement will do nothing to reassure people worried sick about their bills and local health services this winter.

He said nothing about his plans for the country, leaving the public in the dark while he celebrates behind closed doors with Conservative MPs.

They have installed someone in No 10 who nobody voted for, is totally out of touch with struggling families and pensioners, and can’t even tell us what he’ll do next.


Rishi Sunak leaving CCHQ.
Rishi Sunak leaving CCHQ. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA

It looks as if Matt Hancock won’t need to spend tomorrow waiting by his phone, judging by this clip of Rishi Sunak welcoming supporters outside CCHQ. Sunak goes from Mel Stride to Jake Berry, the Tory chair, ignoring the former health secretary.

Blanked Matt Hancock. Gutted, Matt. pic.twitter.com/GTiQBU7OaD

— Ben (@Jamin2g) October 24, 2022

Sunak promises to serve 'with integrity and humility' as he says UK faces 'profound economic challenge'

Rishi Sunak starts by paying tribute to Liz Truss for her leadership, saying she served “under exceptionally difficult circumstances”.

He is humbled to have been elected leader of the Conservative and Unionist party, he says. It is the greatest privilege of his life “to be able to serve the party I love and give back to the country I owe so much to”, he says. He goes on:

But there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge. We now need stability and unity. And I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together. Because that is the only way we will overcome the challenges we face and build a better, more prosperous future for our children and our grandchildren.

I pledge that I will serve you with integrity and humility, and I will work day in, day out, to deliver for the British people.

That barely counted as a speech. Sunak’s delivery was wooden, and the content did not really rise above cliche. But his tribute to Truss was generous, and his reference to “integrity and humility” suggests that he is keen to show that he marks a departure from Boris Johnson, as well as from Truss. (Humility was not a feature of her premiership, until the end, although her integrity was not generally questioned.)


Sunak to give first public comments since becoming Tory leader and next PM

Rishi Sunak is about to give a speech on camera at Tory HQ. These will be his first public comments, not just since becoming prime minister designate (he won’t take over until tomorrow at the earliest) but since Liz Truss resigned. He got elected Tory leader this time without making any public speeches, or giving any interviews, at all.

In normal circumstances that would be a democratic outrage, but the process was truncated, and Sunak and his policy agenda were subject to extensive coverage during the last Tory leadership contest in the summer.

Of course, quite a lot has changed since then. It would have been good to have heard him discuss the mini-budget, and the economic crisis it provoked.

All we got was this message.

The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis.

That’s why I am standing to be Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister.

I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country. pic.twitter.com/BppG9CytAK

— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 23, 2022


Sunak will not take over as PM today, No 10 says

At the afternoon lobby briefing, Downing Street said the handover of power from Liz Truss to Rishi Sunak would not happen today. It is expected to happen tomorrow, although the PM’s spokesperson would not even confirm that.


What Sunak told Tory MPs in his first speech to them as Tory leader

Simon Hoare, a long-time Rishi Sunak supporter, has given more details of Sunak’s speech to Tory MPs where he told them the party faced “an existential threat”. (See 3.37pm.)

“[Sunak] said we could not pretend the last few weeks and months had been easy or edifying or helpful,” said Hoarer. He went on:

We are going back to serious, pragmatic traditions of Conservative government. The message we heard was about going forward – as a party and a government this is about the future and shaping the future. We cannot rewrite history. We will play the hand we have got, but it is not an inevitable threat we face.

Sunak told MPs his ambition was to have a “highly productive UK economy”, stressing a commitment to levelling up and the pledges of the 2019 manifesto. He said the party backed “low taxation” but said it had to be affordable and deliverable.

He said a stable and productive economy would be the engine that drove a well-funded health and education service, as well as delivering on net zero carbon emissions and said it would be an “environmentally focused government”.

Sunak said there would be “no early election” though he said opposition parties would inevitably clamour for one. He said he would ask the British people for space and time to resolve the problems the country is facing.

There was no commitment to spending cuts, but Sunak said it would be a “tough period” for the government. Stressing a need for stability, MPs said they inferred that Sunak would ask Jeremy Hunt to stay on as chancellor. “Time is not on our side, we have no time to lose,” Hoare said.

Iain Duncan Smith, a prominent backer of both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, said it was right that a decision had been made quickly. He said:

There is no more messing around, it is time to end the psychodrama and get on with governing. He [Sunak] said it was time to end personality politics. He knows now we have to deliver what we promise. His first priority is to stabilise the economy and get that moving, then all the other things we promise to do, make the most of Brexit, levelling up in left-behind areas.


Rishi Sunak posing with fellow Tories outside CCHQ.
Rishi Sunak posing with fellow Tories outside CCHQ. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA

The former prime minister Theresa May said Rishi Sunak has her “full support”.

In a tweet which might be taken as an implicit criticism of the alternative scenario – in which Boris Johnson was back at Downing Street – she adding that Sunak will provide the “calm, competent, pragmatic leadership” the UK needs.

Congratulations @RishiSunak on becoming Leader of the Conservative Party.

Rishi will provide the calm, competent, pragmatic leadership our country needs at this deeply challenging time. He has my full support.

— Theresa May (@theresa_may) October 24, 2022


Action for Children, a charity that protects and supports vulnerable children and young people, has urged Rishi Sunak to prioritise the 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK.

The charity added:

The simplest way to do this is for the prime minister to stand by his promise earlier this year, to keep benefits in line with inflation.


Rishi Sunak has just arrived at Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ), where he was filmed hugging and shaking hands with Conservative officials and MPs waiting for him.

He was greeted with cheers and applause, but went inside without making any public comments. We’re still waiting for him to say anything in public despite now being the prime minister in waiting.

However, a lectern has been erected inside CCHQ, so we’re expecting him to speak shortly.

Sunak arriving at CCHQ to thunderous cheers, hugs, kisses and high fives - it's fair to say your average Conservative MP seems almost overcome with relief at avoid another week of tearing each other apart.

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) October 24, 2022


Sunak: Conservative party faces 'existential threat'

Sunak warned MPs in that meeting a little earlier that the Conservative party was facing an “existential threat,” according to the Guardian’s deputy political editor, Jessica Elgot.

Sunak told Tory MPs the party was facing an "existential threat." He said the party could win the next election by uniting and being honest with the electorate on tough decisions - and returning to core values like fiscal discipline

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) October 24, 2022


Sunak rule out early election - reports

Rishi Sunak has told Conservative MPs that there will not be an early general election.

The new Tory leader addressed MPs in the Commons after the 1922 Committee announced he was the only candidate in a condensed leadership contest.

We’re now waiting for Sunak to appear in public as Tory activists and MPs are gathering outside of Conservative Party Central Office.

Conservative MPs coming out of CCHQ to welcome their new leader @RishiSunak pic.twitter.com/GY2zSA5kTh

— Darren McCaffrey (@darrenmccaffrey) October 24, 2022

Broadcast interviews have been halted by security inside Westminster’s central lobby after a sit-in protest by Greenpeace UK activists took place.

The group said that more than 30 activists had occupied parliament. It added on Twitter: “While the government is in chaos, almost 7 million people are facing fuel poverty.”

“We need the next government to deliver a proper windfall tax to insulate homes and keep people warm this winter.”

"We're mid way through an interview.. excuse me" Sky News @joncraig tells security as they try to bring things to a halt after a sit-in protest started inside Westminster
Interview halted now pic.twitter.com/iLTNC5Kx5O

— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) October 24, 2022

Greepeace said campaigners from Greenpeace and Fuel Poverty Action entered the Palace of Westminster as tourists and visitors and were occupying the central lobby, linking arms, reading testimonies from people struggling with bills and unfurled a banner reading “chaos costs lives”.

Greenpeace UK’s co-executive director, Will McCallum, said:

Rishi Sunak should have realised by now the huge mistake he made by blocking plans for warmer homes and failing to properly tax fossil fuel giants. People need permanently lower bills and a safe climate, and that means more renewable energy, more financial support, a nationwide street-by-street insulation programme, and a proper tax on the energy profiteers to pay for it.

Ruth London, from Fuel Poverty Action, called for support for their “energy for all” proposal, giving each household enough free energy to cover basics such as heating, cooking and lighting, paid for windfall taxes, ending fossil fuel subsidies and higher prices for excess energy use.

Here’s the moment when the protestors took up their positions

There's a sit-in protest by Greenpeace going on in Central Lobby right now

Here's the moment it happened live on @SkyNews, while they were mid-interview with Rebecca Pow and Laura Farris

A policeman then came over to try to stop them from filming pic.twitter.com/OM07uHpApQ

— Eleanor Langford (@eleanormia) October 24, 2022


The Green party has added its voice to those calls for a general election, which is now coming from sources ranging from the Labour party through to former Tory minister Nadine Dorries.

Green party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said:

The country cannot afford more divisive infighting amongst a few elitist Conservatives whose policies are failing people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

Even Conservative party MPs and members have been excluded from the vote this time.

People need to be democratically involved in finding solutions. This must include a general election, and the opportunity to elect more Greens committed to a more equal society and solving the environmental crisis.

Election calls were coming from the right as well, with the leader of the Reform party UK, Richard Tice, seeking to capitalise on discontent among Conservative party members aggrieved at missing out on a chance to vote for their leader.

“We have a prime minister appointed by acclamation. His party members rejected him. Democracy is in peril,” he claimed.


Labour accuses Sunak of 'dodging scrutiny' amid renewed election calls

Rishi Sunak has been accused by Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, of “dodging scrutiny” as she reiterated Labour’s calls for a general election after the former chancellor was officially declared the new Conservative leader on Monday.

She said :

The Tories have crowned Rishi Sunak as prime minister without him saying a single word about how he would run the country, and without anyone having the chance to vote.

This is the same Rishi Sunak who as chancellor failed to grow the economy, failed to get a grip on inflation, and failed to help families with the Tory cost of living crisis. And it’s the same Rishi Sunak whose family avoided paying tax in this country before he put up taxes on everyone else.

“With his record - and after Liz Truss comprehensively beat him over the summer - it’s no wonder he is dodging scrutiny. Rishi Sunak has no mandate and no idea what working people need. We need a general election so the public get a say on the future of Britain – and the chance for a fresh start with Labour.


There has been relief, from a cybersecurity perspective, that a leadership election at short notice involving thousands of Conservative party members has been avoided.

Ciaran Martin, a former head of Britain’s Nation Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said: “We must realise that political parties are tiny organisations, akin to charities. They are not governments. They’re not geared up to hold votes on which so much depends, especially online, especially at a week’s notice.”

“It would be worth both major parties & others working with the relevant experts in government elsewhere to prepare for future contests. We’ve had more than half a decade of concerns about electoral interference and for me the fundamental challenge is that whilst political parties are powerful, their organisational capacity is tiny compared with a government or large company,” added Martin, a professor of practice at the Blavatnik school of government at Oxford University.

Experts had warned hackers from rogue states could attempt to discredit the Conservative leadership contest with spurious claims about the integrity of an online members’ vote.

If there were two candidates remaining in the race after Monday, Tory party members would have taken part in an online vote to decide the new prime minister.

The NCSC, an arm of the GCHQ spy agency, contacted the Conservative party over its leadership voting preparations last week, having also intervened before the previous leader ballot.

That August intervention resulted in the party enhancing security around the voting process, but it is understood that NCSC did not advised changes to the voting system this time.

Jamie Collier, a consultant at the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, said last week: “There could be an attempt at sowing disinformation after the vote.”


Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has congratulated Rishi Sunak on becoming PM – and called for an early general election.

1/ Congratulations to @RishiSunak - 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.

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 24, 2022

2/ That he becomes the first British Asian to become PM is a genuinely significant moment. It certainly makes this a special #Diwali

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 24, 2022

3/ As for the politics, I’d suggest one immediate decision he should take and one he certainly should not.
He should call an early General Election. And he should not - must not - unleash another round of austerity. Our public services will not withstand that.

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 24, 2022

4/ For Scotland, of course, he becomes another PM we did not and, without doubt would not vote for even if given the chance.
To escape the damage of Westminster governments with no mandate here, and take our future into our own hands, Scotland needs independence

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 24, 2022


Sunak urges Tories to unite at private meeting with MPs after his election as new leader

Rishi Sunak did not spend long speaking to Tory MPs. He was addressing them in private, and he did not speak to reporters as he went in, or as he came out. Here are tweets from some of the reporters doorstepping the room.

From Sky’s Jon Craig

Huge cheers & long banging of desks as Rishi Sunak arrives in Ctte Rm 14 to address Tory MPs. Applause as he walked slowly down ctte corridor behind his campaign chief Mel Yride & flanked by ally Claire Coutinho.

— Jon Craig (@joncraig) October 24, 2022

No words to journalists from Rishi Sunak as he arrived at ‘22. Just a big smile. Biggest applause & desk banging heard for a long time as he entered room. Relief among Tory MPs?

— Jon Craig (@joncraig) October 24, 2022

MP leaving ‘22 tells me Rishi Sunak has told Tory MPs: “We’ve got to unite & come together.” Promises “a government of all the talents”.

— Jon Craig (@joncraig) October 24, 2022

From ITV’s Anushka Asthana

Sunak told MPs that he would focus on policies not personalities. Said the party had one chance to get this right. Appealed for unity.

— Anushka Asthana (@AnushkaAsthana) October 24, 2022

New. Rishi Sunak apparently told MPs that this was “existential” for the Conservative party- effectively that they either deliver now or they could be dead.

— Anushka Asthana (@AnushkaAsthana) October 24, 2022

From my colleague Jessica Elgot

Enormous goodwill for Rishi Sunak coming out of the room. Charles Walker says: “If last Wed was a low point in politics, this was a high point.” MPs said he made a point of thanking and being gracious to all his predecessors (a marked contrast to Truss)

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) October 24, 2022

Three days ago Jacob Rees-Mogg, the business secretary, said it was “Boris or bust”.


— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) October 21, 2022

He has not deleted that tweet, but he has congratulated Rishi Sunak and offered his support.

Now is the time for party unity and I congratulate @RishiSunak on his victory and will support his leadership.

— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) October 24, 2022

Jake Berry, the Conservative party chair, has put out this statement about Rishi Sunak’s election as Tory leader.

I’d like to congratulate Rishi Sunak on becoming the new leader of our party. Now is the time for the whole party to come together and unite four-square behind Rishi, as he gets on with the vital work of tackling the challenges we face as a country. The time for internal debates is well and truly over, and led by Rishi Sunak, I know we can and will deliver on the priorities of the British people.

Sunak's appointment as PM 'hopeful sign of progress against prejudices of past', says thinktank

Sunder Katwala, who runs the British Future thinktank, which focuses on issues relating to immigration, identity and race, says Rishi Sunak’s appoinment as PM is a historic moment. He says:

Rishi Sunak becoming the first British Indian prime minister is an historic moment. This simply would not have been possible even a decade or two ago.

It shows that public service in the highest office in Britain can be open to those of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. This will be a source of pride to many British Asians - including many who do not share Rishi Sunak’s Conservative politics.

Most people in Britain now rightly say the ethnicity and faith of the prime minister should not matter. They will judge Sunak on whether he can get a grip on the chaos in Westminster, sort out the public finances, and restore integrity to politics.

But we should not underestimate this important social change. When Sunak was born in Southampton in 1980, there had been no Asian or black MPs at all in the postwar era. There were still no black or Asian Conservative MPs when he graduated from university in 2001.

Sunak reaching 10 Downing Street does not make Britain a perfect meritocracy. While there is more to do, this is a hopeful sign of progress against the prejudices of the past. National politics has set the pace and business, public services and charities should accept the challenge to reflect modern Britain too.


A van driving around Westminster today with an advert from the Led by Donkeys campaign calling for a general election now.
A van driving around Westminster today with an advert from the Led by Donkeys campaign calling for a general election now. Photograph: Matthew Chattle/REX/Shutterstock

Penny Mordaunt is addressing Tory MPs at the 1922 Committee. This is from my colleague Jessica Elgot.

Cheers and desk banging as Mordaunt goes into the room for Sunak’s acceptance speech. MPs kissing her and her campaign chief Andrea Leadsom on the cheek.

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) October 24, 2022

And this is from ITV’s Anushka Asthana.

Penny Mordaunt says “I’m good, I’m alright” and insists “I’m going to support the new PM” as she enters the 1922 meeting to massive supportive bangs on the desk for her.

— Anushka Asthana (@AnushkaAsthana) October 24, 2022

Here is some comment from journalists on Rishi Sunak becoming PM.

From the New Statesman’s Jeremy Cliffe

Sunak to be UK’s new PM. Thoughts:

1) You don’t have to like him to celebrate the fact of Britain’s first ethnic minority PM.

2) He will get a honeymoon, but Tories remain fundamentally dysfunctional.

3) Labour still can’t afford complacency. Discipline & vision essential.

— Jeremy Cliffe (@JeremyCliffe) October 24, 2022

From Lewis Goodall from the News Agents podcast

Mordaunt has succumbed to reality. The weight of support within the parliamentary party was just too lop sided.

Sunak will become the UK’s first British Asian PM. He’ll be the youngest prime minister since Lord Liverpool two centuries ago.

— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) October 24, 2022

Sunak will become the third Conservative prime minister in seven weeks. Our fifth in six years.

— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) October 24, 2022

From the former FT editor Lionel Barber

Britain enjoys its “Obama moment”: Rishi Sunak wins Tory leadership race and will be next prime minister. A British-Asian of Punjabi descent, pukka English public school boy and Goldman alumnus. Let’s give him a break and not pigeon hole him. He’ll need some luck!

— Lionel Barber (@lionelbarber) October 24, 2022

From Darren McCaffrey from GB News

NEW Prime Minister: Rishi Sunak

🔹UK’s first non-white PM

🔹Youngest PM since 1812

🔹Richest PM ever?

— Darren McCaffrey (@darrenmccaffrey) October 24, 2022


Penny Mordaunt ended up with 90 nominations in the end, ITV’s Chris Ship reports.

Penny Mordaunt’s team says she ended on 90 nominations, which will be verified later by 1922.

— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) October 24, 2022

King Charles will return to London from Sandringham, and will be in Buckingham Palace this evening, ITV’s Chris Ship reports. That means he could accept Liz Truss’s resignation and appoint Rishi Sunak as PM tonight.

NEW: The King will travel from Sandringham to London this afternoon which means he will be in Buckingham Palace this evening - should Liz Truss and @RishiSunak decide to go see him tonight. One to resign and one to be invited to form His Majesty’s Government

— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) October 24, 2022

We have not been told the timetable for the handover of power yet, but on the World at One Lord O’Donnell, the former cabinet secretary, said he did not expect Sunak to become PM until tomorrow.

He also said it could be delayed until Wednesday if Liz Truss wanted to do one final PMQs. Given how her previous ones have gone, that seems unlikely.

David Cameron has congratulated Rishi Sunak – and himself too. He points out that 10 years ago he said he thought the Conservatives would be the first party in the UK to have an Indian-heritage PM. As party leader Cameron put in a lot of effort into getting his party to select more female and minority ethnic candidates, and that has been linked to Liz Truss appointing a cabinet last month in which none of the top four jobs was held by a white man.

Huge congratulations @RishiSunak on becoming PM to lead us through challenging times. I predicted a decade ago that @Conservatives would select our first Brit Indian PM & proud today that comes to be. I wish Rishi the v best, he has my wholehearted support https://t.co/yXLyo0hWTq

— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) October 24, 2022


Rishi Sunak’s speech to Tory MPs at 2.30pm will be in private, my colleague Jessica Elgot reports.

This will not be public, we’re told, it’s a behind closed doors address

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) October 24, 2022

In her statement Penny Mordaunt does not claim, as Boris Johnson did in his statement last night, that she had enough support to enter the contest if she wanted to. But she does not admit failing to get 100 nominations either. She just says it became clear that “colleagues feel we need certainty today”.

Ten minutes ago the Telegraph’s Christopher Hope said Mordaunt had reached 96 nominations shortly before 2pm – just four short of the number she needed.

Sunak to address Tory MPs at 2.30pm

Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, is making a statement now. He says he can confirm there has been one valid nomination, “and Rishi Sunak is therefore elected as leader of the Conservative party”.

He says Sunak is going to address Tory MPs at 2.30pm in the Commons.

This will be the first time Sunak has spoken in public since Liz Truss resigned.

Sir Graham Brady announcing Rishi Sunak’s election as Tory leader.
Sir Graham Brady announcing Rishi Sunak’s election as Tory leader. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA


Rishi Sunak confirmed as new prime minister after Penny Mordaunt drops out

Penny Mordaunt has dropped out of the contest, which means Rishi Sunak is the next PM.


— Penny Mordaunt (@PennyMordaunt) October 24, 2022

But Richard Harrington, the Tory peer and former minister, told the World at One that Rishi Sunak was going to be the next PM because he was “a lot smarter” than Penny Mordaunt, the Mail’s Jason Groves reports.

Pro-Sunak peer Richard Harrington withering about Mordaunt's decision to fight on, telling @BBCWorldatOne she is going to 'get walloped'.
'It's an absolute joke... she should understand Rishi is going to be the next PM because he's a lot smarter...'

— Jason Groves (@JasonGroves1) October 24, 2022

Asked on Sky News whether Penny Mordaunt has the 100 nominations she needs, one of her supporters, Heather Wheeler, replied: “I believe she does, yes.”

Nominations close at 2pm, and so we will find out for sure very soon.

BBC presenter taken off air for impartiality breach after saying she was 'gleeful' about Johnson quitting leadership contest

BBC News presenter Martine Croxall has been taken off air following a potential breach of impartiality during Sunday night’s edition of The Papers, PA Media reports. PA says:

During her introduction to the programme, which started at 10.30pm on Sunday around 90 minutes after Boris Johnson pulled out of the Tory leadership race, Croxall said: “Well this is all very exciting isn’t it?” adding: “Am I allowed to be this gleeful? Well I am.”

In her first question to her guests she also remarked: “Can we even show you the front pages just yet, have they arrived? No they haven’t arrived. It’s all a little bit, you know, lastminute.com isn’t it? Because all the front pages were probably out of date by the time we received them.”

Some viewers, including several Tory MPs reacting to a clip on social media, complained it displayed bias.

A statement from the broadcaster said: “BBC News is urgently reviewing last night’s edition of The Papers on the News Channel for a potential breach of impartiality. It is imperative that we maintain the highest editorial standards. We have processes in place to uphold our standards, and these processes have been activated.”


The polling company Savanta ComRes has used a word cloud to sum up how people perceive Rishi Sunak.


How would you describe Rishi Sunak in one word? pic.twitter.com/7oGAVrsECc

— Savanta ComRes (@SavantaComRes) October 24, 2022

The One Nation Conservatives caucus, like the ERG (its polar opposite in Tory politics), has decided not to endorse Rishi Sunak or Penny Mordaunt for party leader. But it says it would “wholeheartedly support” either of them, suggesting that both of them could be trusted to lead a “moderate, pragmatic Conservative government”.

A statement on the Conservative Leadership Election from @DamianGreen, on behalf of the Caucus. pic.twitter.com/hT686EGuoJ

— One Nation Conservatives (@OneNationCons) October 24, 2022

1922 Committee accepts Johnson did have nominations he needed to enter leadership contest, ally says

Nigel Adams, a key Boris Johnson ally and one of the figures working over the weekend to get Tory MPs to nominate him for the party leadership again, has put out a statement this morning saying he has been assured that Johnson did have the 100 names he needed to stand in the contest. He said:

This morning I met Bob Blackman MP, joint secretary of the 1922 Committee.

He has independently verified the nomination paperwork and confirmed to me that Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP was above the threshold required to stand for the Conservative party leadership in this leadership election.

Therefore, Mr Johnson could have proceeded to the ballot had he chosen to do so.


More than 200 Tory MPs now supporting Sunak, his campaign says

Mark Harper, the former Tory chief whip, tells the World at One that Rishi Sunak now has just over 200 MPs supporting him. Harper, who is speaking on behalf of the campaign, says the entire party should now get behind him.

Sunak would form a government with talented people from across the party, he says.

And he says, if Sunak becomes PM, he expects the fiscal statement to go ahead a week today, as planned.

George Freeman, the science minister, is on the World at One now. He says he does support Penny Mordaunt. And he wants to see her at the top of cabinet.

But, given the “urgency of the economic crisis we face”, he says he thinks it would be better to settle the Tory leadership now.

He says that is why today he is voting for Rishi Sunak. He is urging Mordaunt to step aside and back Sunak on a unity ticket. (See 11.37am.)

He says Mordaunt says she has got 100 supporters. He believes her, he says.

He says he canvassed his association this morning. Their “overwhelming” view was that MPs should unite behind a candidate today.

The Tory MP Damian Collins, who is supporting Penny Mordaunt, is being interviewed on Radio 4’s World at One. Asked if she would withdraw from the contest, he refused to rule it out. He said a lot of work was going on to get her “over the line”. He said she had more than 90 nominations. He said some of her supporters felt it was important for members to get the chance to have a say in a ballot.

There are 45 minutes left until nominations close.


ITV’s political editor, Robert Peston, says Penny Mordaunt is being urged by supporters to pull out of the contest with dignity.

Mordaunt still short of 100. Frantic telephone calls to increase support, but colleagues are urging her to pull out with dignity intact. I assume she will make a statement saying she is pulling out in next hour or so. Not definite. Her manager Leadsom wants her to fight on

— Robert Peston (@Peston) October 24, 2022

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader who backed Liz Truss for the leadership in the summer, says he is now backing Rishi Sunak.

It is time for us to end the leadership contest and get a PM in place ASAP.
I have reached the decision that senior experience at the heart of government matters most. To that end I shall support @RishiSunak.

— Iain Duncan Smith MP (@MPIainDS) October 24, 2022

Journalists outside 10 Downing Street today.
Journalists outside 10 Downing Street today. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

David Mundell, the former Scottish secretary who endorsed Liz Truss’s leadership bid, has said he wrongly believed she would have been a “dull and geeky” prime minister until she “poured a bucket of petrol over everything”.

Mundell, who is regarded as the Scottish Tory party’s great survivor after becoming its sole MP in 2005 by winning Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale by 1,738 votes, introduced Truss to party members at the Perth leadership hustings in September.

Holding the constituency in all four subsequent general elections, securing a 3,781 majority in 2019, the implosion in Tory support since Truss’s disastrous mini-budget suggests he is in very real danger of losing the seat.

He now backs her opponent Rishi Sunak, preferring him over Penny Mordaunt and Boris Johnson, “because he’s the only viable candidate to stabilise the situation”.

Asked why he failed to do so first time round, Mundell argues he made a genuine mistake:

Obviously I didn’t think that things would work out the way they have done. I thought she would be dull and geeky and workmanlike, and it would be an antidote to Johnson. I did genuinely think she was better placed to unite the party than Rishi – obviously there was a big group of people at that stage who were hostile to him – but none of those things happened.

One: she poured a bucket of petrol over everything; two, she made absolutely no effort to work with the parliamentary party.

Asked if he had regrets about backing Truss, he said:

My view is [Truss’s term in office] didn’t work out as I anticipated that it would. What we’ve to do now is move forward. We’ve got to stabilise the situation. Rishi Sunak is best placed to do that in the interests of the country. I hope he will bring the professionalism to the office necessary to carry it out.


Tory ERG declines to endorse either Sunak or Mordaunt, but says both promised to take 'very robust' line on NI protocol

The European Research Group, which represents strongly pro-Brexit Tories, has been meeting today to discuss whether to endorse Rishi Sunak or Penny Mordaunt for the leadership. The ERG was a very powerful caucus in Tory circles in the Brexit year, and its backing for Boris Johnson in 2019 was a major boost to his campaign. If Brexiter MPs had united behind an alternative candidate, Johnson may never have reached the ballot for party members.

But the ERG is a much less influential group now, because its members have split on issues such as Liz Truss’s leadership, and whether Boris Johnson should return. At a briefing this morning Mark Francois, its chair, told reporters it was endorsing neither Sunak nor Mordaunt.

But Francois said Sunak and Mordaunt had both assured a delegation from the ERG when they met this morning that they were committed to the Northern Ireland protocol – and to, if necessary, using the Parliament Act to push it through the House of Lords.

Here are the key lines from Francois’s briefing.

  • Francois said the ERG thought the party had “one, and potentially two, extremely strong options to be leader of the Conserative party”. But he said the group could not agree collectively to endorse either candidate. He did not say whether Sunak or Mordaunt was the candidate they considered only “potentially” strong.

  • He said the ERG had been assured by Sunak and Mordaunt that they were both committed to taking a “very robust” line on the Northern Ireland protocol. He said:

Some of us having spoken to both potential candidates this morning, they were equally adamant that they would take, if they became prime minister, a very robust line on the Northern Ireland protocol, up to and including, if necessary, utilising the Parliament Act to ensure that the Northern Ireland protocol bill reaches the statute book.

  • He said Sunak and Mordaunt also both told the ERG that they wanted to lead a united party, and that their government appointments would reflect that.

  • Sunak did not give the ERG a firm commitment to increasing defence spending to 3% of GDP, Francois said. He said Mordaunt did say that getting defence spending to 3% of GDP was her aim, but that it would only happen when economic conditions allowed.

Mark Francois, chair of the ERG (second from right), speaking to the media.
Mark Francois, chair of the ERG (second from right), speaking to the media. Photograph: Sky News


And Chris Heaton-Harries, the Northern Ireland secretary, is backing Rishi Sunak too. He was a leading Boris Johnson supporter, and only yesterday he was messaging Johnson supporters to say that Johnson would be on the ballot today.

Now is the time to put our political differences aside and come together to tackle the issues facing our country.

I am going to play my part in doing that by backing @RishiSunak

— Chris Heaton-Harris MP (@chhcalling) October 24, 2022

Brandon Lewis, the justice secretary, has endorsed Rishi Sunak for the Tory leadership.

At a time of acute challenge, we must come together and unite. It is clear that the majority of our parliamentary party support @RishiSunak to be our next PM. He has the necessary expertise and experience to do that, and he will have my absolute backing in doing so.

— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) October 24, 2022

More than half Tory MPs now backing Sunak for party leader and next PM

Rishi Sunak has secured public declarations of more than half of Conservative MPs ahead of today’s 2pm deadline for nominations.

According to the Guardian’s count of public endorsements, as of 11.30am Rishi Sunak had the backing of 182 MPs, equivalent to 51% of the total number of Conservatives with seats in parliament.

A dozen of those who had previously backed Boris Johnson have now publicly switched allegiance to Sunak, including current or former cabinet ministers James Cleverly, Nadhim Zahawi and Priti Patel.

Just two Johnson supporters have switched to Penny Mordaunt: Michael Fabricant and Giles Watling, bringing her known total to 27, although her camp are claiming that she has more than 90 backers including those who have not declared publicly.


Mordaunt campaign source claims she has 90 endorsements - despite only around 30 backing her publicly

The Penny Mordaunt campaign is claiming that she now has endorsements from 90 Tory MPs. A campaign source told journalists:

We have now passed 90. For the sake of the party, it’s important our members have their say.

If Mordaunt has got 90 endorsements, that would around three times as many private endorsements as the number of public endorsements she has got. It is possible that the campaign is exaggerating in the hope of getting more supporters to back her by 2pm, the deadline when nominations close. It is possible that 90 Tories have given Mordaunt some sort of commitment – perhaps conditional on something, or perhaps commitments that they will not honour. (Nominations are done privately, and so an MP can tell a candidate they will nominate them, but then ‘forget’ to sign the paperwork.) Or it is possible that Mordaunt does have 90 bona fide nominations.

But some MPs are sceptical. This is from the Times’ Henry Zeffman.

Mordaunt campaign now claim they have 90 MPs💥

(24 names are public, one of whom has just all but called for her to withdraw)

— Henry Zeffman (@hzeffman) October 24, 2022

Mordaunt supporter George Freeman suggests it might be best for Tory MPs to rally behind Sunak

The FT’s Sebastian Payne reckons Penny Mordaunt’s supporters are divided over whether she should concede, and pull out of the contest today.

Sounds like Team Mordaunt is deeply spilt right now. Dame Andrea Leadsom is urging her to fight on and try and get to 100, but other PM supporters are calling on her to end the contest today - pointing out with so many MPs behind Sunak, any victory would be pyrrhic.

— Sebastian Payne (@SebastianEPayne) October 24, 2022

As evidence, Payne cites these tweets from George Freeman, the science minister. Freeman has been a Mordaunt supporter. But now he is suggesting that it might be better for MPs to unite behind Rishi Sunak to avoid the need for a ballot of party members.

To bring the stability & unity this country needs, the Conservative Party needs to unite behind a leader who can
- bring the different parts of the Party together
- assemble a Cabinet of all the talents
- win in ‘24 to keep SNP/Labour alliance out@PennyMordaunt is key to that👇 https://t.co/9mnn4YfE9D

— George Freeman MP (@GeorgeFreemanMP) October 24, 2022

2. The KEY Question this morning is whether that Unity & Stability is best served by a contest this week amongst the grassroots members, or MPs putting differences aside & backing @RishiSunak as the Leader-in-Waiting with the
- economic gravitas
- overwhelming MP support to unite https://t.co/lpDm1rxKSM

— George Freeman MP (@GeorgeFreemanMP) October 24, 2022


The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, held a phone-in on LBC this morning. Here are the main points.

  • Starmer said he put his head in his hands when he heard Boris Johnson wanted to return as PM. He said:

When [Johnson] first said that he was going to run, and everybody was sort of rallying around, I did put my head in my hands and think, so, really, we’re going to go from the prime minister who’s just crashed the economy ... back to the guy that only ... months ago, most of us were saying was unfit for office. It was never going to work, I don’t think.

  • Starmer said that there was “not a great deal” between Labour and the Tories in their support for a points-based immigration policy. Labour would scrap the Rwanda scheme, under which people arriving in the UK seeking asylum can be sent to Rwanda, Starmer said. But on immigration generally he said:

Now we don’t have free movement any more, then you either have a pure numbers game or you have a points-based system that says: ‘Well, for certain types of jobs, certain types of roles here, you would get a number of points’. I think that makes sense.

So, in that sense, not a great deal between the major parties on immigration.

We would have a slightly different approach and I would particularly want to welcome really good students. I feel that over the years we’ve put good students off coming here and many of them have ended up going to Australia and Canada and the US. I would want to see the best possible students coming to this country to study.

  • He said Labour would not grant new oil and gas licences. “We accept there’s got to be a transition, so where there is oil and gas already being yielded that needs to continue as part of the transition, but no new sites, no new fields to be opened,” he said.

  • He said Labour would not rejoin the EU under his leadership. “We’re not going back into the EU,” he said. “That isn’t a position of my party, that isn’t what an incoming Labour government would do.”

  • He said he and other Labour figures will not attend the World Cup in Qatar because of its human rights record.

Keir Starmer on LBC this morning.
Keir Starmer on LBC this morning. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA


Kemi Badenoch, the international trade secretary, and Sir Gavin Williamson, the former education secretary, were among senior Tories who visited Rishi Sunak’s campaign HQ this morning, PA Media reports.

Kemi Badenoch outside Rishi Sunak’s campaign HQ this morning.
Kemi Badenoch outside Rishi Sunak’s campaign HQ this morning. Photograph: Tayfun Salcı/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock


Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Conservative leader, has backed Rishi Sunak in the latest Tory leadership race, arguing that “a return to moderate, grown up, honest, stable government cannot come soon enough”.

Davidson, now a Conservative peer and a prominent critic of Boris Johnson, was the most successful Scottish Tory leader in the devolution era, leading the party to second place at Holyrood in 2016 and its best post-devolution performance in council elections in 2017.

In an implicit attack on the Liz Truss era and on those in the party who backed Truss’s leadership bid in August, Davidson said:

I backed Rishi in the summer and continue to believe he’s the best person for the job.

The challenges facing the country are significant, but the government has a duty to meet those challenges head on – to level with the country as to why and to what end decisions are being taken. There are so many people struggling and worried out there. Frankly, a return to moderate, grown up, honest, stable government cannot come soon enough.

The Scottish party is now in disarray following the repeated crises at Westminster under Johnson’s and Truss’s leadership; Davidson’s successor, Douglas Ross, flip-flopped about Johnson’s future as PM several times and then appeared to endorse Truss in August. He now faces potential leadership challenges, and has yet to state any preference in the current contest.


Levelling up secretary Simon Clarke backs Sunak for PM, despite criticising his 'Labour-lite economic policy' over summer

Simon Clarke, the levelling up secretary, has become the latest person who was supporting Boris Johnson to endorse Rishi Sunak for the Tory leadership.

Today @Conservatives need to unite. Really extremely serious events are unfolding and our country needs leadership. @RishiSunak is the right person to assume the immense responsibility of being Prime Minister and he will have my full support.

— Simon Clarke MP (@SimonClarkeMP) October 24, 2022

Everyone knows my loyalty to @BorisJohnson. Twitter is full of people who will never understand why so many people like him, even love him. They do so because he reflects the optimism and pride in community and country that they feel, and because he gave them a voice.

— Simon Clarke MP (@SimonClarkeMP) October 24, 2022

That notwithstanding, unity now matters. It matters for my party, but it also matters for the country. Putin has unleashed great evil, and yesterday’s events warn of potentially worse to come. Rishi is an outstandingly capable minister and we should all want him to succeed.

— Simon Clarke MP (@SimonClarkeMP) October 24, 2022

Clarke is one of the most significant of the Johnsonite switchers. He was one of the leading figures in the Liz Truss campaign during the summer and, in that capacity, he often criticised Sunak aggressively in public. For example, after one debate he accused Sunak of being “extremely aggressive” towards Truss. And he co-authored a Telegraph article accusing Sunak of policy U-turns, resisting attempts to cut EU red tape and favouring “a Labour-lite economic policy”.


From LBC’s Theo Usherwood

Senior Sunak supporter tells me those around Penny Mordaunt knows the game is up.


"She's not up for it. She thinks she can win. It's ego. The longer she holds out, the more she thinks Rishi will give her something big. But it's the other way round and she can't see it."

— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) October 24, 2022

UK stocks up and cost of government borrowing falls as Sunak poised to become PM

The stock market is up this morning, and government borrowing costs are down, following the news that Boris Johnson is not contesting the Tory leadership contest, and Rishi Sunak is now the overwhelming favourite to become the next PM. My colleague Kalyeena Makortoff has more on the business live blog.

Mordaunt's campaign claims she is 'getting the numbers' to be on ballot for Tory leadership

The Penny Mordaunt campaign says the leader of the Commons is “getting the numbers” to be able to be on the ballot for the Tory leadership. She needs to be nominated by 100 Tories. So far only around 30 of them have publicly backed her. But a campaign spokesperson told journalists this morning;

Penny is speaking to colleagues from across the party. She’s getting the numbers and she’s in it to win it.

Penny has always been a campaigner - she took her seat from Labour and she’s fought for it ever since. The party needs a fresh start to ensure it wins the next general election and holds the seats it gained in 2019.

“Getting the numbers” is not the same has ‘“has got the numbers”, suggesting that the briefing to Paul Brand earlier (see 9.33am) may have gone too far.


Rishi Sunak leaving his campaign HQ this morning.
Rishi Sunak leaving his campaign HQ this morning. Photograph: Aberto Pezzali/AP

Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, has used an article in the Daily Telegraph to explain why he is backing Rishi Sunak for PM. Hunt says:

Our public finances, market credibility and international reputation have taken a serious blow. To restore stability and confidence, we need a leader who can be trusted to make difficult choices. We also need someone who can explain those choices to members of the public who are worried about jobs, mortgages and public services.

We have a leader who can do just that in Rishi Sunak.

Sunak is expected to keep Hunt at the Treasury if he becomes PM.

The Conservative MP Andrew Stephenson has joined the flow of Boris Johnson supporters switching to Rishi Sunak.

Now @BorisJohnson has ruled himself out it is essential that all @Conservatives unite around a new leader & help them tackle the challenges we face

It’s clear the best person to unite the Party is @RishiSunak. He can count on my full support as our PM & I will be voting for him

— Rt Hon Andrew Stephenson MP (@Andrew4Pendle) October 24, 2022

There is little evidence of Johnson supporters backing Penny Mordaunt, although ITV’s Paul Brand says Penny Mordaunt’s team are privately claiming to have 100 MP endorsements – the number needed to get her on the ballot paper.

Penny Mordaunt’s team are briefing that they have the numbers this morning. I asked why we can’t see 100 names but they say a lot of the endorsements are remaining private. We’ll find out shortly I guess.

— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) October 24, 2022

According to the Guido Fawkes spreadsheet, Mordaunt has just 31 declared supporters.


Readers have pointed out that Benjamin Disraeli, who was Jewish, was the first minority ethnic prime minister. I’ve corrected the post at 8.02am to say Rishi Sunak would be the first person of colour to be PM.

UPDATE: It would be more accurate to say Disraeli was of Jewish heritage, using today’s terminology. His family was Jewish, but he was baptised into the Church of England.


Grant Shapps, the home secretary and leading Rishi Sunak supporter, was doing interviews this morning on behalf of the former chancellor and runaway favourite for next PM. Here are some of the points he made.

  • Shapps said Sunak did not consider victory “in the bag”. He said:

Rishi doesn’t think that it’s in the bag. He’s speaking to colleagues this morning, he’s working very hard to attract those supporters who were perhaps with Boris Johnson previously.

  • Shapps declined to say that Penny Mordaunt should withdraw from the contest. Asked if she should, he said:

That’s up to Penny Mordaunt and her supporters. What I do know is that Rishi enjoys the support of a large number of Conservative MPs, and there’s a very high nomination threshold of 100.

  • He claimed that Sunak would have a mandate from the 2019 general election. He said:

We elect a party and we elect individuals as members of that party, and the 2019 manifesto is actually the thing - the document, if you like - that Rishi is standing on.

  • He rejected suggestions that Suella Braverman is backing Sunak because Sunak has promised her she can return to her old job as home secretary, which Shapps now has. When this was put to Shapps half-jokingly, he said he was “pretty sure” Sunak had not made that promise to Braverman. Sunak wanted a “free hand” to “build a team of the best people”, Shapps said.


Rishi Sunak leaving his home in London this morning.
Rishi Sunak leaving his home in London this morning. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Michael Gove, the former levelling up secretary, has also urged the Tories to unite behind Rishi Sunak. That is no surprise because he backed Sunak in the summer, after Kemi Badenoch, his first choice for leader, was knocked out of the contest.

It is time now for the Conservative party to unite behind @RishiSunak - there are big challenges ahead and the national interest requires us to show resolution and fortitude under new leadership https://t.co/BAgytuLg5g

— Michael Gove (@michaelgove) October 24, 2022

Former Johnson supporter Priti Patel backs Sunak for Tory leader

Priti Patel, the former home secretary, has become the latest Tory to switch from backing Boris Johnson for the leadership to supporting Rishi Sunak.

In these difficult times for our country we must unite by putting public service first and work together. We care about our country and with the enormous challenges upon us we must put political differences aside to give @RishiSunak the best chance of succeeding.

— Priti Patel MP (@pritipatel) October 24, 2022

Andrea Leadsom, the Tory former cabinet minister and a leading Penny Mordaunt supporter, told Sky News there was “no prospect” of an early general election under Mordaunt because she would have a mandate from the 2019 election.

There is no prospect of an early general election under a Penny Mordaunt leadership. You know, we have a mandate from 2019 from the people to fulfil the promises that we made to them then.

In her memoir Snakes and Ladders Leadsom said she and Mordaunt used to have “a longstanding agreement – only slightly tongue in cheek – from our days as backbenchers that we would have senior roles in each other’s administrations should either of us ever become prime minister”.


Christopher Chope joins other Johnson supporters in calling for general election

Sir Christopher Chope, a Conservative MP who wanted Boris Johnson to replace Liz Truss, told the Today programme this morning that he thought the next prime minister should call a general election to get a mandate. He said:

If people who are now seeking the crown want to have the respect which comes from having a mandate, then what I’m saying is that the best way they can get that respect is by winning a mandate with the people, and that’s why I think a general election is essentially the only answer, otherwise we’re just going to go from bad to worse.

The party is ungovernable in the House of Commons and so we’re going to have continuing rebellions as we try to change policies and so on, and so I must say I’m very pessimistic, I’m very angry, and I feel that Boris has been let down once again and undermined by our parliamentary colleagues.

Most Conservative MPs dread an early general election, because polling suggests they would lose by a landslide. The latest Politico poll of polls gives Labour a 34-point lead. Electoral Calculus, which uses figures giving Labour a 27-point lead, estimates that an election now would lead to Labour winning 507 seats, and the Conservatives getting just 48.

But Chope is not alone, and other Tories – particularly Johnson supporters – have been making the same point. Last night Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary, said she thought a general election was inevitable.

Boris would have won members vote - already had a mandate from the people. Rishi and Penny, despite requests from Boris refused to unite which would have made governing utterly impossible.
Penny actually asked him to step aside for her. It will now be impossible to avoid a GE. https://t.co/8CkvgihOqE

— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) October 23, 2022

Zac Goldsmith, the Foreign Office minister, made the same point yesterday.

I don’t see how we can have a 3rd new Prime Minister - & a policy programme that is miles away from the original manifesto - without going to the country.
Conservative MPs understandably won’t want to and are legally not obliged to, but it will be morally unavoidable.

— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) October 23, 2022

And in his Sunday Telegraph column the Tory peer Daniel Hannan (who worked with Johnson at the Telegraph, and was given a peerage by him) claimed that an early election could even benefit the Tories. He said:

The constitutional case is that circumstances have changed: neither the pandemic nor the war had happened in 2019, manifestos have been overtaken by events, and there is a need for fresh mandates.

The tactical case is that a Labour government elected now is more likely to be short-lived than one elected in two years’ time when the Tories have carried out arduous and unpopular repair-work, and when the economy is recovering.

It is even possible that, if the choice is put starkly enough, the Tories might win.

In his statement yesterday anouncing he would not be a candidate Johnson himself claimed he was “uniquely placed to avert a general election now”, implying that another PM would find it hard to avoid calls to hold one.

Almost all opposition parties are demanding an early election, and a public petition calling for one has now attracted more than 865,000 signatures.


Journalists in Downing Street early this morning.
Journalists in Downing Street early this morning. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA

If Rishi Sunak is named as the new prime minister later today, he will become the UK’s first Hindu premier - and will take up the position on Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

Sunak is a practising Hindu, although he has rarely talked about his faith in public.

Two years ago, when chancellor, he lit candles to mark Diwali on the doorstep of No 11 Downing St at a time when Covid restrictions remained in force. He said: “We’re going to get through this. And it’s going to be so much better on the other side.”

Diwali is a five day festival celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. It is a festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.

This year Diwali takes place from 22 October to 26 October, with the main day of celebration being today.

Lights and candles will be lit on streets and people’s houses, and fireworks will mark the festival. Families will visit relatives for celebratory feasts.

Good morning. I’m Andrew Sparrow, taking over from Helen Sullivan, on a morning when the UK wakes up to learn that one national icon is staging a comeback, but it’s David Tennant as Dr Who (see 6.44am), not Boris Johnson as prime minister. News does not always have to be depressing.

And it looks very, very likely that by the end of the day Rishi Sunak will be the next prime minister. New prime ministers seem to come along quite regularly now, but this will be a more historic handover than the last. If he does become PM, Sunak will be the first person of colour to hold the post. It will be the first time since 1940 that a new PM has taken over for the second time since the previous general election. And it will be the first time since 1834 that the we’ve had three prime ministers in year.

Sunak may also become PM despite have said almost nothing in public about how he intends to govern – although, since he was a candidate in the summer, we do have a policy platform that he set out recently.

We will know soon after 2pm whether or not that is the outcome. That is the time when nominations close and Penny Mordaunt, the only other candidate still in the contest, is struggling to collect 100 names. Since Boris Johnson pulled out of the contest last night, we’ve seen more of his supporters back Sunak than Mordaunt.

We don’t have timings yet, but if Mordaunt fails to get the 100 nominations, or pulls out, then it is possible that Sunak could have an audience with the King later this afternoon to be asked to form a government. He could be doing a speech from No 10 before nightfall.

If Mordaunt does get 100 nominations, there will be a hustings for Tory MPs at 2.30pm, and then they will have an “indicative vote”. This is so that members will know how much support each candidate has amongst MPs. The person coming second (almost certainly Mordaunt) would be under pressure to withdraw at that point, although theoretically the decision could still go to a ballot of members, in which case we would not have a new PM until Friday.


That’s it for me, Helen Sullivan, for today – thanks for following along. Andrew Sparrow will take the helm for the next while, so stay tuned.

The shadow attorney general, Emily Thornberry, has just said on BBC Radio 4 that the Conservatives, “crash the economy and then they say that they have the solution and they won’t let anybody else have a say”.

She has called for a general election, saying that had there been one when Boris Johnson resigned, the recent economic turmoil would have been avoided.

“Isn’t it interesting that we’re now talking about austerity version 2 after the Conservatives crashed the budget when we weren’t talking about it at all in the summer?” she asked, pointing out that the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast has been held back until after a new PM is chosen.


Guy Hands, a long-time Conservative supporter and the founder of the investment firm Terra Firma, has told BBC Radio 4 listeners that the UK economy is “frankly doomed”.

He warned that Britons will face steadily increasing taxes, steadily decreasing social services, higher interest rates and the need for a “bailout from the IMF” in the long term if the next Tory leader doesn’t renegotiate the Brexit deal.

He said that Britain was on track to become the “sick man of Europe”.


Damian Green 'confident' Mordaunt will reach nominations threshold

On BBC Radio 4, Conservative MP for Ashford, Damian Green, who is supporting Penny Mordaunt, has just said that today is a “day to look forward”.

He says he’s “confident” Mordaunt will get the needed number of nominations and that “Penny’s numbers, I know, are well above the published figures”. He refused to name the number, however.

“Penny is the person best positioned to unify the party,” he said.

Asked if Johnson would come back in 2024, Green said, he “desperately hopes” Mordaunt will win today or in the course of this week.


If you’re just joining us, here is a reminder of where things stand:

  • Former prime minister Boris Johnson has ended his bid to return to power within months of being ousted, claiming that although he had the numbers, he would not run to replace Liz Truss, who resigned as Conservative party leader on Thursday after just 45 days in office. Johnson claimed to have won the support of 102 colleagues – two clear of the threshold needed – but only about 60 had publicly stated their support for him.

  • Former chancellor Rishi Sunak appears set to become party leader and prime minister. He ended Sunday with more than 165 supporters ahead of Monday’s nomination deadline.

  • The chances of a general election have risen, according to some estimations. Johnson supporter Nadine Dorries has said an election was now “impossible to avoid”. Labour, which has opened up huge poll leads, is demanding an election. Angela Rayner, the deputy leader, said: “The Tories are about to hand the keys of the country to Rishi Sunak without him saying a single word about how he would govern. No one voted for this. Perhaps it’s not surprising he’s avoiding scrutiny: after all, he was so bad that just a few weeks ago, he was trounced by Liz Truss.”

  • Contender Penny Mordaunt, who missed out on the last contest’s run-off by just eight votes, is now under pressure to concede rather than force the contest to a vote of members. However, a source on the Mordaunt campaign insisted her campaign was continuing and that she wanted to get on the ballot so party members could decide the result.

  • Mordaunt could yet win over any former Johnson supporters who want to stop Sunak. Each needs to submit nominations by 2pm on Monday. If both get more than 100 nominations, 150,000 Tory members will be asked to decide the result.

  • Mordaunt tweeted praise of Johnson early on Monday, saying he had ‘put country before party and party before self’, in what appears to be an attempt to woo Johnson supporters.


Mordaunt: Johnson 'put country before party and party before self'

Penny Mordaunt is awake and tweeting her support of Johnson, saying that he “put country before party, and party before self”. She did not reveal anything about where her own bid stands, but this may signal that she is planning to get the backing of MPs who declared their support for Johnson:

In taking this difficult decision last night @BorisJohnson has put country before party, and party before self. He worked to secure the mandate and the majority we now enjoy.

We should put it to good use, and I know he will work with us to do so.

— Penny Mordaunt (@PennyMordaunt) October 24, 2022


Mordaunt urged to pull out of contest now by ConservativeHome editor, Paul Goodman

A few minutes ago on BBC Radio 4, Paul Goodman, the editor of the website ConservativeHome and a former Conservative MP, urged Penny Mordaunt to pull out of the contest now. He said:

I have to say to Penny Mordaunt, if she’s listening out there, just for the good of the Conservative party in the country, just don’t push it.

Because look at the figures. Rishi Sunak has, according to our count, and other counts are very similar, he’s got 155 supporters. Now 179 is half the parliamentary party. So he’s really almost there.

She’s starting from a base of 26.

And what I think no one in the Conservative party seriously ought to want – I think it certainly would not be in the public interest – for there to be what we faced a few hours ago with Boris Johnson, a ballot in which one candidate won, clearly having the support of MPs, and party members then foisted another one on them without their consent.


From BBC Newsnight’s UK editor, Sima Kotecha

Extraordinary in democratic politics that leader can have top job without spelling out his/her policies - quite apart from wider electorate having say - not even Tory MPs have actually voted for those unvoiced policies

— Sima Kotecha (@sima_kotecha) October 24, 2022


Centre-right thinktank Onward has found that “the Conservatives face oblivion if they do not fully break with Trussonomics” – with a survey of 10,000 people revealing that more than one in three voters “rate their chances of ever voting Conservative at zero per cent”.

Huge 10,000 sample @JLPartnersPolls for @ukonward with loads of interesting data — including that *every constituency in the country* leans right on social issues and left on economic issues 👇 https://t.co/UEG4xB9Il7

— James Johnson (@jamesjohnson252) October 24, 2022

In results published today, the think tank writes:

The Conservative party is now deeply unpopular with great swathes of the public. More than one in three voters (35%) rate their chances of ever voting Conservative at zero per cent and nearly half (46%) rate it as extremely unlikely ( less than 10% likelihood). Meanwhile, Labour leads the Conservatives on every issue excluding defence and Brexit, including a 10-point lead on the cost of living, the most salient issue by a wide margin, and a two-point lead on the economy.

The average Conservative voter is now older than they ever have been. The tipping point at which someone becomes more likely to vote Conservative rather than Labour has risen to 57 years old, up from 43 in 2019. This means that anyone born after 1965 is more likely to vote Labour than Conservative.


After Jodie Whittaker’s tenure as the first woman to lead Doctor Who came to an end with her regenerating into the returning Time Lord David Tennant, a reminder that Liz Truss is the only British PM since the show started in 1963 not to have a single episode air in her time at the top:

Liz Truss is the only PM to not have an episode of #DoctorWho air during their premiership since the show began in 1963.

— Morgan Jeffery (@morganjeffery) October 20, 2022

BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley points out that a lot of people will be paying attention to the last few words in Johnson’s statement last night. Johnson said, “I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time” – which seems to imply that he will be back at some stage.


Stephen McPartland, the member for Stevenage who backed Johnson – using the hashtag “#BringBackBoris” multiple times in the last few days – has just tweeted that he “respects Johnson’s decision” and that he “stood aside in the national interest”:

I respect @BorisJohnson’s decision. It is clear he would win amongst the members & I have seen he had the numbers to be nominated. He has stood aside in national interest as he believes you need 2/3 of MPs to govern effectively.

— Rt Hon Stephen McPartland (@SMcPartland) October 24, 2022

He has not yet said who he will be supporting instead.


The pound rose slightly after former UK prime minister Boris Johnson said he would not stand for the Conservative leadership again, after the resignation of Liz Truss last week.

The pound was up at $1.1318 against the dollar this morning, from $1.1258 on Friday. The Euro, too, fell against the pound, down at 86.93 pence from 87.26 pence.

His decision leaves his former finance minister Rishi Sunak the favourite to take the reins and become the country’s third premier this year.

The choice of the less-controversial Sunak could provide a little stability in Westminster after weeks of turmoil sparked by Truss’s debt-fuelled mini-budget that hammered the pound and sent shivers through markets.

I’m Helen Sullivan, with for the next while. If you have questions or see news we may have missed, you can get in touch on Twitter here.

We’re expected to hear from Nadhim Zahawi, who made a dizzying U-turn from supporting Johnson to supporting Sunak yesterday, on Sky News at 07.05 this morning.

Grant Shapps, the home secretary and another Sunak supporter, will be on BBC Breakfast at 0710, Sky News at 0720, GMB and Times Radio at 0750, and LBC at 0820.

In more news on what the new PM will inherit: the NHS is launching an effort to recruit tens of thousands of nurses to help fill the record number of vacancies that low pay, Covid and heavy workloads have created across the service.

It comes soon after NHS figures showed that the number of empty posts in nursing across hospitals, mental health, community care and other services had reached 46,828 – the largest number ever. That means that more than one in 10 nursing roles (11.8%) are unfilled across the service overall.

The Health Service Journal recently reported that a record number of NHS staff – almost 35,000 – voluntarily resigned from their posts between April and June this year, with “work-life balance” the most common reason for doing so.

Almost 40,000 nurses quit the NHS over the last year – again, the most ever – recent analysis by the Nuffield Trust found.

In 2019, the then prime minister, Boris Johnson, promised to boost the number of nurses in England by 50,000 by 2024:

It won’t be Boris Johnson, but whoever the new prime minister turns out to be, they will have been dragged into office by “economic orthodoxy” and its henchmen. Their mandate is pre-written in the data you have been deluged with about the impact of unfunded tax cuts, from the depreciation of the pound to rises in interest rates, and the untenable upward effect this has had on mortgages and rents. The charts have spoken – an ideological experiment has gone terribly wrong and must be reversed.

But it is a tale of two crises, and only one is being told. Attracting far less fanfare is another set of statistics about cold and hunger. More than a million people are expected to be pushed into poverty this winter. Their slide into deprivation will test an informal support network already stretched to its limit. Last week, the food bank charity the Trussell Trust launched an emergency appeal for donations because need for food banks has now outstripped donations. Charities like this, private citizens and schools are mobilising to bridge the gap.

The hole is too large to plug. Half of all primary schools in England are trying to feed children in poverty who are ineligible for free school meals because their parents’ income does not meet the threshold. But there are 800,000 of them. It can be hard sometimes to grasp the scale of the problem through bare statistics, but vivid and haunting details can flesh them out. Children are eating school rubbers to line their stomachs and dull the ache and nausea of hunger. Others are bringing in empty lunchboxes then pretending to dine on their phantom food away from classmates, too ashamed to reveal that they have nothing to eat.

If these children’s families can’t afford to eat, they definitely can’t afford to keep warm as winter approaches and energy prices rocket:

The front pages

Boris Johnson’s sudden exit from the Tory leadership race fills the UK front pages on Monday, with some throwing forward to Sunak’s likely success in the race ahead.

Here is a roundup by my colleague Jonathan Yerushalmy:

If he finds himself as prime minister, possibly as soon as Monday, Sunak will have to find depths of political creativity and diplomacy to deal with a nightmare in-tray. He has been an MP for just seven years, and was a cabinet minister for only two, and even colleagues who back him for the premiership acknowledge he has no breadth of experience across departments to prepare him for the multiple crises piling up on all fronts.

From the NHS still struggling with Covid, to the economic situation, to the prospect of energy blackouts and a threatened winter of discontent with strikes, the UK is facing a phenomenally difficult six months.

The Conservatives are also deeply divided in parliament. A broad spectrum of MPs have come out for Sunak, from Suella Braverman and Steve Baker on the right to Bob Neill and Stephen Hammond from the centrist wing, and he will have made many promises in order to extract such support, from Eurosceptics in particular.

Many of the dilemmas that Truss faced still remain. Does he go for growth on the back of higher immigration, or stick to post-Brexit promises of tougher curbs? Can he keep to Johnson’s 2019 promises of no return to austerity, or will he argue that the current market conditions mean cuts are essential?

Does he ask the public to try to cut back their energy use to avoid winter blackouts? Will he take a conciliatory position towards striking public sector workers or try to turn it into a culture war issue with Labour? No one knows, because he has done no media interviews since Truss resigned on Thursday:

Sajid Javid is awake and has shared an op-ed he has written in today’s Times.

Javid, who voiced his support for Sunak on Saturday, makes the case in the piece for the importance of a united Conservative party which needs to win back the trust of voters, pointing out that the British public feel lately that the Conservative party is neither popular nor “competent in acting in the national interest”:

We may not have always been popular but we have been seen to be competent in acting in the national interest. Sadly, the public are increasingly concluding we are neither. As it stands, Sir Keir Starmer is on course to win a Blair-size majority at the next general election.

The long-term consequences of such a victory would be disastrous. We know that support for proportional representation, a lower voting age of sixteen, and changes to rules on political donations is deep-rooted within Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP. We would be left in the political wilderness for years under a series of coalition governments.

He describes Sunak as “adept at building a strong team, devising policy and communicating to the public”:

It’s time to set aside our differences, roll our sleeves up, and focus on the national interest.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. But a united party under @RishiSunak’s leadership can meet the scale of the challenge. https://t.co/PinRNyKJ1x

— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) October 24, 2022


Penny Mordaunt has at least 30 backers – 70 short of number needed by 2 p.m.

Johnson’s withdrawal from the race late on Sunday puts pressure on Penny Mordaunt, the third candidate in the race, to withdraw and accept that Sunak had the support of the parliamentary party, with almost half of MPs backing him. She had only 30 public backers by Sunday night – 70 short of the number needed to get on the ballot paper.

A source on the Mordaunt campaign insisted her campaign was continuing and that she wanted to get on the ballot so party members could decide the result.

“Penny is the unifying candidate who is most likely to keep the wings of the Conservative party together and polling shows that she is the most likely candidate to hold on to the seats the Conservative party gained in 2019. [Former shadow chancellor] Ed Balls, shadow cabinet ministers and Labour advisers have all said Penny is the candidate Keir Starmer fears the most.”

Sunak is expected to sweep up many more Tory MPs on Monday morning given he has the momentum, but Mordaunt could win over any former Johnson supporters who want to stop him. The pair need to submit nominations by 2pm on Monday, and 150,000 Tory members will be asked to decide the result if they both get more than 100 nominations.

Rishi Sunak has at least 165 nominations

Rishi Sunak is the firm favourite in today’s race. Sunak came second in the race against Liz Truss over the summer, but racked up nominations over the weekend, ranging from rightwingers such as Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman to more centrist figures such as Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, and Grant Shapps, the home secretary.

He ended Sunday on more than 165 supporters including Cabinet Office minister Nadhim Zahawi, who had hours earlier heralded the return of what he termed “Johnson 2.0”.

A source close to Sunak told my colleague Rowena Mason that he was “not taking anything for granted”. “Rishi will be continuing to talk to colleagues tomorrow morning before nomination papers go in, and discussing how best to unite the party and take the country forward,” the campaign source said. If he succeeds he would become Britain’s first non-white PM and, as a Hindu, his victory would be sealed on Diwali.

Following Johnson’s withdrawal late on Sunday, Sunak praised his political rival noting on Twitter that Johnson “delivered Brexit and the great vaccine roll-out” and “led our country through some of the toughest challenges we have ever faced”. Britain would “always be grateful to him for that”, he wrote, adding, “I truly hope he continues to contribute to public life at home and abroad.”

Early morning summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the Tory party leadership contest. With the 2pm deadline for nominations approaching, at least 165 MPs have declared support for Rishi Sunak – well above the 100 needed. With Boris Johnson out of the running, Sunak’s only rival is Penny Mordaunt, who on Sunday night had 30 supporters.

The pair need to submit nominations by 2pm on Monday, and 150,000 Tory members will be asked to decide the result if they both get more than 100 nominations.

My name is Helen Sullivan, and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next while. If you have questions or see news we may have missed, you can get in touch on Twitter here.

In the meantime, here is a summary of what happened on an eventful Sunday.

  • Former prime minister Boris Johnson has ended his bid to return to power within months of being ousted, claiming that although he had the numbers, he would not run to replace Liz Truss, who resigned as Conservative party leader on Thursday after just 45 days in office. Johnson claimed to have won the support of 102 colleagues – two clear of the threshold needed – but only about 60 had publicly stated their support for him.

  • Johnson said he reached the decision reluctantly after recognising he would not lead “a united party in parliament”. He said, “In the course of the last days I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do,” and, “You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament.” Read his full statement here.

  • Former chancellor Rishi Sunak praised Johnson on Twitter late on Sunday, noting Johnson “delivered Brexit and the great vaccine roll-out” and “led our country through some of the toughest challenges we have ever faced”. Britain would “always be grateful to him for that”, he wrote, adding, “I truly hope he continues to contribute to public life at home and abroad.”

  • Sunak appears set to become party leader and prime minister. He ended Sunday with more than 165 supporters ahead of Monday’s nomination deadline. Sunak came second in the race against Truss over the summer.

  • The chances of a general election have risen, according to some estimations. Johnson supporter Nadine Dorries has said an election was now “impossible to avoid”. Labour, which has opened up huge poll leads, is demanding an election. Angela Rayner, the deputy leader, said: “The Tories are about to hand the keys of the country to Rishi Sunak without him saying a single word about how he would govern. No one voted for this. Perhaps it’s not surprising he’s avoiding scrutiny: after all, he was so bad that just a few weeks ago, he was trounced by Liz Truss.”

  • Contender Penny Mordaunt, who missed out on the last contest’s run-off by just eight votes, will now come under pressure to concede rather than force the contest to a vote of members. However a source on the Mordaunt campaign insisted her campaign was continuing and that she wanted to get on the ballot so party members could decide the result.

  • Johnson and Sunak held talks late into Saturday night, according to reports. The ex-leader also reportedly spoke on Sunday to Mordaunt, who was said to have rebuffed his calls to back him, noting her supporters were likely to split more for Sunak.

  • Mordaunt could yet win over any former Johnson supporters who want to stop Sunak. Each needs to submit nominations by 2pm on Monday. If both get more than 100 nominations, 150,000 Tory members will be asked to decide the result.

  • Sunak launched his official campaign with a declaration that “fixing the economy” was his priority, but he gave no media interviews or formal manifesto. If Sunak succeeds on Monday he will become Britain’s first non-white PM, and as a Hindu, his victory will be sealed on Diwali.

  • Mordaunt spoke to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday, telling her she would be a “halfway house” between Sunak and Johnson but refused to be drawn on any economic policies or decisions on tax and spending.

  • A survey by Conservative pollster James Johnson still found all three Tory candidates had negative favourability. The survey found that Johnson was on -24, Mordaunt -15 and Sunak -2.



Harry Taylor, Andrew Sparrow, Ben Quinn and Helen Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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