Rishi Sunak has promised to “fix” the mistakes made by Liz Truss in his first speech as prime minister.
Speaking from outside 10 Downing Street, Sunak paid tribute to his predecessor, saying he “admired her restlessness to create change”.
“She was not wrong to want to improve growth in this country – it is a noble aim,” he said.
But in a stinging attack on her 49 days in office, he added: “But some mistakes were made.
“Not born of ill-will or bad intention – quite the opposite in fact. But mistakes, nonetheless.
“And I have been elected as leader of my party and your prime minister in part to fix them.
“And that work begins immediately.”
Sunak also turned his fire on former prime minister Boris Johnson, saying that while he was “grateful” to him for his “incredible achievements as prime minister”, “the mandate my party earned in 2019 is not the sole property of any one individual”.
From the outset Sunak was the favourite to succeed Truss among MPs, receiving the backing of more than half of the parliamentary party.
Mordaunt’s decision to pull out of the contest meant the vote did not go to party members — a point that has caused some consternation among MPs.
But in a speech to his party on Monday, Sunak warned his colleagues to “unite or die” in the face of a “profound economic challenge”.
Sunak repeated that he would place “economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda” and warned that “difficult decisions” would have to be made.
However he said he would bring “compassion to the challenges we face today”.
“Trust is earned and I will earn yours,” he said.
Later today Sunak is expected to make top appointments to his Cabinet team.
The prime minister has pledged to lead a Cabinet of “all the talents”, which has led to speculation that former levelling up secretary Michael Gove could return to government.
Sunak’s leadership rival Penny Mordaunt is also said to covet the role of foreign secretary, while Oliver Dowden, who ran Sunak’s leadership campaign in the summer, could also be given a top job.