In his first speech as Britain’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak on Tuesday pledged to lead a government of “integrity, professionalism and accountability at all levels”. Here is his speech in full:
I have just visited Buckingham Palace and accepted His Majesty’s invitation to form a government in his name. It is right that I explain why I am standing here as the new Prime Minister.
Our country is now facing a deep economic crisis. The effects of Covid still linger. Putin’s war in Ukraine has destabilized energy markets and supply chains around the world.
I want to salute my predecessor, Liz Truss. She was not wrong in her desire to improve growth in this country – a noble goal – and she admired her concern for bringing about change.
But some mistakes were made – not borne out by bad faith or bad intentions, quite the contrary, in fact – but mistakes nonetheless. And I have been elected as the leader of my party, and your prime minister, in part, to fix it. This work begins immediately.
I will put economic stability and confidence at the center of this government’s agenda. This means making tough decisions. But you’ve seen me during Covid, doing everything I can to protect people and businesses, with schemes like vacation.
There are always limits, more than ever, but I promise you this: I will bring the same empathy to the challenges we face today.
The government I lead would not leave the next generation, your children and grandchildren, with debts to settle because we were too weak to pay ourselves.
I will unite our country, not with words, but with action.
I will work day in and day out to deliver to you.
This government will enjoy integrity, professionalism, and accountability at all levels.
And trust earned. I will earn you.
I will always be grateful to Boris Johnson for his remarkable accomplishments as Prime Minister, and I appreciate his warmth and generosity of spirit.
And I know he will agree that the mandate my party received in 2019 is not the sole property of any individual, but a mandate that belongs to us and unites us all.
The essence of that mandate is our statement. I will deliver on its promise: a stronger NHS, better schools, safer streets, control our borders, protect our environment, support our armed forces, scale up and build an economy that embraces the prospects of Brexit, where businesses invest, innovate and create jobs.
I understand how difficult this moment is.
After the billions of pounds it has cost us to fight Covid, after all the turmoil in the midst of a horrific war that must be successfully seen to its conclusions, I fully appreciate how difficult things are. And I understand, too, that I have to work on restoring trust after all that has happened.
All I can say is that I’m not afraid. I know the high position I have accepted, and I hope to live up to his demands.
But when you have the opportunity to serve, you cannot question the moment, only your willingness.
So I stand here before you ready to lead our country into the future, put your needs above politics, reach out and build a government that represents the best traditions of my party.
Together we can achieve incredible things.
We will create a future worthy of the sacrifices made by so many and fill it tomorrow and every day after that with hope.
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