Boris Johnson has congratulated new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and urged Conservatives to give him “their full and wholehearted support”.
The former PM’s words came after he dropped out of the Tory leadership race – claiming he had the nominations needed to make it on to the ballot paper but admitting he could not unite the party.
His withdrawal meant the leadership contest ended on Monday.
Shortly after Mr Sunak’s first speech as Prime Minister on Tuesday, Mr Johnson tweeted: “Congratulations to Rishi Sunak on this historic day, this is the moment for every Conservative to give our new PM their full and wholehearted support.”
Boris Johnson has congratulated new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Jonathan Brady
Rishi Sunak HANNAH MCKAY
The former premier offered his congratulations a day later than messages from outgoing PM Liz Truss and Mr Sunak’s fellow leadership hopeful, Penny Mordaunt.
In a statement on Sunday evening, Mr Johnson said there was a “very good chance” he could have been back in No 10 by the end of the week if he had stood.
However his efforts to “reach out” to his rivals – Mr Sunak and Ms Mordaunt – to work together in the national interest had not been successful so he was dropping out.
In his first speech since becoming Prime Minister, Mr Sunak warned the nation is facing a “profound economic crisis” as he pledged to fix the “mistakes” of Liz Truss’s leadership.
In his speech from Downing Street, Mr Sunak said it was “only right to explain why I’m standing here as your new Prime Minister”, saying: “Right now our country is facing a profound economic crisis.”
He said it is the lingering aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and Vladimir Putin’s destabilising war in Ukraine.
Mr Sunak said Ms Truss was “not wrong” to want to drive up growth, describing it as a “noble aim”.
He added: “But some mistakes were made. Not born of ill-will or bad intentions – quite the opposite in fact. But mistakes nonetheless.
“I’ve been elected as leader of my party and your Prime Minister in part to fix them – and that work begins immediately.”