Rishi Sunak's first day: Vowing to fix Truss' 'mistakes' and Cabinet overhaul

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston assesses Rishi Sunak's new Cabinet, as Liz Truss exits Downing Street

Meeting the King, overhauling the Cabinet, addressing the nation - and even apparently picking a new lectern - Rishi Sunak had a busy first day as prime minister.

In an extraordinary turn of events, Mr Sunak replaced Liz Truss at No 10 just seven weeks after he lost out to her in a previous leadership race.

Here are the key moments from Mr Sunak's first 24 hours in power:

Liz Truss gives a farewell speech

Liz Truss stressed the need to be ‘bold’ in her farewell speech.

After seven chaotic weeks as prime minister, Ms Truss left Downing Street for the last time.

The outgoing PM gave a speech outside No 10, in which she insisted tax cuts should be praised.

She also said her reversal of the national insurance hike - imposed by Mr Sunak when he was chancellor - should be celebrated.

Liz Truss clapped out of Downing Street before giving her final speech as PM. Credit: Flickr

The nation continues to “battle through a storm”, Ms Truss warned, but “brighter days lie ahead”.

The outgoing prime minister then travelled to Buckingham Palace to formally tender her resignation to the King.

King Charles invites the former chancellor to form a government

King Charles meets Rishi Sunak at Buckingham Palace. Credit: PA

Charles performed his duty as head of state and formally appointed Mr Sunak as the country’s third prime minister this year.

Sweets marking Diwali, a Hindu festival, were laid out on a table in Buckingham Palace as Mr Sunak accepted his appointment. Mr Sunak is the UK's first Hindu prime minister.

The new PM addresses the nation

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street, Mr Sunak vowed to fix the “mistakes” of Liz Truss’s leadership and warned of “difficult decisions” ahead.

He promised to "earn" the nation's trust as it stares down a "profound economic crisis".

Mr Sunak also said his predecessor, whose 49 days in office made her the shortest-lasting PM in history, was “not wrong” to want to drive up growth, describing it as a “noble aim”.

New Prime Minister Rishi Sunak clapped in by those in Downing Street. Credit: Flickr/Number 10

“But some mistakes were made. Not born of ill will or bad intentions – quite the opposite, in fact. But mistakes nonetheless,” he added. “I’ve been elected as leader of my party and your prime minister, in part, to fix them – and that work begins immediately.”

Mr Sunak also said he will “always be grateful” to Boris Johnson for his “incredible achievements” in No 10.

Robert Peston on new prime minister Rishi Sunak's Cabinet appointments

The pound surges

As he took office, the pound struck its highest level since before the mini-budget announcement last month.

Sterling lifted 1.9% higher to 1.149 against the US dollar, while gilt yields, which determine the interest that the government pays on some of its loans, were 0.1 percentage points lower at 3.65%.

Mr Sunak reshuffles the cabinet

Jeremy Hunt and Suella Braverman were reappointed to key government roles.

After making his speech and officially moving in, the new PM began to shape his government.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who was brought in to steady Ms Truss’s ailing government and has been working towards a highly-anticipated Halloween fiscal statement, was reappointed as chancellor.

No 10 also announced that Suella Braverman would return as home secretary. Just under a week ago, Ms Braverman said she had breached a security protocol and consequently resigned from the role.

James Cleverly and Ben Wallace will continue on as foreign secretary and defence secretary respectively, having filled these positions during Liz Truss' premiership.

Former justice secretary Brandon Lewis and business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg had both already resigned from their Cabinet positions on Tuesday morning.

Kit Malthouse, the education secretary; Jake Berry, the Conservative party chair; Robert Buckland, the Welsh secretary and Ranil Jayawardena, the environment secretary were also among those who resigned from the Cabinet.

The opposition takes aim

Sir Keir Starmer claimed Mr Sunak would be a "weak" prime minister.

As Mr Sunak began his PM duties, Sir Keir Starmer claimed he would be a "weak" prime minister, who would put the interests of his party before the country.

Speaking to the shadow cabinet, the Labour leader said: “Rishi Sunak stabbed Boris Johnson in the back when he thought he could get his job. And in the same way, he will now try and disown the Tory record of recent years and recent months and pretend that he is a new broom.”

Meanwhile, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting reiterated Labour’s call for a general election, saying “the public are clamouring for a say”.

Rishi Sunak resigned as Boris Johnson’s chancellor in July Credit: Leon Neal/PA

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford claimed Mr Sunak is scared of going to the country, with polls suggesting a substantial Labour majority could be returned.

Mr Sunak won the Tory leadership contest without a vote being cast after rivals Penny Mordaunt and Mr Johnson dropped out.

He now has the daunting task of leading the nation through a cost of living crisis only exacerbated by the Ms Truss' legacy.

'It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to serve the party I love and to give back to the country I owe so much to,' Rishi Sunak said

He also faces a wave of industrial unrest as strikes roll on, a buckling health service, and the risk of a nuclear escalation from Russian president Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine.

Mr Sunak’s ascendency from MP to PM is the fastest in modern political history, having first won the constituency of Richmond in North Yorkshire in 2015.

However, his journey to the top job has not been without its hitches, having been fined alongside Mr Johnson for breaching coronavirus rules and having faced questions over his wife Akshata Murty’s “non-dom” status for tax purposes.

On Wednesday, he will face a fresh challenge on his second day in the job - his first Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) as leader.

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