Rishi Sunak will be named as Britain’s 57th Prime Minister today, after his closest rival Penny Mordaunt conceded defeat in the Tory leadership race.
Sunak won the support of an overwhelming majority of Tory MPs, paving the way for him to take over power at N0.10.
Mordaunt failed to secure the support of 100 colleagues, meaning that Sunak will now become Britain’s first PM of Indian heritage.
Conceding defeat, Mordaunt said: “We have now chosen our next Prime Minister. This decision is a historic one and shows, once again, the diversity and talent of our party. Rishi has my full support.
“I am proud of the campaign we ran and grateful to all those, across all sides of our party, who gave me their backing.”
Sunak, who lost the previous leadership battle to Liz Truss just last month, will become the youngest prime minister for more than 200 years – a year younger than the current record-holder, David Cameron, who was 43 when he became PM in 2010.
Boris Johnson, who was outed as PM in September, had also considered a return to power. He arrived home from a Caribbean holiday as he plotted a return to No 10, less than two months after being kicked from the corridors of power following a series of scandals.
In a statement yesterday evening, Johnson said there was a “very good chance” he could have been back in No 10 by the end of the week, but admitted he could not unite the Tories.
Sunak also praised predecessor Truss in his victory speech.
“I’d like to pay tribute to Liz Truss for her dedicated public service to the country. She has led with dignity and grace through a time of great change and under exceptionally difficult circumstances both at home and abroad,” he said.
“I am humbled and honoured to have the support of my parliamentary colleagues and to be elected as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.
“It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to serve the party I love and give back to the country I owe so much to.
“The United Kingdom is a great country. 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.”
A timetable for the transition of power is yet to be confirmed, but Sunak is expected to become PM by the end of the week.