"We all owe it to the country, to each other and to Rishi"
Rishi Sunak is set to be the first-ever British-Indian Prime Minister of the UK, with his victory coming on Diwali.
He won the race after his nearest rival Penny Mordaunt dropped out of the race just two minutes before the 2 pm deadline.
At 2 pm, Sir Graham Brady announced they only received one nomination for the new leader of the Conservative Party.
In a lengthy statement, Ms Mordaunt said:
“Our Party is our membership. Whether we are elected representatives, activists, fundraisers or supporters. We all have a stake in who our leader is.
“These are unprecedented times. Despite the compressed timetable for the leadership contest it is clear that colleagues feel we need certainty today.
“They have taken this decision in good faith for the good of the country.
“Members should know that this proposition has been fairly and thoroughly tested by the agreed 1922 process.
“As a result, we have now chosen our next Prime Minister.
“This decision is an 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.
“We all owe it to the country, to each other and to Rishi to unite and work together for the good of the nation. There is much work to be done.”
— Penny Mordaunt (@PennyMordaunt) October 24, 2022
Mr Sunak’s other contender Boris Johnson pulled out on October 23.
Mr Johnson had claimed he had reached 102 backers.
However, many Tory MPs were sceptical that the ex-PM had the numbers. It was revealed that the number of his public backers was stuck at little more than 50.
Mr Johnson had said: “There is a very good chance that I would be successful in the election with Conservative party members — and that I could indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday.
“But in the course of the last days, I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do.
“You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament.”
Around half of all Tory MPs had declared their support for Mr Sunak, including the likes of Nadhim Zahawi and Priti Patel.
As Mr Sunak closed in on victory, the pound rose 0.4% higher at $1.134.
During the summer leadership election, Rishi Sunak had been the favourite but lost out to Liz Truss.
He had stated that tackling soaring inflation was more important than tax cut promises by Ms Truss. However, it went down badly, with Mr Sunak calling her plan a “fairytale”.
But Mr Sunak appeared to have been proven right as Ms Truss’ economic plan led to the pound plunging to an all-time low.
Ms Truss ended up resigning as PM just 44 days into the job, making her the shortest-serving Prime Minister in history.
Falling on Diwali, Rishi Sunak’s victory makes him the UK’s first non-white and Hindu leader.
The UK’s first minority Prime Minister was Benjamin Disraeli in 1874.
Mr Sunak is expected to be officially appointed as PM by King Charles III on October 25 but it could be as early as tonight.
It will be interesting to see what he will do to improve the economy.