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United Kingdom: Rishi Sunak resigns as leader of the Conservative Party

The former British Prime Minister decided to step down after winning only 121 seats, the worst result for the Conservatives since the political party was founded in 1834.

July 5, 2024, London, England, United Kingdom: Outgoing UK Prime Minister RISHI SUNAK leaves 10 Downing Street with a speech with his wife after his party has been defeated in snap general election. (Credit Image: © Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire)

Former British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made an appearance just minutes before resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.ZUMAPRESS.com / Cordon Press

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Rishi Sunak announced Friday that he will resign as leader of the Conservative Party. After 14 years in office, the party was defeated and ceded power to Labour's Keir Starmen. The Conservative Party experienced the worst election result since the party was founded in 1834. The former prime minister of the United Kingdom announced that he will not only step down but also relinquish the position of leader of the opposition to another party member.

He did so during his last appearance as British Prime Minister. In front of the steps of No. 10 Downing Street, Sunak admitted to being solely responsible for the Conservative debacle:

"To the country I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry. I have given this job my all, but you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgment that matters."Rishi Sunak, former UK Prime Minister.

Along with this, the former prime minister acknowledged that, despite having tried to solve the crisis the country was experiencing when he took office nearly 20 months ago, he had not succeeded. He said that, after the election results, he heard the "anger and disappointment" of the British people:

"I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss to all the Conservative candidates and activists who are working tirelessly but unsuccessfully."Rishi Sunak, former prime minister of the United Kingdom.

These and other reasons led him to step down as leader of the Conservative Party. His resignation, however, will not be immediate. It has yet to be decided who will be his replacement and, until then, Sunak will remain the leader of the opposition.

Among the names being discussed to take over the leadership of the conservatives, reports the BBC, are Kemi Badenoch, Tom Tugendhat, Suella Braverman and even Robert Jenrick, once an ally but later a critic of Sunak's job as prime minister. 

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak will have time to adjust to his new life away from Downing Street. The residence is now occupied by Labour's Keir Starmen, whom Sunak congratulated just before heading to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to King Charles III.

"He is a decent, public-spirited man."Rishi Sunak, on his successor Labour's Keir Starmen.

Sunak ended his appearance by assuring that the successes of the new British prime minister "will be all our successes."

He asked his party colleagues as well as the British citizens for "the very best of our understanding" while Keir Starmen and his wife adapt to the responsibilities of their new public roles.