The Daily Telegraph reports
Rishi Sunak has told Tory MPs that the Conservative Party faces a choice of “unite or die” after he was crowned as Liz Truss’s successor.
Mr Sunak addressed a closed-doors meeting of the 1922 Committee in the Houses of Parliament this afternoon and he stressed the importance of Tory unity in the weeks ahead.
The new Conservative leader reportedly told MPs that “we’re united behind the policy and now cannot afford the indulgence of division over personality”.
One MP who was present said Mr Sunak had told the meeting: “We have one chance. It is unite or die.”
Grant Shapps: Tories ‘must now pull together’
Home Secretary Grant Shapps has called on the Conservative Party to “pull together” following Rishi Sunak’s victory.
He tweeted: “Great result for @RishiSunak. And the right result for the country.
“The Tory party must now pull together to restore economic stability and deliver for the British people.”
Rishi Sunak arrives at Tory HQ
Rishi Sunak has now arrived at Conservative Party headquarters in central London.
He was welcomed by cheers and applause from the assembled Tory MPs as he got out of his car.
Mr Sunak shook hands as he made his way up the steps of the building and waved to the media when he got to the top before heading inside.
Rishi Sunak set to arrive at Conservative Party HQ
Rishi Sunak, the new Tory leader, is set to arrive at Conservative Party headquarters in central London.
Dozens of MPs have gathered to greet him. Jake Berry, the Tory chairman, will welcome Mr Sunak.
Rishi Sunak ‘reaffirms commitment to levelling up’
Rishi Sunak told backbenchers that he is committed to levelling up and low taxation- but only when it is affordable, writes Camilla Turner.
One MP in the room said: “He reaffirmed the whole agenda of levelling up. And that we are in support of low taxation but we only do that when the time is right, when it is affordable, when it is liberal.
“And that has been the lesson of the last few weeks – that unfunded delivery isn’t good politics, isn’t good for markets.
“But a reaffirmation of those basic Conservative principles – support enterprise, support business, the engine that funds our health service.”
Sunak ‘rules out early general election’
Simon Hoare, a senior Tory MP, said that Rishi Sunak told the party this afternoon that there will be no early general election.
Mr Hoare told reporters: “He is actually going to hit the ground running. We have no time to lose. Certainly, he said that there will be no early general election.”
‘Unite or die’
A Red Wall MP said Rishi Sunak described Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt as “all good Conservative colleagues and friends” when he addressed the 1922 Committee.
The Tory leader told MPs “we’re united behind the policy and now cannot afford the indulgence of division over personality”, the source said.
The MP said Mr Sunak told the party: “We have one chance. It is unite or die.”
There were three standing ovations and “the mood was electric”, the source said, adding they had “never seen anything like it before at the 1922”.
Sunak stresses unity in address to Tory MPs
A Tory MP said Rishi Sunak’s message to the party when he addressed the 1922 Committee this afternoon was “we must unite or die and deliver for our country”.
The MP, who was in the private meeting where new leader Mr Sunak spoke, said his message was “we are united on all the key issues”.
‘He certainly won an election this week’
Health Secretary Therese Coffey, a close confident of the outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss, said it is “absolutely crucial” that the party gets behind Rishi Sunak.
She said: “The parliamentary party is behind Rishi Sunak. It is absolutely crucial that we deliver and get behind him. I will do whatever I can do support him.”
Asked whether he is an election winner, Ms Coffey paused then said: “He certainly won an election this week.”
Nicola Sturgeon demands early general election
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged Rishi Sunak to call an early general election.
She tweeted: “Congratulations to @RishiSunak, I wish him well and, notwithstanding our political differences, will do my best to build a constructive working relationship with him in the interests of those we serve.
“That he becomes the first British Asian, indeed the first from any minority ethnic background, to become PM is a genuinely significant moment. It certainly makes this a special #Diwali.
“As for the politics, I’d suggest one immediate decision he should take and one he certainly should not. He should call an early general election. And he should not, must not, unleash another round of austerity. Our public services will not withstand that.”
Rishi Sunak greeted with banging of desks
Rishi Sunak has now entered the 1922 Committee room in Parliament to address backbench Tory MPs for the first time as their new party leader and Prime Minister.
As he walked down the corridor he was flanked by some of his most loyal supporters including Treasury select Committee chairman Mel Stride and his former ministerial aide Claire Coutinho.
Mr Sunak was greeted by enthusiastic desk banging as he entered the room.
James Cleverly: ‘We have to focus on delivery’
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who originally backed Boris Johnson, said the Conservative Party needs to unite around Rishi Sunak.
Mr Cleverly, who switched to Mr Sunak after Mr Johnson pulled out, told Sky News: “We have absolutely got to focus on the needs of the British people.
“That means uniting round the prime minister. We don’t have the luxury of argument and division. We have to focus on delivery for the British people.”
He said he believed Mr Sunak would appoint a cabinet drawing on all wings of the party.
“We have got incredible talent in the parliamentary party. We have got to have the first XV on the pitch. I know that Rishi understands that,” he said.
Tory chairman issues call for unity
Conservative Party chairman Sir Jake Berry has called for an end to Tory infighting after Rishi Sunak was crowned Tory leader.
He said: “I’d like to congratulate Rishi Sunak on becoming the new leader of our party.
“Now is the time for the whole party to come together and unite four-square behind Rishi, as he gets on with the vital work of tackling the challenges we face as a country.
“The time for internal debates is well and truly over, and led by Rishi Sunak, I know we can and will deliver on the priorities of the British people.”
Penny Mordaunt: ‘I am going to support the new PM’
Camilla Turner, The Telegraph’s chief political correspondent, is stood outside the committee room in Parliament where Rishi Sunak is addressing MPs.
She reports that there was loud desk banging as Penny Mordaunt entered the room.
Asked how she was doing on her way into the room, Ms Mordaunt said: “I’m good, I’m going to support the new PM”.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, right, said: “I’d like to congratulate Rishi Sunak on becoming the new Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, and look forward to working with him for the good of Scotland and the whole United Kingdom.
“Our country – like others around the world – faces tough economic challenges. Against that backdrop, it’s important that we have someone at the helm with a proven track record in running the nation’s finances, who can provide economic stability and reassurance to the markets.
“Recent weeks have been difficult and unsettling for both the Conservative Party and, more importantly, the country. Now all our focus must be on bringing the nation together and navigating the tough economic conditions we face.
“As he showed during his time as Chancellor – not least in safeguarding one in three Scottish jobs during the pandemic through the furlough scheme – Rishi Sunak is uniquely well equipped for that task.”