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Rishi Sunak resigns as UK Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak on Friday resigned as UK’s prime minister after meeting the King at Buckingham Palace. In a final Downing Street speech, Sunak said he would also step down as Conservative Party leader, but not immediately.

The 44-year-old former financier gambled on going to the polls six months before he had to, hoping that better economic data would swing public support back towards the Tories.

But Thursday’s vote indicated that Britons wanted to send a clear message to the party by kicking them out of power after 14 years of economic hardships, Brexit upheaval and Tory infighting.

“To the country, I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry,” he said outside the Prime Minister’s residence at Downing Street, before heading to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation as prime minister to King Charles III.

“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 judgement that matters.”

“I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

The scale of the defeat made it inevitable that Sunak — the conservative party’s fifth leader since 2010 — would have to step down as Tory head as well.

But he said that he would stay on in the role until the arrangements were made for an internal leadership contest, which is expected to be a fight for the ideological soul of the party.

Sunak saw a record number of his top ministerial team lose their seats, including defence secretary Grant Shapps and House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt.

His immediate predecessor as prime minister, Liz Truss, also lost her seat.

Sunak — an observant Hindu who is Britain’s first prime minister of colour — wished his successor Keir Starmer well, calling him “a decent, public-spirited man who I respect”.