Politicians across Oxfordshire have reacted to news Rishi Sunak is the country’s 57th Prime Minister.

The MP for Richmond (Yorks) and former chancellor has risen to the top of British politics and will succeed Liz Truss.

Outgoing PM Ms Truss announced she would step down from the role on October 20 after just 45 days, making her the United Kingdom’s shortest serving Prime Minister.

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Mr Sunak was guaranteed the job when Penny Mordaunt pulled out of the leadership race this afternoon.

In a speech to the nation, Mr Sunak warned the country faces “profound” economic challenges.

"I pledge that I will service you with integrity and humility," he told the public.

Oxford Mail: Rishi Sunak at Conservative Party HQRishi Sunak at Conservative Party HQ (Image: PA)

This is how the county reacted:


Lib Dem Layla Moran, MP for Abingdon and West Oxfordshire said, “The Conservative Party have shown that they are unfit to run this country. They have trashed the economy, pushed public services to the brink, and added hundreds of pounds to people’s monthly mortgage payments.

“Now behind closed doors Conservative MPs have installed yet another Prime Minister with no plan to repair the damage. They are out of touch, and completely out of ideas.

“Rishi Sunak has shown time and time again that he doesn’t understand the challenges facing people across the country right now - whether that’s paying heating bills or waiting weeks to see a GP.

“The icing on the cake is the £4 billion he wrote off to Covid fraud - failing to get taxpayers’ money back and asking struggling families to pay instead.

“I know that local residents across Oxfordshire are really worried about making ends meet this winter. After losing all economic credibility, we need a general election to end this sorry soap opera and get rid of this incompetent Conservative Government for good.”

Oxford Mail: Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak (Image: PA)

Conservative Banbury MP Victoria Prentis has been a vocal supporter of Mr Sunak.

Taking to Twitter following his win, she wrote: “Thrilled to see my good friend and colleague @RishiSunak elected as our new Party leader.

“We continue to face some really substantial challenges as a country. Rishi has the experience, pragmatism and energy to tackle them head on.

“He has my full support.”

Conservative MP for Witney, Robert Courts, said congratulated the incoming PM and said it is now time to unite, to bring calm, competent and professional Government for challenging times.”

David Johnston was approached for comment but failed to reply by the time of publication.

Anneliese Dodds was approached for comment but failed to reply by the time of publication.

John Howell was approached for comment but failed to reply by the time of publication.


Lib Dem councillor Liz Leffman, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, told this newspaper residents in Oxfordshire will be “relieved we have reached the end of the Truss era”. However, she is not convinced the Conservative will move the country forward and called for a general election to restore public faith in the Government.

She added the cost of living crisis is the main issue facing residents in the county says the Government needs to recognise this and support the most vulnerable people in society.

She said: “As he was the chancellor previously, I have every expectation that they will follow the line as before in terms of their budgets.

“This will not be great for us in Oxfordshire because we know that they are going to have to make significant cuts and we have already had to make big cuts to our budget.

“I am not entirely optimistic that we will see an improvement.”

Oxford Mail: Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak (Image: PA)

Councillor Susan Brown, leader of Oxford City Council, said: "The Tories have foisted yet another failed politician on our country - one who has to shoulder responsibility for the policies that have caused so much damage to our city and people.

“The cost of living crisis is a direct result of Tory policy choices that have seen record numbers of UK citizens reliant on food banks and forced to choose between heating and eating this winter.

“My plea to him as he takes office is to not take out his government's failures on the people of Oxford.

"Clearly the right thing to do would be to stop treating the role of Prime Minister as a game of musical chairs and to call a general election in order to let the people of the United Kingdom decide the people and the policies to deal with the current national economic crisis."

Oxford Mail: Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak (Image: PA)

Councillor Eddie Reeves, leader of the Oxfordshire Conservative Party, said he backed Mr Sunak “from day one” and was “very pleased” he has taken the top job.

“I backed him because of his economic record, profound knowledge in this area and the statesman like decency that he radiates.

“He is best placed to deliver a fit Conservative Government and steer us through a very difficult economic period both at home and internationally.

“He is committed to continuing the good work of Boris and Liz in connection with Ukraine and project the UK on the international stage.

“I could not be happier.”

Oxford Mail: Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak (Image: PA)

Labour councillor Shaista Aziz, cabinet member for inclusive communities and culture at Oxford City Council, said: “Rishi Sunak becoming the first person of colour to become Prime Minister is a huge moment for many, many people here in the UK and across the world, and especially so as people mark Diwali.

“It is really important to recognise this and to not minimise and dismiss this important moment in political history. At the same time, asking people of colour to celebrate Sunak just because he is a person of colour, is equally reductive, tokenistic, and dangerous.

“The Tories trashing of Britain and harming working people in the form of calamitous austerity has been going on for twelve years. Sunak is part of a government that has created this harm.

“Real representation has to be meaningful otherwise its pure tokenism. Real representation means actioning politics that don’t harm the people and communities you espouse to come from, the very communities disproportionately harmed by the multiple crisis this country is in now and from the historical legacy of where Britain’s wealth and prestige came from.

“Sunak becoming prime minister also leaves the Labour Party to answer important  questions about the woeful lack of representation on the front bench and especially the lack of representation of Black, Brown and Muslim men and women, who are overwhelmingly missing.”

Oxford Mail: Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak (Image: PA)


Graham Jones, a former county councillor and co-ordinator for ROX – Promoting Oxford Business, told this newspaper Rishi Sunak will be a “stabilising influence” for the country and markets.

He said: “He gives some encouragement to the up and coming businesses. From the retail point of view, we need stability and for people to feel they can get through this cost of living crisis,  so they spend money in the shops.

“It is a positive move, clearly nobody else came forward and got 100 votes so he knows he has got the backing of the majority.

“Hopefully he will be bold and do the right things.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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