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Rishi Sunak bids farewell as UK's first British Indian PM with Diwali nostalgia

Rishi Sunak bids farewell as UK's first British Indian PM with Diwali nostalgia
Courtesy: Picture by Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

As election results rolled in early morning on Friday, it became clear that the mandate for the next government was strongly for the Keir Starmer led Labour Party, ending a 14 years long tenure for the Conservative Party that began in 2010.

The outgoing Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – Rishi Sunak – on Friday morning addressed the media outside his Number 10 Downing Street in what will be his last speech as the PM.

“To the country, I would like to say, first and foremost, I am sorry,” said the outgoing leader.

“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.”

Sunak also announced his decision to step down as leader of the Conservative Party once his successor has been selected.

Sunak assumed office from his predecessor Liz Truss back in 2022, on the back end of the pandemic and, in doing so, became the first ever British Indian Prime Minister of the UK. The historic event has secured him a place in the history books as the country’s first leader of Indian heritage.

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During his final speech, the British Indian leader thanked all those who supported him and stood by him during his tenure.

“I would like to thank my colleagues, my Cabinet, the Civil Service - especially here in Downing Street but most of all I would like to express my gratitude to my wife Akshata and our beautiful daughters,” said the father of two.

“I can never thank them enough for the sacrifices they have made so that I might serve our country. One of the most remarkable things about Britain is just how unremarkable it is that two generations after my grandparents came here with little, I could become Prime Minister, and that I could watch my two young daughters light Diwali candles on the steps in Downing Street,” he added with a sense of nostalgia.

“We must hold true to that idea of who we are. That vision of kindness, decency, and tolerance that has always been the British way.”

He further extended congratulations to his political successor and the Prime Minister elect, Keir Starmer.

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“His successes will be all our successes, and I wish him and his family well… He and his family deserve the very best of our understanding, as they make the huge transition to their new lives behind this door,” said Sunak, wishing the incoming leader a successful tenure.

“I leave this job honoured to have been your Prime Minister. This is the best country in the world and that is thanks entirely to you, the British people,” Sunak concluded.

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