How to resign with dignity – UK Version

After 14 years in government, yesterday the British Conservative Party (Tories) was soundly defeated in the polls when the right of center vote was split by the emergence of a new party, the Reform Party, headed by former Member of the European Parliament, Nigel Farage and the Left held it together to present a cohesive whole.

Rishi Sunak, the Tory PM, was never elected to the position of prime minister by the public, having been nominated from his party from within, as he followed a short stint by Liz Truss who had taken over from the originally elected prime minister/head of the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson who was run out of office for allegedly breaking lockdown rules.

The Labour Party (left of center) has won with a supermajority of members of Parliament, but with the slimmest of slim margins in the overall vote. They actually received fewer total votes and a lower percentage of votes than when they were smashed in the election of 2017.

Nevertheless, the Conservatives lost. Their leader resigned with great dignity. While the country roils and boils with frustration over inflation, insecure border, massive immigration, the pro-Palestine movement and frustrations that any benefits from Brexit are being squandered, the former leaders are taking time to be polite and magnanimous in defeat.

Speech by Rishi Sunak as he resigns as leader of the Conservative Party

Good morning. I will shortly be seeing His Majesty the King to offer my resignation as Prime Minister. 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. I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss. 

This is a difficult day at the end of a number of difficult days

To all the Conservative candidates and campaigners who worked tirelessly but without success, I am sorry that we could not deliver what your efforts deserved. It pains me to think how many good colleagues who contributed so much to their communities and our country will now no longer sit in the House of Commons. I thank them for their hard work and their service. 

Following this result, I will step down as party leader not immediately, but once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place. It is important that after 14 years in government, the Conservative party rebuilds, but also that it takes up its crucial role in opposition professionally and effectively. 

When I first stood here as your prime minister, I told you the most important task I had was to return stability to our economy. Inflation is back to target, mortgage rates are falling and growth has returned. We have enhanced our standing in the world, rebuilding relations with allies, leading global efforts to support Ukraine and becoming the home of a new generation of transformative technologies. And our United Kingdom is stronger too, with the Windsor Framework, devolution restored in Northern Ireland and our union strengthened. I’m proud of those achievements. I believe this country is safer, stronger and more secure than it was 20 months ago, and it is more prosperous, fairer and resilient than it was in 2010. 

Whilst he has been my political opponent, Sir Keir Starmer will shortly become our prime minister. In this job, his successes will be all our successes, and I wish him and his family well. Whatever our disagreements in this campaign, he is a decent, public-spirited man who I respect. He and his family deserve the very best of our understanding as they make the huge transition to their new lives behind this door, and as he grapples with this most demanding of jobs in an increasingly unstable world.

I’d like to thank my colleagues, my cabinet, the civil service, especially here in Downing Street, the team at Chequers, my staff, CCHQ. But most of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to my wife, Akshata and our beautiful daughters. 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. 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. 

This is a difficult day at the end of a number of difficult days, but I leave this job honoured to have been your prime minister. This is the best country in the world, and it is thanks entirely to you, the British people. The true source of all our achievements. Our strengths and our greatness. Thank you.


Rishi Sunak