new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak accepted the King’s invitation to become the country’s third premier four months, following the resignation of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.
As the Times went to press, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer was reshuffling his Cabinet, with Mel Stride, MP for Central Devon, promoted to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Mr Stride’s long service as Treasury Committee chairman will have given him good experience for the role.
Amid these turbulent times, the people of West Devon gave their views on the new PM.
Mr Stride, said: ‘I am very pleased that Rishi will be our prime minister. This is a real opportunity for us to unite as a party and deliver for the country. The first thing we must do is to address the economic crisis and there are few people in a better position to do that.’
Sir Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, said: ‘I congratulate Rishi Sunak on being elected as the new leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. The economic and external challenges facing our country are great, but I believe the new Prime Minister is the best qualified to produce the disciplined, coherent and serious government the times demand.’
Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for SE Cornwall, said: ‘I congratulate Rishi Sunak. It’s no secret that he was not my first choice, but I do wish him well in his new role and will work with him to get the best for South East Cornwall and will continue to push the government for improvements to the area.’
Anthony Fudge, 31, a Tavistock cafe cafe worker, said: ‘I don’t believe Rishi Sunak will be any good for this country, let alone his own party, in terms of uniting us all. He is part of the problem, like the rest of the Tories. It’s time for a general election.’
Alastair Tinto, a Labour member of Calstock Parish Council, said: ‘He was the best choice for the Conservatives, but we are in for two more years of austerity and I dread to think what public services will be like. That’s no way to grow the economy’.
Dr Michael Ireland, campaigner for the extension of local rail services said: ‘As chair of OkeRail I welcome the news that we have a new PM who, despite his personal wealth appears, to understand the needs of the wider electorate. I hope he will acknowledge the need for an improved rail infrastructure to West Devon and North Cornwall. Okehampton is now an oasis in that rail desert. Rail reinstatement to Tavistock and North Cornwall will benefit, employment, education and tourism.’
Graham Parker, an ex town planner, of Tavistock, said: ‘He’s a pleasant sensible fellow who is saying many of the right things and I have hopes for him. ‘But I wish that the Tory Party had the guts to do the right thing, and ask me and the other millions of voters what we want. Isn’t that what democracy is supposed to be about?
‘He’s a British Asian man under 45, a Hindu, an MP only for seven years - that’s great - we can expect a very different perspective and, Lord knows we need one. But he’s been appointed by out of touch MPs.’