Will it be third time lucky this year for the Tories as they embark on their next prime minister?

Rishi Sunak yesterday told his colleagues – with the painful knowledge that their opinion poll ratings were going through the floor if they didn’t make it to the basement – that they must “unite or die”.

Here are the five main challenges it faces.

Challenge one: a single office

Mr Sunak said he would create a cabinet of all talents, a phrase that is often thrown around but too often falls prey to prime ministers keen to reward their loyalists.

In the coming hours, we will see how much Liz Truss and Boris JohnsonSupporters of Russia go to the Cabinet of Ministers, p Jeremy Hunt many expected him to stay on as chancellor.

One of the key appointments to watch will be whether Ben Wallace, who clashed with Mr Sunak over defense spending last year and backed Ms Truss as she proposed multibillion-dollar increases, will remain in office. pounds.

Right-wingers such as Suella Braverman, who backed Mr Sunak, will be waiting for the job but will also hold him to promises such as a scheme to send some migrants to Rwanda.

A cabinet that is a loose church means conflict behind closed doors can erupt in the open – see Theresa May’s time in office. But the Tories want Mr Sunak to be the focus of every thought.

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Will British Asians support Rishi?

Task two: balance the books

The fiscal plan to balance the books is still in the diary for next Monday and the Halloween statement will be full of horrors. How it lands is a crucial test, especially when the Bank of England decides on interest rates later this week.

The £40 billion black hole can only be closed by spending cuts or tax increases, and a mix of these is expected.

What will be protected? Mr Johnson’s spending review last year promised what was described as a record funding settlement for the NHS – around 3.8% a year. Inflation at 10% would wipe that out when waiting lists hit seven million.

Rishi Sunak

Problem three: an austerity prime minister

Among the tough decisions to be made in the coming days is whether pensions and benefits will rise with inflation, or whether those who depend on them will be cut in real terms.

Raising benefits to the level of average earnings, rather than inflation, would save several billion pounds. But it could destroy the reputation Mr Sunak has traded on since he launched the holiday scheme in March 2020 as someone who protects the most vulnerable.

For Mr. Sunac, who is married to a billionaire, it may be at increased risk to show that he understands the plight of those on the lowest incomes.

A wave of public sector pay strikes is also approaching. Telling nurses and teachers they can’t get a pay rise because the country can’t afford it may be a tougher task for a prime minister with a gilded lifestyle.

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak

Task Four: Johnson and Domestic Enemies

What about our former Prime Minister who blames Mr. Sunak for his downfall and at the time of writing said nothing about Mr. Sunak winning the contest?

Mr Johnson, who has returned from the Dominican Republic to mount his own leadership campaign, which he says could be successful, threatens to become an alternative power base in the party and potentially draw criticism from the sidelines if part of his 2019 agenda. will be cancelled.

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Mr Sunak inherited a majority of nearly 80 seats, but all his economic measures will require a tough vote in parliament.

Publicly declared supporters of Mr Johnson and Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the House of Commons, who were also in the leadership contest – and not who they claimed to be – number more than 90 MPs. There is a significant group of intransigent MPs who can make governance difficult.

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Liz Truss has delivered her final speech after becoming Britain’s shortest-serving Prime Minister

Challenge Five: Elections on the cards?

Apart from having to get the economy back on track and be Britain’s face on the world stage in perilous times – something Mr Sunak has limited experience of given his meteoric rise since his election seven years ago – he is relatively untested as a campaigner.

His constituency of Richmond in North Yorkshire is a safe seat, and he will inherit a Conservative Party that has taken a serious hit over the past few months.

He hopes for two more years before the elections and is not obliged to hold them.

But with even some Tory MPs calling for it and, more ominously, Conservative-leaning newspapers noting that he walks into Downing Street without casting a single vote, he may – if there is a tough road ahead – struggle with an increasingly loud drumbeat to gain a mandate from the public.