Scotland’s First Minister has urged the soon-to-be prime minister to call a general election and rule out a return to austerity.
Rishi Sunak won the contest after rival Penny Mordaunt ended her bid for the top job just minutes before the number of nominations for each candidate were due to be announced on Monday.
Mr Sunak, who will become the third prime minister since early September, will move into No 10 at a time of economic pressure, with calls for a general election from opposition parties mounting.
Nicola Sturgeon was among the first to push for an election, after congratulating Mr Sunak on his win.
“I’d suggest one immediate decision he should take and one he certainly should not,” she said on Twitter.
“He should call an early general election.
“And he should not – must not – unleash another round of austerity. Our public services will not withstand that.”
The First Minister earlier on Monday said calling a vote should be the first action taken by the new occupant of No 10.
“Of course, there should be a general election,” she said. “The governance of any country cannot simply be a revolving door that one party gets to pick time and time again who occupies the highest office in the land.”
She added: “Of course, there should be a general election but do I think that is going to happen? That the Tories are voluntarily going to concede that? No, I don’t.”
The First Minister, who said the political turmoil at Westminster provided a solid case for independence, also added she feared there would be “horrific” austerity imposed on Scotland as a result of UK Government policy.
But, Ms Sturgeon also said she would do her best to foster a “constructive working relationship with him in the interests of those we serve” after having not officially met with Liz Truss during her fleeting premiership.
She also congratulated the former chancellor on becoming the first person from an ethnic minority to reach No 10, describing it as a “significant moment”.
Ms Sturgeon’s comments come as her Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, wrote to Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, calling on him to lodge a motion of no confidence in the Government, forcing an election.
Despite the calls for an election, one of Mr Sunak’s key allies in Scotland – Tory MP Andrew Bowie – said on Monday morning the UK Government should focus on “sober, serious” governance instead.
Meanwhile, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross issued a call for unity in the country as Mr Sunak is set to take up his post.
Douglas Ross had remained quiet on the leadership contest as he had in the race over the summer which saw Liz Truss take over in No 10.
In a statement released in the minutes after Mr Sunak’s win became public, the Scottish leader praised the former chancellor’s economic record.
“Our country – like others around the world – faces tough economic challenges,” he said.
“Against that backdrop, it’s important that we have someone at the helm with a proven track record in running the nation’s finances, who can provide economic stability and reassurance to the markets.
“Recent weeks have been difficult and unsettling for both the Conservative Party and, more importantly, the country.
“Now all our focus must be on bringing the nation together and navigating the tough economic conditions we face.
“As he showed during his time as Chancellor – not least in safeguarding one in three Scottish jobs during the pandemic through the furlough scheme – Rishi Sunak is uniquely well equipped for that task.”
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said, regardless of the change of leader, it will “not stop the rot”.
“This is a morally bankrupt and incompetent Tory party that cares only about hanging on to power,” he added.
“The Tories have turned Britain into an international punchline – and they have treated you with contempt.
“Rishi Sunak has no mandate to lead the country. It’s time we had a general election and swept this immoral Government from power.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said Mr Sunak’s appointment would be “music to the ears of his super rich friends, but, for millions of people in Scotland and beyond it will be devastating”.
He added: “Scotland didn’t vote for any of them. There is no doubt that we need an election, and the chance to remove this chaotic government. But we also need a fair and democratic referendum.
“Surely after all this, nobody can doubt that Scotland is capable of better than the shambles that calls itself the UK Government.”