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Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaks to the media after the 62nd plenary of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly. PA
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Taoiseach congratulates Rishi Sunak but SDLP leader labels his 'coronation a farce'

The SDLP leader has called for an early general election, but a senior Tory MP has said this will not happen.

LAST UPDATE | 24 Oct 2022

THE TAOISEACH HAS congratulated Rishi Sunak on being appointed the new leader of the Conservative party and soon-to-be British prime minister.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin tweeted: “Congratulations @RishiSunak on becoming leader of the Conservative Party.

“I look forward to working with you, as British PM, on the important issues we face on these islands, and globally.”

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also congratulated Sunak and said that he “worked hard to achieve this”.

Varadkar added: “These are challenging times of war, inflation, global uncertainty. I look forward to the UK working with Ireland and the EU as friends and allies in the years ahead.”

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 this afternoon.

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.

One of those calling for a general election is SDLP leader Colm Eastwood.

The Foyle MP described his “coronation” as a “farce” and added that Sunak has no mandate to serve as British prime minister.

Eastwood said: “It is completely illegitimate and an affront to democracy for the Tories to elevate Rishi Sunak to the position of prime minister with no mandate whatsoever.

“Sunak’s predecessors have completely destroyed the public’s confidence in politics and wrecked the economy and he should not be allowed another two years to desperately attempt to clean up their mess.

“The circus that has surrounded British politics has to end and the only way to do that is through a General Election and the establishment of a Labour-led Government.

“People have been clear they are sick of the Tories and want a Labour-led Government, it’s time for the adults to take over.”

However, senior Tory MP Simon Hoare said Sunak told the party today that there will be no early general election.

Hoare told reporters: “He is actually going to hit the ground running. We have no time to lose.

“Certainly, he said that there will be no early general election.”

With additional reporting from Press Association

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