Outgoing British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Friday his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party following its crushing defeat in the general election, apologising to Britons as he left Downing Street.

“I want to say first of all: I am sorry,” he said on the steps of the Prime Minister's official residence before presenting his resignation from government to King Charles III. “I have given my all to this work, but you have sent a clear signal: the government of the United Kingdom must change. And that is the only judgment that matters.”

“After this result, I will leave the post of party leader, not immediately, but once everything is in place to designate my successor,” he said.

Faced with a triumphant Labour Party, the British Conservative Party suffered its worst defeat since the beginning of the 20th century in this legislative election: only 121 MPs were elected, compared to 365 five years ago under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, according to almost final results.

Six weeks ago, Rishi Sunak took the gamble of calling a general election earlier than expected, going all out in the face of Labour's considerable lead and hoping to be buoyed by an improvement in the economic situation.

Mr Sunak, 44, entered Downing Street in October 2022 after the disastrous 49-day term of his predecessor Liz Truss, whose unfunded tax cuts sent markets into panic and the pound into a tailspin.

“Two generations after my grandparents arrived here with little, I was able to become Prime Minister and watch my two young daughters light Diwali candles (a major Hindu festival, editor's note) on the steps of Downing Street,” he said.

“This is a difficult day, after many other difficult days, but I leave this post honoured to have been your Prime Minister,” he concluded.

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