Rishi Sunak apologized to the public on Friday after the Conservative Party suffered a significant defeat to Labour in the United Kingdom general election and announced his resignation as party leader.

The 44-year-old former financier had hoped that calling an early election, six months ahead of schedule, would capitalize on improved economic data and revive Tory support.

However, the election results on Thursday sent a clear message to voters, ousting the Conservatives after 14 years of economic struggles, Brexit challenges, and internal party conflicts.

“To the country, I would like to say first and foremost, I am sorry,” Sunak said outside the Prime Minister’s residence at Downing Street before heading to Buckingham Palace to formally resign as prime minister to King Charles III.

“I have given this job my all, but you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgment that matters.

I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss,” Sunak added.

The magnitude of the defeat necessitated Sunak’s resignation as the Conservative Party leader, making him the party’s fifth leader since 2010.

He stated that he would remain in his role until an internal leadership contest could be arranged, which is expected to be a battle for the party’s ideological direction.

Sunak witnessed a record number of his top ministerial team lose their seats, including Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt.

His immediate predecessor, Liz Truss, also lost her seat.

Sunak, the UK’s first prime minister of colour and an observant Hindu, extended his best wishes to his successor, Keir Starmer, describing him as “a decent, public-spirited man who I respect.

” He reflected on his journey, stating, “One of the most remarkable things about Britain is just how unremarkable it is that two generations after my grandparents came here with little, I could become prime minister.

And that I could watch my two young daughters light Diwali candles on the steps of Downing Street. We must hold to that idea of who we are.”