British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has postponed an eagerly awaited budget plan due next week, as the new leader got down to business after weeks of political turmoil.
Following a meeting of his new cabinet, Mr Sunak engaged in his first parliamentary joust with opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer, who is demanding a snap general election.
Mt Sunak, 42, ruled out an early election, which is not due for at least two years, as he vowed stability and fiscal rectitude following his appointment by King Charles III yesterday.
He succeeds Liz Truss, who served just 49 days in Downing Street.
"We will have to take difficult decisions to restore economic stability and confidence," Mr Sunak told MPs at his first "Prime Minister's Questions".
He added that his Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt would set out a detailed plan "in just a few weeks".
"What I can say, as we did during Covid, we will always protect the most vulnerable, we will do this in a fair way," Mr Sunak insisted.
Mr Starmer repeated his demand for an election, accusing Mr Sunak of lacking legitimacy after he was "trounced" by Ms Truss in the summer's Conservative leadership run-off.
"So why doesn't he put it to the test, let working people have their say and call a general election?" Mr Starmer asked, to cheers from the opposition benches.
Mr Hunt, who was retained in Mr Sunak's cabinet along with several other senior ministers, said that Monday's planned "medium-term fiscal statement" was no longer so pressing.
Instead, there will be a full budget statement on 17 November to lay out the new government's tax and spending plans, Mr Hunt told reporters.
"Now, we have a new prime minister and the prospect of much longer-term stability for the economy," he said, stressing the new plan would be accompanied by fresh economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
Mr Hunt said he had discussed the delay with Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey.
The central bank was forced to make several emergency interventions in recent weeks after Ms Truss's now aborted tax-slashing plans financed by extra borrowing sent markets into a tailspin.
The delay would ensure the budget can "stand the test of time" to give British mortgage holders and businesses more assurance, Mr Hunt said, after the Truss plan provoked a damaging spike in borrowing costs and torpedoed her premiership.
Markets were unperturbed by the postponement, suggesting Mr Hunt and Mr Sunak have successfully calmed investor nerves.
Ms Truss left office as the UK's shortest-serving leader in history, replaced by its youngest since 1812 and first Hindu leader.
Mr Sunak triumphed in a 96-hour Tory leadership contest after rival contender Penny Mordaunt failed to secure enough nominations from Tory MPs and Mr Johnson dramatically aborted his own bid.
After appointing his top team yesterday, Mr Sunak spoke to the presidents of Ukraine and the US to vow continuity on UK foreign policy, including ongoing support for Kyiv's resistance following Russia's invasion.
Mr Sunak has vowed to restore "trust" and "integrity" in government after months of tumult under scandal-tarred Mr Johnson and then Ms Truss.
But critics claimed the new leader had immediately undermined the pledge by re-appointing hardline right-winger Suella Braverman as Home Secretary, days after she was forced to resign for a security breach.
Ms Braverman emailed classified government documents outside her department that reportedly included market-sensitive information from the OBR.
Mr Sunak told parliament that she had "made an error of judgement" but had "accepted her mistake" and so he was "delighted to welcome her back".
Mr Starmer raised allegations that he reappointed her after a secret deal securing her support against Mr Johnson's audacious comeback bid.
"He's so weak he's done a grubby deal trading national security because he was scared to lose another leadership election," Mr Starmer said.
"There's a new Tory at the top but as always with them, party first, country second," the opposition leader said.
Ms Braverman's return raised eyebrows across the political spectrum, with Labour demanding answers on the implications for national security.
Cabinet secretary Simon Case, the UK's most senior civil servant, was "livid" over her swift return, a source told The Times.
As well as mending Britain's wounded finances, Ms Sunak is also pledging to reunite the Conservatives after another bruising leadership contest, mere weeks after Mr Johnson was forced out.
Fracking ban reinstated
Meanwhile, Mr Sunak has reinstated a ban on fracking in England, dropping a previous pledge to permit the practice that Ms Truss enacted during her short tenure.
The Tories had introduced a moratorium on controversial gas fracking in England after committing to a ban in a 2019 manifesto that saw them elected with an 80-seat majority.
Both Ms truss and Mr Sunak said they would allow fracking -- drilling into the ground to extract oil and gas from shale rock -- where there was local consent.
Ms Truss in particular argued it would diversify and strengthen the UK's energy supplies, as she also unveiled plans to accelerate North Sea offshore oil and gas exploitation.
Following her election, she lifted the moratorium, despite huge opposition from environmentalists and others, including some members of her parliamentary party.
After taking power, Mr Sunak has swiftly reversed course on the proposals and his prior stance.
Mr Sunak spoke to Taoiseach Micheál Martin this evening, with Mr Martin saying he looked forward to the two governments working closely together.
They both agreed on the importance of EU-UK engagement to find agreed solutions to the issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol and they discussed ongoing developments in Northern Ireland.
The Taoiseach and the prime minister reiterated their commitment to a strong British-Irish relationship and looked forward to an early opportunity to meet.
They discussed cooperation in the response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Additional reporting Mícheál Lehane