Rishi Sunak Becomes UK Prime Minister

By siliconindia   |   Wednesday, 26 October 2022, 19:16 IST
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Rishi Sunak Becomes UK Prime Minister

The former chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, becomes the first person of color to lead Britain as the country's new prime minister.

Rishi Sunak gained momentum in the race to become UK prime minister, prevailing in a chaotic three-day race for the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party on Monday. He secured the public backing of senior Conservative Party lawmakers ahead of an initial leadership vote, putting pressure on Boris Johnson to declare his hand. It was a remarkable political comeback that doubled as a historical milestone, making Sunak the first person of color to become prime minister in British history.

The former chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced on Sunday he was a candidate for the party leadership in a contest resulting from Liz Truss’ resignation after a turmoil-filled 44 days as premier. Mr. Sunak mentioned that he wants to fix Britain’s economy, unite the party, and deliver for the country. Facing ups and downs in his political career, Mr. Sunak won the contest to replace the short-lived prime minister, Liz Truss, when his only remaining opponent, Penny Mordaunt, withdrew after failing to achieve the threshold of 100 nominating votes from Conservative lawmakers.

Rishi Sunak, a 42-year-old son of Indian immigrants, is one of the youngest British PMs to be sworn in on Tuesday. He was born in Southampton, on the southern English coast, to parents of Indian heritage who emigrated from British colonial East Africa six decades ago. He became chancellor of the Exchequer as a new member of Parliament at age 39. Mr. Sunak’s father was a family doctor, and his mother ran a pharmacy. On his official website, he states that his first experience in business was working in his mother’s small shop, and he grew up watching his parents serve the local community with dedication.

Mr. Sunak’s grandparents were originally from Punjab. In an interview, he shares his experiences of little racism while growing up and has heard some other patrons refer to him and his younger siblings using a racist epithet. After graduating with a degree from Oxford University and attending Stanford University, Mr. Sunak went on to make a fortune in finance, including a spell at Goldman Sachs, before winning a seat in Parliament in 2015, representing a constituency in Yorkshire. At Stanford, he met his wife, Akshata Murty, a fashion designer and the daughter of Infosys co-founder and one of India’s richest men Narayana Murthy.

Rishi Sunak became chancellor in 2020, and his popularity rose during the COVID pandemic when the treasury dispensed billions to save jobs and support struggling Britons. Today, he is the youngest prime minister of Britain in at least 200 years. Mr. Sunak will take power on Tuesday in a morning audience with King Charles III, who is anointing his first prime minister since ascending the throne just two days after his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, appointed Liz Truss.

Truss will hold a final cabinet meeting before making a departing statement in Downing Street, followed by Sunak to speak just an hour later. Truss leaves the office as the shortest-serving premier in history after a catastrophic tax-slashing budget sparks economic and political disorder.

After addressing the now all-too-familiar new leader’s speech from the steps of Number 10, Britain’s new prime minister will start designating his top team before encountering his first session of Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament on Wednesday. Tuesday will be marked as a historic day for Britain with the third prime minister taking office this year, replacing the humiliated Liz Truss after serving just seven weeks and receiving a daunting array of problems.

Whoever wins the election has the task of bringing unity to a party that has been through months of upheaval and bruising public infighting. Truss held the position following a leadership battle with Sunak that descended into public slanging matches sparked by the departure of Boris Johnson as premier after a series of scandals. It comes amid economic challenges involving inflation at four-decade highs and a widening cost-of-living crisis as people face rising energy bills.

On Thursday, Sunak said he would serve with integrity and humility, adding that the UK faces a massive economic crisis. He also added that the UK needs stability and unity, and he will make it his utmost priority to bring the party and the country together. He stated that it is the only way to overcome the challenges and build a better, more prosperous future for children and future generations.

President Joe Biden on Monday hailed Rishi Sunak as the next UK prime minister and declared his win a ground-breaking milestone. According to reports, Biden was addressing a Diwali event at the White House where he stated that Sunak’s win is astounding, a ground-breaking milestone that matters.