Rishi Sunak Becomes Young, Very-Rich And UK’s First PM Of Colour

Sunak's supporters argue that he is exactly the man needed to steady the ship financially after Truss's so-called mini-budget roiled financial markets, raising government borrowing, increasing mortgages, and raising fears that pension funds will fail.

Rishi Sunak Becomes Young, Very-Rich And UK’s First PM Of Colour - SurgeZirc France
Rishi Sunak Becomes Young, Very-Rich And UK’s First PM Of Colour.

Rishi Sunak, who was elected to parliament for the first time in 2015, became Britain’s youngest prime minister in more than 200 years on Monday, tasked with steering the country through an economic crisis and mounting voter rage.

It is a remarkable comeback for Sunak, who lost a leadership bid to Liz Truss less than two months ago after some in the Conservative Party accused him of bringing down their hero, Boris Johnson.

He enters Downing Street as one of the wealthiest politicians in Westminster, facing the need to make deep public spending cuts to stem a fiscal crisis, as well as dealing with a cost-of-living problem, a winter of strikes, and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Boris Johnson Returns To London As Sunak Qualifies For PM Race

His supporters argue that the former finance minister is a safe pair of hands capable of restoring Britain’s credibility with investors who fled the country’s bonds and sterling after Truss’ mini-budget offered tax cuts with little detail on how to fund them.

However, the former Goldman Sachs analyst and hedge fund partner face challenges within the ruling Conservative Party, where some lawmakers blame him for Johnson’s ouster and are concerned he lacks the ability to win elections.

The opposition Labour Party is likely to portray him as a member of the ultra-rich elite, disconnected from the pressures felt by millions as Britain slips into recession, dragged down by rising food and energy prices.

Some are concerned that he will be unable to unite a deeply divided party that has grown accustomed to quickly dismissing leaders they dislike.

“He couldn’t beat Liz Truss last month; he’s not turned into an election winner less than two months later,” one senior Conservative lawmaker said on condition of anonymity after supporting Johnson in his failed bid to run again.

Sunak succeeds Truss, who announced her resignation four days ago but was defeated by him on September 5 with 57% of Conservative members voting. The former finance minister then repeatedly referred to his predecessor’s ideas as “fairytale” economics that would frighten markets.

He was proven correct, but following a hurried leadership election, some Conservatives question his commitment to a Margaret Thatcher-style small-state vision to spur growth, after he put Britain on course for the highest tax burden since the 1950s with emergency pandemic spending on saving jobs and welfare.

Sunak, 42, declared his candidacy with the claim that he could “fix our economy, unite our party, and deliver for our country.”

“There will be integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level of the government I lead and I will work day in and day out to get the job done,” he said in veiled criticism of Johnson, forced out over a scandal-ridden premiership.

Rishi Sunak becomes the first Indian-heritage PM

Sunak, who was born in Southampton in 1980 to Hindu parents of Punjabi-Indian descent, repeatedly mentioned helping his mother. She ran a pharmacy, with the books, payroll, and accounts during the previous leadership campaign.

He received a privileged education, attending an elite fee-paying school and becoming the third prime minister to study politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford University, following David Cameron and his predecessor, Truss.

During his last leadership campaign, he advocated for the establishment of more selective grammar schools after the opposition Labour Party banned new ones, but he repeatedly stated that “a world-class education” should be a birthright.

He will also be the first person of colour to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Ravi Kumar, 38, a Conservative Party member who works at a finance firm in Nottingham, central England, called the appointment a “watershed moment.”

“I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and I could not even imagine a non-white prime minister in my lifetime… So to see a British Indian leader is phenomenal,” he told Reuters.

However, Sunak’s marriage to the daughter of an Indian billionaire has raised concerns within the party that he is too removed from the concerns of ordinary voters, some of whom are being forced to choose between food and heating due to spiralling inflation.

Sunak’s wife was forced to confirm in April that her non-domiciled status meant she did not pay tax on all of her international earnings, which she agreed to stop.

“Rishi never had an overdraft so he is used to having a Treasury (finance ministry) account and a current account,” said one Conservative insider who had backed Johnson.

“Rishi has good PR but an inability to be brave and be the Brexit Chancellor the UK needs,” the insider said on condition of anonymity.

Sunak’s supporters argue that he is exactly the man needed to steady the ship financially after Truss’s so-called mini-budget roiled financial markets, raising government borrowing, increasing mortgages, and raising fears that pension funds will fail.

“We need someone who can provide stability and proven economic competence in these challenging times, and Rishi Sunak is that person,” said Grant Shapps, brought in as Britain’s interior minister after Truss sacked his predecessor.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: British Prime Minister Liz Truss Steps Down After Six Weeks In Office

Shapps was one of several ministers who backed Sunak after Johnson abruptly resigned late Sunday, surprising and even upsetting his own supporters. Johnson has not stated who he supports.

Sunak rose quickly through the Conservative Party ranks, becoming one of the party’s youngest finance ministers in 2020.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Britain, Sunak abandoned the Conservatives’ small-state instincts in order to borrow massively and avoid an economic depression. As a result of his efforts to assist businesses and workers, he became one of the country’s most popular politicians.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments