Rishi Sunak set to become the first Indian-origin Prime Minister of Britain

  • Rishi Sunak becomes the third Prime Minister of Britain in less than two months, after rival Penny Mordaunt backed out of the race on Monday

Sayantani Biswas
Updated24 Oct 2022
Conservative Party leadership candidate Rishi Sunak leaves the campaign office in London, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Now he’s back with a second chance to become prime minister. (AP Photo/Aberto Pezzali)
Conservative Party leadership candidate Rishi Sunak leaves the campaign office in London, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Now he’s back with a second chance to become prime minister. (AP Photo/Aberto Pezzali)(AP)

Rishi Sunak became the first Indian-origin politician to head the United Kingdom, as he has been chosen as the Tory leader in the British parliament after rival Penny Mordaunt backed out pledging full support. Sunak who has been lost the race to the leadership just six weeks ago to rival Liz Truss gained much favour from his party members after Boris Johnson balked out of the race on Sunday evening.

Rishi Sunak has scripted history by becoming the first British Prime Minister of Indian descent, Britain’s first nonwhite leader and the first Hindu to take the top job. The former Chancellor of the Exchequer had resigned in July 2022, that triggered the downfall of the Boris Johnson government.

At 42, Sunak also becomes the youngest prime minister in more than 200 years.

Rishi Sunak becomes the third Prime Minister of Britain in less than two months, after Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. The former finance minister takes charge at a time the country is reeling years of political and economic turmoil.

The multi-millionaire former hedge fund boss would be expected to launch deep spending cuts to try to rebuild Britain's fiscal reputation, just as the country slides into a recession, dragged down by the surging cost of energy and food.

Rishi Sunak had taken to Twitter to announce "I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country," after Truss' resigned as Prime Minister on Thursday as the opposition reiterated its demand for a general election.

Rishi Sunak had stood for the Tory leadership six weeks ago when Boris Johnson announced that he quit. However, Sunak was declared a runner-up in that race as Liz Truss went on to become the Prime Minister.

Sunak, who was Treasury chief from 2020 until this summer, steered Britain’s slumping economy through the coronavirus pandemic. As Chancellor, Sunak was prominent in the government's financial response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic impact, including the Coronavirus Job Retention and Eat Out to Help Out schemes.

The new Prime Minister had first been elected to parliament in 2015, and served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the second in command to the finance minister, overseeing public spending.

Sunak has attended the Winchester College before going on to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University. He also has an MBA from Stanford University in the United States

Born in Southampton to parents of Indian descent who migrated to Britain from East Africa in the 1960s, Sunak is married to Infosys founder Narayan Murthy's daughter Akshata Murthy and has two daughters.

Britain has been locked in a state of perma-crisis ever since it voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, unleashing a battle at Westminster over the future of the country that remains unresolved to this today.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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