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Business News/ News / World/  Rishi Sunak’s ‘Coke addiction’: 5 controversies of UK’s new prime minister

Upon assuming office as prime minister on October 25, Rishi Sunak promises to work hard for Britain, according to his father-in-law Narayana Murthy. The 42-year-old, a devout Hindu with Indian ancestry, will be the UK’s first prime minister of colour and its youngest head of state in modern times. The Infosys founder said, “"We are proud of him and we wish him success. We are confident he will do his best for the people of the United Kingdom."

As the UK gets another prime minister in the last couple of months, let’s have a look at some of Rishi Sunak’s controversies over the years.

No working-class friends

Sunak talked about his wealthy upbringing and aristocratic connections in a 2001 BBC documentary called Middle Classes: Their Rise and Sprawl. He claimed to have upper class and aristocratic friends. He had no "working class" friends, though.

Also Read: Rishi Sunak proves Winston Churchill's theory on India wrong, and how

He would mix things up, go to speak to students at a public school in the inner city, encourage them to apply to Oxford, and talk to them about people similar to him, Sunak said. After speaking with the students for 30 minutes, he surprised them by revealing that he had attended Winchester and that one of his closest friends was from Eton, to their amusement. “We all say silly things when we are students," he later said.

Petrol pump

Sunak was charged for faking a lower income as part of a publicity hoax to announce a decrease in the price of petrol. The red Kia he filled up in front of the cameras actually belonged to a Sainsbury's service station employee. Sunak later said that the “most embarrassing thing" that happened to him was that he had struggled to pay for the petrol in a car that was not his own.

Leaked video

Sunak, in a leaked video, bragged about taking money from "deprived urban areas" to benefit wealthy towns. In the video that the New Statesman was able to obtain, Sunak claimed that the Labour party had left a series of algorithms that allocated all funding to urban areas with severe poverty. Then he boasted that those policies had started to alter since he was appointed chancellor.

Not able to use contactless card

Sunak attempted to pay for a Coca-Cola can by using a barcode reader to scan his bank card. He later acknowledged that he needed to be taught how to use the contactless card. Since then, he has received instruction on how to operate that contactless device. Later on, he described the technology as "an amazing modern marvel".

Coke addiction

“I am a Coke addict, I am a total Coke addict," Rishi Sunak emphatically said in an interview with two school kids. During the interview, he also said that “Mexican Coke" was his favourite. He soon realised, as the children giggled, that his words had a completely-different meaning. He quickly clarified that he was "a Coca-Cola addict" in case there was any misunderstanding. 

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Updated: 25 Oct 2022, 11:09 AM IST
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