Home / News / World /  UK PM polls: What led to Rishi Sunak's defeat against Liz Truss 6 weeks ago?

UK PM polls: What led to Rishi Sunak's defeat against Liz Truss 6 weeks ago?

Britain's former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Conservative MP, Rishi Sunak leaves his home in London on October 22, 2022. - Former prime minister Boris Johnson on Saturday returned to Britain from a holiday to launch an audacious political comeback, as Conservative leadership rival Rishi Sunak reached the minimum threshold to contest the UK's top job. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (AFP)Premium
Britain's former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Conservative MP, Rishi Sunak leaves his home in London on October 22, 2022. - Former prime minister Boris Johnson on Saturday returned to Britain from a holiday to launch an audacious political comeback, as Conservative leadership rival Rishi Sunak reached the minimum threshold to contest the UK's top job. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (AFP)

  • Former UK finance minister Rishi Sunak announced on Sunday announced that he is running to replace outgoing PM Liz Truss

Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer of British government, an Indian origin British politician on Sunday, 23 October declared that he is going to run for Prime Minister of United Kingdom, again. Sunak lost the race to Tory leadership to Liz Truss, six weeks ago after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared that he was quitting the position following a series of scandals.

Liz Truss became the shortest serving Prime Minister of Britain after she announced her resignation only 44 days after being elected. Truss was forced to resign following a series of faulty economic and financial decision.

Sunak in the last race had remained a strong contender, enjoying more popularity than his rival Liz Truss, however, even if he was touted as the favourite initially for the race to Downing Street, Rishi Sunak started losing his spark midway.

Here's taking a look at why Sunak lost out 6 week ago

Surging unpopularity:

Rishi Sunak's image was permanently tainted when a video of his came into foray where he accepted that he took money from deprived urban areas. His comments, boasting of shifting money from “deprived urban areas" to fund projects in the Kent commuter belt sparked outrage, considering it cut across the UK government’s rhetoric about ‘levelling up’ Britain and spreading wealth beyond the south-east.

Data have shown that even when Sunak was the chancellor in the British cabinet, his approval rating among the public was declining. As of 8 August, 2022, only 22% of the people thought that Rishi Sunak was doing a good job, as against his rating two years ago, 48%, according to a YouGov survey.

Image of backstabber:

Hours after Boris Johnson announced his resignation, Sunak threw his hat into the ring with a campaign video titled ‘Ready for Rishi’. This gave him the image of a backstabber, as he was also the first among cabinet ministers to resign from the Boris Johnson led government.

Sunak's wealth and other controversies:

Rishi Sunak's wealthy status brought him under the least favoured quota in the Tory race last time. Sunak is married to Akshata Murthy, the daughter of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy. Notably Akshata Murthy owns 0.93% stake worth 690 million in the tech company. 

In May 2022, Rishi Sunak and his wife featured in The Sunday Times UK Rich List of the top 250 wealthiest people in the UK.

Rishi Sunak aim to bag the PM position in Britain took a dive in April after reports revealed that his wife holds a non-domiciled status in the UK, and hence does not pay British taxes on her foreign earnings.

A protestor against Rishi Sunak becoming prime minister holds a placard outside Houses of Parliament in London, Britain October 21, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
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A protestor against Rishi Sunak becoming prime minister holds a placard outside Houses of Parliament in London, Britain October 21, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls (REUTERS)

Sunak also criticised the handling of Covid-19 pandemic by the Boris Johnson government, saying it had been a mistake to "empower" scientists and that the downsides of lockdowns were suppressed.

Losing support of conservatives:

Declaring that he is ready to run for Prime Minister only hours after his boss and mentor Boris Johnson had resigned on 8 July, costed Sunak the support of the conservative party members.

Top conservative leaders like Sajid Javid, who was also once a close ally of Sunak, took the public platform to endorse Truss's candidature. Javid even went ahead to warn that Sunak's economic prescription would mean sleepwalking into a high-tax, low-growth economy.

Another top Tory leader Nadhim Zahawi backed Liz Truss, saying that the UK needs a 'booster' attitude to the economy, not a 'doomster' one.

UK PM polls post Truss's resignation

Even though the former finance minister was not the supported candidate last time, following Truss's resignation SUnak seems to be a clear favourite. However, one cannot rule out the presence of his rival Boris Johnson who has decided to run the race again. As per polls, Sunak has 55% chance of winning the next PM race, far ahead of second favourite, Penny Mordaunt, who has only a 16% chance.

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