Rishi Sunak could be the UK’s next prime minister. Here’s what to know.


LONDON — Rishi Sunak’s campaign had a simple slogan when he ran for Britain’s prime minister earlier this year: “Ready for Rishi.”

The answer was: No, I’m sorry.

Sunak competed with Liz Truss to lead Britain’s Conservative Party after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation over the scandal in July. Now Sunak will have another chance to win the top job with Truss stepping down after just six weeks in power.

This time he is the favorite – at least according to the bookies. Regardless, the favorite has not yet officially declared that he will run for the position of party leader.

As of early Saturday, Sunak’s supporters say he has already crossed the threshold to secure the support of 100 conservative politicians, which would take him to the next round of the internal party leadership race.as several of his fellow MPs pledge their support and plan for his potential coronation.

If elected, Sunak, 42, would become the country’s first prime minister of South Asian origin. He was born in Southampton, England, to parents of Indian origin who emigrated from East Africa.

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“It is very clear that Rishi Sunak has what it takes to meet the challenges we face – he is the right person to lead our party,” former minister Sajid Javid said. SAPS in his announcement of support.

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“He has the talent, integrity and humility to give us a fresh start and a firm hand,” another Tory MP Gavin Williamson he posted on Twitterlike others welcomed Sunak’s “competence” and “economic foresight”.

Loyalists point out that during the previous leadership contest against Truss this summer, his candidacy received the most support from his fellow MPs. And many of his economic ideas have proven prescient, those supporters say.

His critics say he betrayed Johnson, his old boss, when he resigned as finance minister in early July. That led to the collapse of the cabinet soon after and then to Johnson’s downfall.

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His “nemesis” Johnson is trailing Sunak closely in the polls and returned to London on Saturday after telling supporters he was “ready” – seeking to pull off a stunning political resurrection.

Like Sunak, Johnson has yet to publicly confirm another run for high office. However, rumors of Johnson’s return to the fray have already revealed the stark difference in opinion about him between politicians and much of the jaded British public.

A close third in the running is Penny Mordaunt, a mid-level minister looking to become a household name. She is the only Conservative MP to officially enter the race, but her numbers remain low. Mordaunt said she was encouraged by colleagues who wanted a “fresh start” but is seen by some conservatives as a compromise candidate for politicians in the Sunak and Johnson camps who can’t quite get behind a rival.

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To become the next leader of the embattled Tory party, a candidate must get more than 100 votes from the party’s members of Parliament to advance to the next round. There are currently 357 Conservative MPs in office.

Given the high bar, only one person is likely to secure that number, meaning a new prime minister could be installed at no. 10 Downing Street until Monday, when nominations close.

Sunak has been dubbed ‘Dishy Rishi’ by British tabloids due to his clever social media campaigns and large online following.

Educated at one of the most prestigious in the UK private schools, like Johnson, he has a glittering resume, having studied at the University of Oxford and Stanford University and a stint at investment bank Goldman Sachs. One of Britain’s richest politicians, he is married to Indian tech heiress Akshata Murthy, whose tax affairs caused the former finance minister some political discomfort during his leadership campaign in the summer.

And a video clip from a 2007 BBC documentary in which Sunak suggests he has no “working-class friends” is being circulated online as some Britons frown on the multitude of upper-class Tory contenders.

However, he remains popular among politicians in his own party, although he is faring less among national Conservative Party members after losing to Truss in September (57.4 per cent to 42.6 per cent).

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After George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis and the Black Lives Matter movement gripped much of the world in 2020, Sunak spoke about the racism he faced in public life and the struggles his family overcame as immigrants in the Britain. He also publicly endorsed his Hindu faith, swearing on the revered Hindu text Bhagavad Gita when he took office.

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To his supporters, Sunak is a firm hand on the economic tiller because he correctly predicted the market crash triggered by Truss’s policies when he cut taxes and sent the British pound crashing. He called Truss’ proposed economic reforms “fairytale” economics before she took office, an assessment that could lend credence to her image of fiscal responsibility.

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One stain on his record, however, is his connection to the ‘Partygate’ scandal that toppled Johnson’s government. Like his boss, Sunak was fined by police while in office for attending parties at 10 Downing Street while Britons were under severe government-imposed coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The opposition parties, including Labour, are calling for a general election so that the exasperated public will have a say in who becomes the next British Prime Minister.

“The truth is [that] just switching to the job of prime minister, chancellor, as if it were some kind of game of ‘pass the deck’, will not give the country the leadership and stability we desperately need,” Sunak’s former opponent, Labor. The party’s shadow finance minister, Rachel Reeves, told the BBC on Friday.


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