The United Kingdom Of Great Britain and Ireland (UK) elected Rishi Sunak, a Conservative Party politician of Indian origin as its Prime Minister. Is it a sign of the world coming to a full circle? Is it time for the British to be ruled by the Indians? Perhaps. All jokes aside, we will use this post to find out more about Rishi Sunak, UK’s Prime Minister. Let’s get started.
Rishi Sunak: All You Need To Know
Who is Rishi Sunak?
Rishi Sunak, born on May 12, 1980, in Southampton ( Hampshire, England ), is a British statesman. The Leader of the Conservative Party, he has been Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since October 25, 2022.
After a career in finance, he became a member of the House of Commons for Richmond (Yorks) in 2015 and defended Brexit. In 2019–20, he was appointed the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He was then appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in the second Johnson government.
How did Rishi Sunak become the Conservative Party leader?
Rishi Sunak left the government to force Boris Johnson to resign, then, he was overtaken by Liz Truss as the head of the Conservative Party in 2022. After the latter’s resignation, he was the only candidate to take the lead of his party. He became Prime Minister after the coronation of Charles III.
Rishi Sunak is the first Hindu and the first non-white person to hold this office in the history of the kingdom, the youngest when he was appointed (42 years old) since 1812, the richest, as well as the fifth consecutive member of a party to lead a government since 2010.
When was Rishi Sunak born?
Rishi Sunak was born on May 12, 1980, in Southampton, Hampshire, England.
He is the son of Yashvir Sunak, an NHS general practitioner born in Kenya, then a British colony, and Usha Sunak, a Southampton pharmacist born in Tanganyika (modern day Tanzania), then a British Mandated Territory. His family, originally from the Indian state of Punjab, is part of the Indian diaspora from Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania which settled there during the 20th century. Rishi Sunak is the eldest of three children.
When did Rishi Sunak’s ancestors leave India?
Rishi Sunak’s paternal grandfather, Ramdas Sunak, was from Gujranwala, Punjab; he left for Nairobi in 1935 as a cleric and was joined by his wife Suhag Rani Sunak, who came from Delhi, in 1937. His maternal grandfather, Raghubir Sain Berry, was a tax agent in Tanganyika, and married to Sraksha, born in Tanganyika, with whom he had three children; they left for the United Kingdom in 1966. Raghubir Sain Berry worked at the Department of Inland Revenue and, as an agent, was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1988.
Rishi Sunak’s family emigrated in the 1960s from East Africa to the United Kingdom.
Where did Rishi Sunak study?
Rishi Sunak was educated at Winchester College and Lincoln College, University of Oxford. There he studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics ( PPE) and also earned a Masters degree in Business Administration from Stanford University, California.
Where did Rishi Sunak work?
Rishi Sunak worked as an analyst for the investment bank Goldman Sachs between 2001 and 2004. He then worked for the hedge fund TCI Fund Management, becoming a partner in September 2006. He left in November 2009 for California to work in the hedge fund Theleme Partners launched in October 2010 with 700 million dollars under management. Sunak was also a director of the investment company Catamaran Ventures owned by his father-in-law, Indian businessman NR Narayana Murthy between 2013 and 2015.
Which religion does Rishi Sunak follow?
A very religious Hindu, he took the oath on the Bhagavad-Gita when he became a member of Parliament. He is abstemious, declares himself a vegetarian and plays cricket.
About him, he says: “I am an Indo-Briton. I am deeply British, but my religion, my cultural heritage, and my wife are Indian.”
Who is Rishi Sunak’s wife?
He is married to Akshata Murty, daughter of Indian businessman Narayana Murthy, co-founder of computer company Infosys and fifth Indian fortune, and engineer, writer, and philanthropist Sudha Murty. Rishi and Akshata Sunak have two daughters, named Anoushka and Krishna.
Akshata Sunak owns shares in investment firm Catamaran Ventures worth £430m, making her one of Britain’s richest women. She created her own fashion brand in 2010, Akshata Designs. She is the first wife of the British Prime Minister not to hold British nationality.
The couple owns at least four properties, including a £7 million house in Kensington, London, and an apartment in Santa Monica, California.
Rishi Sunak: Political Career
MP for Richmond (Yorks)
Rishi Sunak was elected MP for the constituency of Richmond, Yorkshire, in the 2015 general election.
He supported Brexit as part of the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union of June 23, 2016, in particular, because the freedom of movement granted to European nationals was not granted to Indo – Pakistanis, members of the Commonwealth. Rishi Sunak votes chiefly against bills aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He also remains in favour of increasing gas production in the North Sea, but not to the development of onshore wind farms.
He was re-elected to the House of Commons in the 2017 general election and the 2019 general election.
In 2018-2019, he served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Housing, Communities, and Local Government in the May II government. On July 24, 2019, he was appointed Chief Secretary of the Treasury in the Johnson I government. He was reappointed to the Johnson II government. On February 13, 2020, he replaced Sajid Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer, following the latter’s resignation.
Renowned for his fiscal conservatism, Rishi Sunak opposed too much public spending to support the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic and defended a pension freeze to hold Britain’s finances together. He also opposes the idea of introducing a carbon tax to reduce CO2 emissions, declaring that it would weigh on low-income households.
Dissensions with Boris Johnson led Rishi Sunak to question his “lack of political sense” and to suggest demoting him during an upcoming cabinet reshuffle. On this occasion Rishi Sunak received the support of heavyweights from the Conservative Party in Parliament, thus weakening Johnson’s position. He was seen as his probable successor.
Campaigns for the leadership of the Conservative Party
Rishi Sunak and several other ministers resigned from the British government on July 8, 2022 in order to put pressure on Boris Johnson and force him in turn to resign.
Rishi Sunak declared himself a candidate for his succession. Arriving at the top of the five ballots among the deputies in July, he was beaten during the vote of the members, announced on September 5, obtaining 42.6% against 57.4% for Liz Truss, who became the Prime Minister.
On October 20, 2022, after only 44 days in the office and due to a political crisis caused by a controversial budget proposal, Liz Truss announced her resignation from 10 Downing Street.
After his failure the previous month, Rishi Sunak emerged this time as the favorite to lead the Conservative Party, benefiting from his orthodox positions on the budgetary plan. He declared himself a candidate in October and obtained the 100 sponsorships of deputies required to stand, a measure aimed at limiting the number of candidates to a maximum of three (the number of sponsorships required during the previous election was twenty).
The next day, after Boris Johnson’s withdrawal and Penny Mordaunt’s failure to collect the necessary sponsorship, he found himself alone in the running: supported by 197 Conservative MPs out of 357, he took the role of the leader of the party. The position of the Prime Minister was therefore assured to him.
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Rishi Sunak became the Prime Minister the day after his election as leader of the Conservative Party, on October 25, 2022. He was the first Prime Minister appointed by King Charles III since his accession to the throne, Liz Truss having been appointed by Queen Elizabeth II, just two days before her death.
Rishi Sunak became the first Hindu and non-white Briton (he is of Asian origin, notably from the Indian diaspora ) to become Prime Minister. At 42 years and five months, he was the youngest British head of government to take office since Robert Jenkinson in 1812. Moreover, he is the fifth Conservative to lead a government in a row since the 2016 Brexit referendum (after David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and Liz Truss).
According to YouGov, only 38% of Britons were satisfied with his entry into 10 Downing Street.
Rishi Sunak: Best Quotes
We rise to challenges, we will meet them, we’re well prepared for them, we’ll get through them and we’ll emerge on the other side stronger.
There is a clear political desire to rebalance the British economy away from London towards the regions, and away from the services sector towards manufacturing.
We are committed to levelling up across every region and nation in the U.K. and that is why we are making the largest ever public investment into broadband. This investment delivers on our promises to the British people, boosting growth and prosperity across the country.
As you would expect, I come from a business background, and the idea that a finance director would be somewhat not working closely with the CEO of a company is very strange to anyone in the business world.
In spite of what are unprecedented measures in scale and scope, I can’t stand here and say I can save every single job, protect every single business or indeed every single charity. That’s just simply not possible.
It was a Conservative government that in 2016 introduced the national living wage, giving Britain’s lowest-paid workers the biggest pay rise in 20 years.
How has Rishi Sunak managed the economic crisis in Britain?
He inherited from previous governments a situation of economic crisis: the country is in recession and British households should see their income fall by 7% over the next two years according to the Office for Budget Responsibility. He chose to pursue a policy of austerity rather than economic recovery. It is thus questioned in its first budget, presented in mid-November, of 55 billion pounds sterling savings per year over the next five years.
If he reintroduces the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing which had been canceled by Liz Truss, he maintains the resumption of gas and oil exploration in the North Sea, consider the opening of new coal mines and does not resolve to take part in COP27 only under pressure. The government’s Minister of the Environment, Thérèse Coffey, for her part, declared that she saw in the COP “nothing more than a gathering of people in Egypt”.
In November 2022, the United Kingdom faced an unprecedented strike movement. Faced with galloping inflation (10.7% over one year), many Britons went on strike to demand wage increases. Rishi Sunak chose to adopt a hard line against the strikers, refusing to negotiate and to receive union officials. According to him, higher wages would have accelerated inflation. He declared that he was ready to mobilize the army to replace the strikers in certain sectors and decided to accelerate the adoption of a bill, imposing a minimum service in transport.
According to a YouGov poll for the Times published in early December, 46% of those questioned consider the government responsible for the strikes, and 17% blame the unions. The Prime Minister’s popularity rate rose to 25% in December.
Several cases tainted the government in the first three months after its formation. Nadhim Zahawi, minister without portfolio and president of the Conservative Party, was forced to admit that he did not declare all of his income. Before him, Gavin Williamson, also a minister without portfolio, had to resign following accusations of harassment. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab was also the subject of internal investigations for the same reason, but remained in his post, as was Suella Braverman, the Secretary of State for the Interior, accused of mishandling confidential information.
Which controversy was Rishi Sunak involved in?
The Independent revealed that his wife, Akshata Murty, a wealthy Indian heiress, has a specific tax status, non-domiciled status, allowing her to pay no tax in the United Kingdom on her income generated in foreign countries.
Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, castigated “astonishing hypocrisy” on the part of the Sunak-Murty couple, who tried to optimize their tax slip at a time when the British are experiencing the largest increase in compulsory levies for half a century. Faced with the controversy, Akshata Murty announced that she would renounce her specific tax status.
This episode also drew criticism to Rishi Sunak as it came at a time when, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he refused to further help households, which were facing rising inflation.