Who is Rishi Sunak?
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are the last two candidates in the race to replace Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. After leading every poll so far, Sunak retained his popularity among Tory MPs and topped the fifth and final round of the leadership race with 137 votes, while Truss came second with 113 votes on July 20. .
Sunak, whose July 5 exit from cabinet marked the beginning of the end of Boris Johnson’s government, said he “is the only candidate” who can beat Labor in the next general election and that the economic policies that he introduced as finance minister “has helped get this country through an incredibly difficult time over the past two years.”
As Sunak emerged victorious in the Tory MP leadership poll, he faces a tough challenge to win the support of the rank and file of the Conservative Party which will select the next prime minister next month and so far appears to favor his rival , Liz Truss. .
Who is Rishi Sunak?
The 42-year-old Conservative MP was born in Southampton in the UK to parents of Indian descent. Her father was a GP for the National Health Service (NHS) and her mother ran a local pharmacy. His grandparents were born in Punjab and emigrated to East Africa, before moving to Britain in the 1960s where they would have held administrative positions.
He studied at the elite private school Winchester College, after which he went on to Oxford University and Stanford University, where he earned his MBA and won the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship.
His impressive resume includes work as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and various hedge funds. In 2009 Sunak married Akshata Murty, the heir of Narayan Murthy, the billionaire owner of Infosys.
The political career of Rishi Sunak
Sunak’s political career began in 2015 when he was elected as the Conservative MP for Richmond, Yorkshire. An early supporter of Brexit, his career was catapulted when he was appointed Deputy Minister in the government of former British Prime Minister Theresa May. Sunak, who supported Boris Johnson’s Conservative leadership election in 2019, was rewarded with the post of chief secretary to the Treasury that year. After a cabinet reshuffle in February 2020, Sunak was promoted to Chancellor of the Exchequer, a post that sits third in the cabinet rankings, placed only behind the Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister.
As newly elected Chancellor, he took on the difficult challenge of leading the economy when the coronavirus pandemic raged across the world and lockdowns were imposed in the UK. Pledging to ‘do whatever it takes’ to help British citizens, he launched a £350billion financial bailout that led to a huge boost in his personal ratings, the report reported. BBC. He has been praised for this program and his costly job retention program which Reuters says has averted mass unemployment.
Critics against Rishi Sunak’s policy
While Sunak managed to rise rapidly within the Conservative party in just a few years, he faced scathing criticism from the opposition and the public during his tenure as chancellor.
Sunak has reportedly been criticized for not providing enough financial support to households during the Covid-19 lockdown. Reuters reported that its tax and spending budget in 2021, where the government would impose high taxes on the public and then spend on the public, also put Britain on track for its biggest tax burden in around 70 years. years, weakening its claims to support lower taxes.
During his tenure as Chancellor, the UK also faced its highest rate of inflation in 40 years, with consumer prices rising 9% in April this year, the Bank of England having warned it would rise another 11%. Consequently, various unions in the UK began to strike for higher wages. Last month Britain faced its biggest railway strike in 30 years when more than 40,000 rail workers took part in a massive walkout and other groups also threatened to go on strike .
Personal image of Rishi Sunak
The ‘golden boy’ of British politics also suffered personal scandals, when a controversy erupted over his wife Akshata Murty’s finances. It was discovered in April that she had non-domicile status in Britain and therefore did not pay UK tax on her overseas income. Although not illegal, Labor said it was “breathtaking hypocrisy” for the Chancellor’s wife to have a lower tax bill, as Sunak raised taxes for millions of workers, reported the BBC.
Following the controversy, Murty announced that she would start paying tax in the UK. Reports said she saved around £20million in tax on dividends from shares she held in Infosys.
His image also suffered from the ‘partygate scandal’, when media reports and government inquiries revealed government officials including Johnson and Sunak broke Britain’s strict lockdown rules and attended festivals. Both were fined by the Metropolitan Police for attending Johnson’s birthday party in June 2020.
Election of the British Prime Minister: what next?
Sunak and Truss will now enter the final leg of their race as they prepare for weeks of stampedes across the country, where they will try to convince grassroots members of the Conservative Party to vote for them. Hustings are meetings where candidates debate policy and answer questions from the public. The Guardian reports that there will be a total of 12 hustings, with the first taking place in Leeds on July 28.
The party’s roughly 160,000 members will vote for their favorite candidate by September 2, either by online voting or by post and the BBC reports that they should receive their ballot papers by August 1.
While Sunak has continued to retain his popularity among Tory MPs, Truss is so far favored by the party’s base, the electorate that will ultimately decide who the future prime minister will be. A July 21 YouGov poll of 730 Conservative members placed Truss squarely ahead of Sunak, 62% to 38%.
The final results will be announced on September 5.