Rishi Sunak was announced the leader of Britain’s Conservative Party Monday afternoon following Liz Truss’s resignation on Thursday after a turbulent 44-day tenure in office as British Prime Minister.
The 1922 Committee chairman, Sir Graham Brady, has announced that Sunak was the only nomination received by the committee after Penny Mordaunt withdrew from the Tory’s leadership race.
Here are some things to know about Rishi Sunak, who is the youngest Prime Minister of the UK:
Sunak was born on May 12, 1980; he is currently 42 years old.
Sunak is the youngest Prime Minister of the UK in modern times.
Sunak was born to Hindu parents of Punjabi descent. His father is Yashvir and his mother, Usha.
Sunak’s father, Yashvir was born and raised in Kenya and worked as a general practitioner in the NHS, while his mum was born in Tanzania and worked as a pharmacist, running a pharmacy.
Sunak is the eldest of three siblings.
However, Sunak is originally from Southampton.
Sunak attended the prestigious Winchester College; and subsequently Lincoln College, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.
He then proceeded to Ivy League college, Stanford University in California, where he earned an MBA as a Fulbright Scholar.
Sunak was selected as the Conservative candidate for Richmond (Yorks) in October 2014, defeating Wendy Morton. The seat was previously held by William Hague, a former leader of the party, Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State.
In the same year Sunak was head of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Research Unit of centre-right think tank Policy Exchange, for which he co-wrote a report on BME communities in the UK.
He was elected as MP for the constituency at the 2015 general election with a majority of 19,550 (36.2%).
He has been a member of parliament since 2015 where he was an MP for Richmond and has served in roles including Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Chancellor of Exchequer while Boris Johnson was PM.
Sunak was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 24 July 2019, serving under Chancellor Sajid Javid. He became a member of the Privy Council the next day.
Sunak was re-elected in the 2019 general election with an increased majority of 27,210 (47.2%).
On February 13, 2020, Sunak was promoted to Chancellor of the Ex-Chequer as part of a cabinet reshuffle following the resignation of Javid. He held the position until 2022.
On July 5, 2022, Sunak resigned as chancellor moments after Sajid Javid resigned as health secretary.
On July 8, 2022, Sunak stood in the Conservative party leadership election to replace Johnson, after Johnson’s resignation on July 7.
Sunak launched his campaign in a video posted to social media, writing that he would “restore trust, rebuild the economy and reunite the country”, adding that his values were “patriotism, fairness, hard work.”
Sunak and the then Foreign Secretary Liz Truss emerged as the final two candidates in the contest on July 20 to be put forward to the membership for the final leadership vote; he had received the most votes in each of the series of MP votes with Sunak receiving 137 to Truss’s 113 in the final round. In the membership vote, Truss received 57.4% of the vote, making her the new leader and Prime Minister over Sunak.
Following the resignation of Liz Truss on Thursday, Sunak was thought to be a possible contender for the abridged leadership contest, along with Penny Mordaunt and Boris Johnson, who had resigned as Prime Minister before Liz Truss’ appointment.
On October 22, it was reported that Sunak had the required number of supporters—100 members of the House of Commons—to run in the ballot on October 24.
On October 23, Sunak declared that he would stand for election. After Johnson ruled himself out of the race and Mordaunt withdrew, Sunak was announced as the new Leader of the Conservative Party and subsequently as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
He will be officially made the Prime Minister of the UK after meeting with King Charles III.
Sunak got married to Akshata Murthy in 2009 where they had a two-day wedding ceremony in Bangalore.
His wife runs her own fashion label, Akshata Designs, and is also a director of venture capital firm founded by her billionaire dad, N.R. Narayana Murty, a co-founder of IT company Infosys.
Together they hold an estimated net worth of £730 million, making them among the richest people in the UK and earning Sunak the unofficial title of “the richest MP”.
The couple have two daughters, Krishna and Anoushka.
Sunak put immigration and the NHS at the top of his agenda when he was running against Liz Truss.
He spoke of linking migration with foreign policy – countries who collaborate with the UK on the return of migrants would be rewarded with aid, trade and visas.
He also proposed to charge the public £10 for missed GP appointments in order to help the huge NHS backlog following the pandemic.
However, he now has more of a financial crisis on his hands.
(Credits: The PUNCH, Wikipedia, LBC)