Malik Nasir Mahmood Aslam looks at the rise of Rishi Sunak
The rise of Rishi Sunak is quite an oddity in an otherwise odd field of politics as hailing from the immigrant community he heads the Conservative Party notorious for pursuing anti-immigrant agenda in Britain and was initially spurned by his very party in favor of Liz Truss who was trailing him in the initial ballot but the white MPs rallied around her to block Sunak despite being aware that she was a very poor choice for the top job.
However, it was soon proved that she was really not up to the mark and was humbled out just 44 days in the saddle but then Sunak’s party raised the discredited Boris Johnson as a hurdle to stop Sunak who was again the front runner to succeed Liz Truss but this time they did not succeed and gave way to him rather reluctantly making him Britain’s first non-white and Hindu prime minister since the office came into operation in 1723.
Born in Southampton in 1980 to Hindu parents of Punjabi Indian descent, Sunak repeatedly during the last leadership campaign spoke of helping his mum, who ran a pharmacy, with the books, doing payroll and accounts. He had a privileged education.
He went to an elite fee-paying school and is the latest prime minister to have studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford University, following David Cameron and his predecessor, Truss. During the last leadership campaign, he supported the creation of more selective grammar schools after new ones were banned by the opposition Labour Party, but repeatedly said that “a world-class education” should be a birthright.
The Rise Of Rishi Sunak In Prime Ministership
Rishi Sunak is more than an accidental prime minister as he came through the ranks after getting elected in the seat vacated by the former British foreign secretary and consummate politician William Hague who also remained the leader of the Conservative Party.
He got elected from the constituency in the north of England in North Yorkshire in 2005 and served as chief secretary of the treasury after showing his flair for finance was upgraded to Chancellor of the Exchequer or the minister of finances considered the second most important position in the British government after the prime minister.
The rise of Rishi Sunak was swift in the ranks of the Conservative Party and he became in 2020, one of the youngest finance ministers. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Britain, Sunak dropped the Conservatives’ small-state instincts to borrow massively and stave off the risk of an economic depression. That made him one of the most popular politicians in the country, as he was praised for helping businesses and workers.
At 42 he became Britain’s youngest prime minister in more than 200 years and is tasked with steering the country through an economic crisis and mounting anger among some voters. One of the wealthiest politicians in Westminster, his fortune of $800 million is known to be more than King Charles III, he entered Downing Street facing a need to make deep public spending cuts to stem a fiscal crisis.
As well as tackling a cost-of-living crunch, a winter of strikes and Russia’s war in Ukraine. His backers say the former finance minister is a safe pair of hands who can restore Britain’s credibility with investors who sold the country’s bonds and sterling after Truss’s mini-budget offered tax cuts with little on how to fund them.
Economy Opposition Labour Parties
Sunak repeatedly described his predecessor’s ideas as fairytale economics that would spook the markets. He was proved right, but after a fast-track leadership race, some Conservatives say they doubt his commitment to a Margaret Thatcher-style small-state vision to spur growth after he put Britain on course for the highest tax burden since the 1950s with emergency pandemic spending on saving jobs and welfare. When declaring his candidacy Sunak said he had a track record that showed he could fix the economy.
However, many analysts opine that he also faces challenges within the governing Conservative Party, where some lawmakers blame him for his role in ousting Boris Johnson and are concerned he has not got what it takes to win elections. The opposition Labour Party is likely to paint him as a member of the uber-rich elite, out of touch with the pressures faced by millions as Britain slides towards a recession, dragged down by the surging cost of food and energy. Some fear he cannot reunite a party that is deeply divided and getting used to quickly dispensing with leaders they do not like.
He is not free of troubles however as his marriage to the daughter of an Indian billionaire has raised concerns in the party that he is too far removed from the concerns of everyday voters, some of whom are being forced by spiraling inflation to decide whether to spend their money on food or heating. It didn’t help that Sunak’s wife was forced to confirm reports that her non-domiciled status meant she did not pay tax on all her international earnings, something she agreed to end. The Weekender