UK to get an Indian Origin PM – Know Everything About Rishi Sunak
We’re about to witness history. Rishi Sunak, a 42-year-old man of Indian descent, is anticipated to become the UK’s prime minister for the first time in the country’s history. On Tuesday, he announced his resignation as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Several more resignations against Boris Johnson came after this.
According to news sources, Boris Johnson has decided to resign, making Rishi Sunak, an individual of Indian descent, a candidate to become the next prime minister of the United Kingdom. He would be the first British prime minister of Indian descent if it were to happen.
In February 2020, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson selected him and nominated him as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he held a full cabinet role for the first time.
He shares the title of joint-favourite with former Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt, according to bookmakers Ladbrokes.
He was in charge of putting together a massive package costing tens of billions of pounds during the COVID outbreak to aid businesses and employees.
He goes as “Dishy” Rishi because he abstains from alcohol. He possesses a green card from the US and has frequently come under fire for being hesitant to act when the UK’s cost of living crisis arose.
Because his wife was a non-dominant for tax purposes, he was at a disadvantage.
It’s interesting to note that he received punishment for attending the event at 10 Downing Street when he disobeyed the COVID-19 shutdown in Britain.
On Friday, former chancellor Rishi Sunak declared his intention to run for prime minister of the UK and head of the Conservative Party (July 8). He began his campaign by posting a polished video on social media in which he highlighted his Indian ancestry and stated that his “family is everything” to him.
The Tory leader of Indian descent emphasised the traditional conservative ideals of “patriotism, justice, and hard work” and stated that his goals were to “establish trust, rebuild the economy, and reunite the country.”
After a turbulent week in the UK, which concluded with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation on Thursday—the day before Sunak made his announcement—Sunak launched his campaign. Johnson was finally forced to resign after more than 50 ministers quit their positions in the cabinet, despite mounting opposition from his party. Two of the most senior ministers, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid, abruptly departed the cabinet on July 5, sparking a wave of resignations.
Sunak stated in his resignation letter that “the public rightly expects the government to be run professionally, competently, and seriously” after leaving his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer (or Finance Minister).
I am resigning because I think these values are worth fighting for,” he concluded.
Who is Rishi Sunak?
The Indian-origin parents of the 42-year-old Tory MP gave birth to him in Southampton, England. His mother oversaw a neighbourhood pharmacy, and his father worked as a medical practitioner for the National Health Service (NHS).
His grandparents moved from East Africa to Britain in the 1960s after leaving Punjab, where they supposedly held administrative positions.
He attended Stanford University, where he obtained his MBA and won the renowned Fullbright scholarship, and Oxford University after finishing his studies at the distinguished private school Winchester College.
He has experience working as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs and other hedge funds, according to his excellent résumé. Sunak wed Akshata Murty, the billionaire Infosys owner Narayan Murthy‘s heir, in 2009.
Rishi Sunak’s political career
In 2015, Sunak began his political career when he was chosen as the Richmond, Yorkshire, Conservative MP. An early proponent of Brexit, his career took off once Theresa May’s cabinet appointed him as a junior minister. Sunak was rewarded with the position of Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2019 for supporting Boris Johnson’s bid for the Tory leadership. Sunak was promoted to Chancellor of the Exchequer following a cabinet reshuffle in February 2020. This position is third in the ministerial ranking, just after the deputy prime minister and the prime minister.
When the coronavirus pandemic raged worldwide, and lockdowns were enacted in the UK, the newly elected chancellor was confronted with the difficult task of managing the economy.
According to the BBC, he announced a £350 billion financial rescue package after promising to “do whatever it takes” to assist UK citizens. This marked a significant increase in his poll ratings. He received acclaim for both this plan and his pricey job retention programme, which prevented mass unemployment, according to Reuters.
The criticisms against the policies of Rishi Sunak
Sunak was able to advance quickly through the Conservative party in a short period. Still, throughout his tenure as chancellor, he received harsh criticism from the opposition and the general public.
According to reports, Sunak received criticism for failing to provide adequate financial assistance to households during the Covid-19 lockout. According to Reuters, his tax-and-spend budget for 2021, which would see the government raise taxes on the general population to spend the money on the general population later, would also put Britain on track to have its highest tax burden in about 70 years, undermining his arguments for supporting lower taxes.
Inflation in the UK reached its highest level in 40 years during his time as chancellor, rising by 9% in April of this year despite warnings from the Bank of England that it would rise by another 1%.
As a result, several unions in the UK have started going on strike to demand higher pay. Over 40,000 rail workers participated in the country’s largest rail strike in 30 years last month, and additional groups have threatened to take industrial action as well.
Personal image of Rishi Sunak
The “golden boy” of British politics experienced personal crises as a result of the controversy surrounding the finances of his wife, Akshata Murty. She was found to have non-domicile status in the UK in April, which prevented her from paying UK taxes on her foreign income.
Even though it was legal, the Labour party criticised Sunak for raising taxes for millions of workers while the chancellor’s wife received a tax break, according to the BBC.
Murty declared that she would start paying UK taxes after the uproar. According to reports, she avoided paying about £20 million in taxes on dividends from the Infosys shares she owned.
His reputation was further damaged by the “party gate affair,” in which it was discovered through media stories and official investigations that several government employees, including Johnson and Sunak, had violated Britain’s stringent lockdown regulations by attending parties.
The Metropolitan police issued both of them fines for attending Johnson’s birthday celebration in June 2020.
What next for Sunak?
Polls show that Sunak maintains a strong level of support despite the attacks levelled against him. In a YouGov survey of 716 members of the Conservative Party, conducted on July 7, Sunak came in third place, trailing only Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace and Minister of State for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt.
According to the BBC, several senior Conservative MPs, including Mark Spencer, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and Oliver Dowden, who resigned as party chairman in June, have publicly supported Sunak’s candidacy and pushed his “Ready for Rishi” campaign.
We won’t know if the UK will elect its first prime minister of Indian descent for another two to three months. The schedule for the prime ministerial election will probably be announced in the upcoming week by the 1992 Committee of backbencher Tory MPs (ministers who do not hold government or opposition seats).
A candidate needs the support of at least 8 additional Tory MPs to be eligible to run. A series of secret ballots will be used to whittle down the field of candidates to two if there are more than two. The Conservative Party will then conduct a final vote, with the victor becoming the party’s leader and prime minister.
The leader of Indian descent is described in these ten ways:
- On February 13, 2020, Rishi Sunak was chosen Chancellor of the Exchequer, six months after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson designated him chief secretary to the Treasury.
- Rishi Sunak, who was born in Southampton to Indian parents Yashvir and Usha Sunak, attended Winchester College before enrolling at Oxford University to study politics, philosophy, and economics.
- He received accolades for putting together an economic rescue plan during the coronavirus epidemic that included a jobs retention programme that prevented widespread unemployment and may have cost up to 410 billion pounds ($514 billion).
- Sunak was previously seen as the Conservative Party’s most promising up-and-comer, the most well-known candidate for the leadership position, and the betting favourite to succeed Johnson.
- However, the leader of Indian descent was criticised for not providing adequate assistance with the cost of living to households and was fined along with Johnson for violating the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
- As a result of information that his wife, Akshata Murthy, did not pay UK taxes on her foreign earnings and that he had maintained his US green card while working in government, Sunak also came under fire.
- Rishi Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy, made his political debut in May 2015 when he was elected as the Conservative MP for Richmond (Yorks).
- May’s Brexit departure agreement received three of his votes in favour, and after she resigned, Sunak backed Boris Johnson’s bid to lead the Conservative Party.
- From 2001 to 2004, Rishi Sunak worked as an analyst at a prestigious investment bank before entering politics. Additionally, he co-founded a sizable investment company that dealt with businesses from Bangalore to Silicon Valley.
- Rishi Sunak, the first Hindu chancellor of the exchequer in the UK, wed Akshata in August 2009 while they were both attending Stanford University in California.
Edited by Prakriti Arora