His resignation from the government of Boris Johnson last July was the main trigger for the downfall of the charismatic conservative leader. Then his defeat in the race to lead the party put Lis Truss at the head of the British government. Now, just three months after the start of the political crisis, Rishi Sunak is the one who laughs last.
The former secretary of the Treasury is the only one who has obtained the support of more than 100 parliamentarians Conservatives to become the new leader of the party and thus occupy 10 Downing Street, the seat of government.
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Few would have predicted this outcome when Conservative Party members elected Lis Truzz in September over this economic analyst who represents Richmond County in Yorkshire in Parliament.
But, also, few imagined the seriousness of the crisis suffered by the British economy during the brief period of the now former prime minister, whose intention to considerably lower taxes was not well received by the markets and caused a resounding fall in the pound sterling. .
One of Those who predicted these turbulences was Sunak himself.
During the campaign against Truss, he promised that he would not cut taxes until inflation was under control, which may have cost him a “hard vote” from the Conservatives but earned him an image of “a responsible steward” of public finances.
Even in an interview with the BBC, Boris Johnson’s former Treasury Secretary said he would rather lose the race for the leadership of his party. rather than “win with false promises”.
At the time, Truss accused him of scaring voters with his “scare project.” Today, the same conservatives seem scared enough with the current economic situation to take a different look at Sunak’s caution.
Sunak’s parents came to the UK from East Africa and are both of Indian origin.
He was born in Southampton, England, in 1980, where his father was a doctor and his mother ran her own pharmacy.
He attended the exclusive private school Winchester College, and during his summer vacations he worked as a waiter in an Indian restaurant in Southampton.
Then he went to the Oxford University to study philosophy, politics and economics.
While studying for a master’s degree at Stanford University, California, in the US, he met his wife, Akshata Murty, daughter of Narayana Murthy, an Indian billionaire and co-founder of IT services giant Infosys. The couple have two daughters.
During her campaign for the Conservative leadership, Sunak often mentioned her daughters in the context of climate change.
On one occasion, he said that he listened to “the advice of my two young daughters, who are the experts on this in my home.”
Minister in pandemic
sunak became secretary of the treasury in February 2020 and, in a matter of weeks, had to run the UK economy as the pandemic and its lockdowns began.
To quite a few people during the pandemic, this 42-year-old teetotaler millennial seemed like a reassuring, steady hand at the helm of the country.
In March 2020, he pledged to do “whatever it takes” to help people overcome the economic effects of the pandemic. And when he revealed $400 billion worth of endorsement, his poll ratings skyrocketed.
But the UK has continued to be hit by a stormy economic climate, and Sunak himself had to deal with the consequences of being fined by the police for violate lockdown rules at the official residence of the prime minister in June 2020.
In April this year, some Conservative critics questioned whether the millionaire understood the magnitude of the cost-of-living contraction facing many British households.
That same month, the finances of Sunak and his family came under intense scrutiny.
finances under the magnifying glass
The tax affairs of his wife and millionaire heiress, Akshata Murtywere thrust into the spotlight when it was revealed that he did not pay UK tax on his foreign earnings.
Murty later announced that she would begin paying taxes in this country “to relieve political pressure” on her husband.
The opposition parties then wondered whether Sunak himself had ever benefited from the use of tax havens.
The newspaper The Independent suggested yes, with a report stating that Sunak was listed as a beneficiary of tax haven trusts in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands in 2020.
A Sunak spokesman said they “did not acknowledge” the claims.
During the campaign, Sunak’s wealth and private school background became the focus of television debates.
Sky News presenter Kay Burley once spoke about the “perception” that she was too rich to be prime minister.
From 2001 to 2004, Sunak was an analyst for Goldman Sachs and later was a partner in two investment funds.
is believed to be one of the richest MPs in the UKbut has not publicly commented on how much his wealth amounts to.
Since 2015 he has been a Conservative MP for Richmond in Yorkshire and became a junior minister in Theresa May’s government before being appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury by her successor, Boris Johnson.
He was promoted to treasury secretary in February 2020 and was at first a vocal supporter of Johnson, but subsequently resigned saying he felt his own approach to the economy was “fundamentally too different” from that of the prime minister.
in favor of Brexit
Sunak campaigned for Brexit in the referendum to leave the European Union and told the Yorkshire Post that he believed this would make the UK a “freer, fairer and more prosperous” country.
He also said that changing immigration rules was another key reason for voting for Brexit: “I believe that proper immigration can benefit our country. But we must have control of our borders.”
Sunak voted for Theresa May’s Brexit deal all three times it was tabled in parliament.
His support for Boris Johnson was rewarded with a promotion in July 2019 when he was promoted from local government minister to Chief Secretary of the Treasury.
In February 2020, Sajid Javid resigned as Treasury Secretary after an internal power struggle, and Sunak was appointed to replace him.
But in July 2022 he resigned from that post, a move that contributed to Johnson’s downfall as Conservative leader and prime minister.
Campaigning for the Conservative leadership, Sunak insisted he was loyal to Johnson, but resigned because his government was on the “wrong side” of serious ethical questions.
Sunak belongs to a generation born in the UK but with origins in another country.
This identity says cares.
“My parents emigrated here, so you have this generation of people who were born here, their parents weren’t born here and they came to this country to make a life,” he said in a 2019 BBC interview.
“In terms of cultural education, I can be at the temple on the weekend, I am Hindu, but I can also go to the Saints (Southampton Football Club) game on a Saturday. You can do everything, you can do both.”
In the interview he said that he had been lucky not to have endured much racism growing up, but that there was one incident that stayed with him.
“I had been out with my younger brother and sister, I think I was pretty young, probably in my teens, and we were at a fast food restaurant and I was just babysitting them. There were people sitting nearby, it was my first time experiencing it, they were saying some very nasty things, like the ‘P’ word (a derogatory term for South Asian people).”
“And it hurt. I still remember it. She was etched in my mind. There are many different ways they can insult you.”
However, Sunak said then that he “couldn’t conceive of that happening today” in the UK.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.