Rishi Sunak; UK’s Prime Minister-elect to prioritize economic stability.
Rishi Sunak will become the United Kingdom’s new prime minister after winning the ruling Conservative Party’s leadership contest on Monday.
Sunak’s win comes days after Truss’s resignation which followed disastrous tax cuts plans and policy U-turns that caused unprecedented economic crisis and drew a rare intervention from the Bank of England.
During his first public speech, since winning the contest on Monday, Sunak said Britain faces serious economic challenges and needs stability and unity.
“There is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge…we now need stability and unity, and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together,” said Sunak.
Sunak, a former finance minister, has been left with the task of steering a deeply divided country through an economic downturn.
Sunak’s only challenger, Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons and former defence minister, was reportedly backed by 30 MPs compared to nearly 150 that supported Sunak.
“This decision is a historic one and shows, once again, the diversity and talent of our party,” said Mordaunt in a statement as she withdrew from the race just minutes before the winner was due to be announced. “Rishi has my full support.”
Having lost to Liz Truss in September 2022, Sunak racked up the support of his fellow MPs early, and fast in the latest leadership contest. He crossed the 100 nominations he needed long before the deadline including from MPs that had previously backed Truss or Boris Johnson.
Sunak was first elected as an MP in 2015 for Richmond in north Yorkshire and was made finance minister or chancellor in February 2020 under Boris Johnson.
Sunak’s accession is believed to be directly attributed to the chaos of the past few months. And he is seen as a safe pair of hands, having won wide praise for his handling of the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic in which he helped businesses and citizens with big government spending programs that saved many livelihoods.
Rishi Sunak was born in Southampton in 1980, where his father was a GP and his mother ran a pharmacy. His parents are both of Indian origin who came to the UK from East Africa and he becomes the first British Asian prime minister.