Rishi Sunak announces formal bid for UK Prime Minister
It is the second time in less than four months that Sunak (42) is fighting for that role. Over the summer, the former UK chancellor reached the final round in the race to succeed Boris Johnson before losing out to Truss in a vote by party members.
Sunday’s announcement makes Sunak the first — and, so far, the only — formally declared candidate to collect the 100 nominations from fellow lawmakers required by 2 p.m. Monday to appear on party ballots, according to public reports. If more than one candidate passes the threshold, the MPs will choose two which the party members will put to an online vote, with results expected on October 28.
As of Sunday, Sunak’s biggest challenger appeared to be Johnson, the former prime minister whose resignation in July triggered the current spate of political chaos in Britain. In his resignation As Johnson’s finance minister, which prompted a wave of others to quit and eventually forced Johnson to resign, Sunak said the public deserved a government that acted “properly, competently and seriously”.
On Saturday, British media reports she said the two men – who once worked side-by-side – had held talks late into the night, prompting speculation that the two could strike a deal to put aside their rivalry and form a joint ticket.
If eventually elected, Sunak would become the country’s first prime minister South Asian origin. He was born in Southampton, England to parents of Indian descent who immigrated from East Africa.
A number of conservative lawmakers and former Johnson allies, including former cabinet members Sajid Javid and Gavin Williamson, announced their support for Sunak. In a significant blow to Johnson’s chances, David Frost — who was responsible for negotiating Britain’s Brexit deal and was later given a seat in the House of Lords by Johnson — said on Saturday it was time to “move on” from the former prime minister.
Boris Johnson will always be a hero for getting Brexit done.
But we must go further. It’s simply not right to risk a repeat of last year’s chaos and confusion.
The Tory Party must get behind a capable leader who can deliver a conservative programme. It is @RishiSunak. 1/2
— David Frost (@DavidGHFrost) October 22, 2022
Many of those supporters sought to portray the former finance minister as a stabilizing candidate capable of ending the chaos of recent months. Sunak loyalists also pointed out that during the previous leadership battle against Truss this summer, his candidacy received the most support from his parliamentary colleagues.
However, critics within the Conservative Party are concerned that he is out of touch with voters, and he is accused him of disloyalty Johnson — a key source of friction for many members of the party, among whom the former leader remains popular.
Educated in one of the most prestigious British private schools — like Johnson — Sunak has a stellar resume, with degrees from Oxford and Stanford universities and a job at Goldman Sachs. One of Britain’s richest politicians, he is married to Indian tech heiress Akshata Murthy, whose tax scandals have brought the former chancellor some political discomfort during his leadership campaign in the summer.
And a video clip from a A 2007 BBC documentaryin which Sunak suggests he doesn’t have any “working-class friends”, is making the rounds online again as some Brits frown on a range of upper-class Conservative candidates.
Nevertheless, Sunak remains popular among his party’s politicians, although he fares less well among the national membership of the Conservative Party, which favored Truss in September with 57.4 percent to his 42.6 percent.
To his supporters, Sunak is a steady hand at the economic helm, as he correctly predicted the market crisis caused by Truss’s policies when it cut taxes and sent the British pound crashing. He called Truss’s proposed economic reforms economy from a fairy tale before she took office, an assessment likely to lend credence to his picture of fiscal responsibility.
However, the blemish on his record is his association with “Partygate” the scandal that brought down Johnson’s government. Like his boss, Sunak was too fined by London’s Metropolitan Police while in the office to attend meetings at 10 Downing Street while the British were under austerity coronavirus lock restrictions. And some critics, like the former leader of the Conservative Party Iain Duncan Smithhave noted that the record high level of inflation in the UK began during his chancellorship.
As of early Sunday, The BBC’s number of publicly declared Conservative MPs gave Sunak 132, 55 for Johnson and 23 for Penny Mordaunt.
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