Rishi Sunak to become UK's next PM
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak was elected new Tory leader by the parliamentary group of the ruling Conservative Party in the Commons.
Former chancellor Rishi Sunak has been elected the new Tory leader by the parliamentary group of the governing British Conservative Party in the House of Commons, as announced on Monday afternoon by Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee that oversees the election of party leaders.
The outcome of the election means that Rishi Sunak will be the United Kingdom’s next prime minister.
Shortly before Sir Brady’s official announcement, Mr Sunak’s only rival Penny Mordaunt, former defence secretary, pulled out of the contest. In his announcement, the leadership election officer confirmed that by the deadline on Monday afternoon, the body had received one valid nomination with the sufficient number of backers.
Outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss announced on Thursday that she is leaving as leader of the Conservative Party after her low-tax agenda, causing an economic meltdown, has led to her losing the backing of many Tory MPs in the Commons. Her departure as party leader means that she will also quits her role as prime minister, but she will continue to perform prime ministerial duties until her successor takes office.
Rishi Sunak will officially become the United Kingdom’s new prime minister after King Charles receives a formal resignation from Liz Truss and the he appoints Mr Sunak as new prime minister. This can take place as early as Monday, but the takeover is more likely to happen on Tuesday.
Rishi Sunak will be the United Kingdom’s third prime minister in less than two months.
Liz Truss’s predecessor, Boris Johnson, was forced by the Tory parliamentary group in the House of Commons to resign as party leader in the summer, in the wake of a series of domestic political scandals. Mr Johnson performed prime ministerial duties until 6 September, when Ms Truss, who was elected as his successor, took office. Liz Truss spent barely 45 days at the helm of the Conservative Party and the British government. At the end of September, her former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng proposed massive tax cuts of 45 billion pounds to alleviate the cost-of-living-crisis and boost the economy. However, the plan triggered huge market turmoil as the programme lacked meaningful calculations and forecasts on the financing of the budgetary effects of the planned tax cuts. After presenting her new tax scheme, the British pound began plummeting at an unprecedented pace, with its exchange rate falling almost to parity against the dollar. The yield on British government debt instruments also jumped sharply, prompting an extraordinary intervention from the Bank of England in the bond market. The institution justified the move by saying that Great Britain’s financial stability was at risk. As a result, all three global credit rating agencies, Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and S&P, have modified their outlook for the British government’s debt ratings to negative, indicating the possibility of a downgrade.
Liz Truss dismissed Kwarteng ten days ago, and on Thursday she also announced that she is leaving office, after the situation became untenable due to the intense pressure from her own party calling for her resignation.
Her departure has ushered in an accelerated leadership selection process, in which the participants had to gain support from at least 100 parliamentary group members to qualify as candidates to take over the leadership of the Conservative Party.
In his short statement announcing the results, Sir Graham Brady did not disclose how many group members Mr Sunak and the other two Tory politicians have managed to win over but, according to the BBC’s calculation, Rishi Sunak’s candidacy was supported by almost two hundred members of the 357-member Tory group in the House of Commons.
42-year-old Sunak will be the youngest British prime minister of the last hundred years, and also the first Hindu premier in British political history. He was born in Southampton, in the south of England in 1980, but his parents come from families with Indian roots and both were born in former British colonies in East Africa: his father in Kenya, his mother in the former Tanganyika Territory, which is part of today’s Tanzania. His parents’ families have moved to Great Britain in the 1960s.
According to the conservative Sunday Times, which compiles a list of the 1000 richest Britons each year, Rishi Sunak and his wife are in the 222nd place with an estimated family fortune of 730 million pounds.
Mr Sunak has degrees in economy from Oxford University and California’s Stanford University. Before his political career, he worked in the financial services sector and the global banking giant Goldman Sachs, as well as for various hedge fund management companies.