INTERNATIONAL DESK: Rishi Sunak is the frontrunner to succeed Liz Truss as Conservative Party leader.
A former chancellor (Feb. 2020 to July 2022) he has enjoyed a swift rise from being elected in 2015 as MP for Richmond (Yorks) to now going for the top job.
But what do we know about him?
Sunak was born in Southampton in 1980 to parents of Indian descent who had emigrated from East Africa. His father was a GP and his mother ran her own pharmacy. He would be the first British-Asian PM
He was educated at private boarding school Winchester College, Oxford University and Stanford University in California. It was in the US that he met his wife Akshata Murty, the daughter of an Indian billionaire and IT mogul. She and Sunak, 42, have two daughters
He has never commented publicly on how much he is worth, but his career in finance before entering politics is reported to have made him a millionaire while still in his twenties. You can read more on he and his wife’s joint fortunes here
The finances of Sunak and his family came under intense scrutiny this year, with his wife’s tax affairs placed in the spotlight. Murty then said she would start paying UK tax on her overseas earnings, relieving political pressure on her husband
While studying for an MBA at Stanford University he met his wife Ms Murty, the daughter of Narayana Murthy, Indian billionaire and co-founder of IT services giant Infosys. The couple have two daughters.
During the previous leadership campaign, he often mentioned his daughters in the context of climate change. Answering a question on climate change during a BBC TV debate, Mr Sunak said he took “advice from my two young daughters, who are the experts of this in my household”.
Mr Sunak’s wealth and private school background came into focus in other TV debates.
Sky News presenter Kay Burley had asked him about the “perception” that he was too rich to be the PM (and you can watch this response in the video below).
From 2001 to 2004, Mr Sunak was an analyst for Goldman Sachs and was later a partner in two hedge funds.
He is thought to be one of the richest MPs but he has not commented publicly on how much he is worth.
Since 2015 he has been the Conservative MP for Richmond in Yorkshire and became a junior minister in Theresa May’s government before being made chief secretary to the Treasury by her successor, Boris Johnson.
He was promoted to chancellor in February 2020 and was a vocal supporter of Mr Johnson at first, but resigned saying he felt his own approach to the economy was “fundamentally too different” to that of the PM.
Mr Sunak campaigned for Leave in the EU referendum, telling the Yorkshire Post he believed it would make the UK “freer, fairer and more prosperous”.
He said changing immigration rules was another key reason for his Leave vote: “I believe that appropriate immigration can benefit our country. But we must have control of our borders.”
Brexit rhetoric emerged during the Tory leadership campaign, but this time it was turned against Mr Sunak by someone who voted Remain, Ms Truss. For expressing concerns about the consequences of her tax-cutting plan, Ms Truss accused Mr Sunak of “scaremongering” and “Project Fear”.
Sajid Javid quit as chancellor following a power struggle with Number 10 and Mr Sunak stepped into his shoes
He voted for Theresa May’s Brexit deal the three times it was put to parliament.
He was rewarded with his support of Boris Johnson with a promotion in July 2019 from local government minister to chief secretary to the Treasury.
In February 2020 Sajid Javid quit as chancellor following a power struggle with Number 10, and Mr Sunak stepped into his shoes.
He eventually resigned as chancellor in July 2022, a move that contributed to the downfall of Mr Johnson as Tory leader and prime minister. At a leadership hustings, Mr Sunak insisted he was loyal to Mr Johnson, but resigned because his government was on the “wrong side” of serious ethical questions.
If chosen today, Sunak would become Tory Party leader on Diwali – the Hindu festival of lights
He’s a teetotaller who likes cola. (BBC)
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