Rishi Sunak has won the race to be the leader of the Conservative Party and will become Britain’s next Prime Minister. He will be the third this year. The election of Rishi Sunak, who is Hindu and of Indian origin, to a largely white UK triggered both praise and controversy. Indians across the globe welcomed his victory and interpreted it as a historic triumph for the former colony.
Sunak faces the task of stabilizing the party and country at a time of economic and political turbulence. His victory comes after Liz Truss stepped down after 44 controversial days in office. Truss also made similar promises to boost the economy but had to resign due to a dismal market response to her policies. The British economy is currently at an estimated budget deficit of $45 billion and is heading towards a recession. Moreover, the country is also struggling with a cost-of-living crisis, with inflation hovering around 10%.
However, Sunak was not elected by the 67 million people of the United Kingdom. Lawmakers from the Conservative Party appointed the multimillionaire former banker. The party is experiencing historic polling lows following a decade of austerity and 18 months of controversy and conflict. His immediate challenge is to keep the British public in good faith by providing relief and opening large reforms to bring back growth.
“Rishi Sunak has been crowned by Tory MPs. It’s a coronation not an election.” Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party tweeted on Monday. “He has no mandate and the British people have had no say. #GeneralElectionNow.”
Rishi Sunak has been crowned by Tory MPs. It’s a coronation not an election.
All without saying a single word about what he’d do as Prime Minister to address this Tory crisis. He has no mandate and the British people have had no say. #GeneralElectionNow pic.twitter.com/Pc931Yshkj
— Angela Rayner 🌹 (@AngelaRayner) October 24, 2022
Despite his murky victory, Sunak still vows to restore stability to the country. “I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country” he said. He added that his government would be run with “integrity, professionalism and accountability.
The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis.
That’s why I am standing to be Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister.
I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country. pic.twitter.com/BppG9CytAK
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 23, 2022
Further, the symbolic significance of a brown British PM cannot be a match against harsh realities. Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy are among UK’s richest – they sit on a combined fortune of £730 million. That is nearly double of the wealth that King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort possess (£300 – £350 million). Many people understandably worry that Sunak does not represent the interests of the common British man. He may have celebrated Diwali with pride, but he has often voted to harm vulnerable marginalised communities. Now, only time will tell whether he will be successful in pulling the UK out of financial trenches and living up to the expectations of its brown population.