Rishi Sunak wins UK PM race as Penny Mordaunt withdraws
After receiving support from the majority of the Conservative Party Members of Parliament (MPs), Rishi Sunak has won the race to become the party's new leader and the United Kingdom's next prime minister. He is set to become the country's first Indian-origin PM after his rival Penny Mordaunt dropped out of the contest as she couldn't garner the required backing of 100 Tory MPs.
Why does this story matter?
- After facing days of controversies and opposition from Tory members, PM Liz Truss announced her resignation last week.
- Sunak and Mordaunt were battling to become the 80th UK prime minister, with the former now emerging victorious.
- To recall, Sunak—who resigned as the finance minister on July 5 in protest against the former PM Boris Johnson-led administration's misconduct—was the runner-up in the last PM race.
Sunak enjoyed support of over 190 MPs
According to reports, Sunak won the race as over half of Tory MPs have backed him. He was supported by at least 192 MPs, way above the required 100-mark. As former PM Johnson withdrew from the contest on Sunday, Mordaunt—with only 26 backers—was his only rival. However, she too dropped out of the race on Monday, paving way for Sunak to become the PM.
'I want to fix economy, unite party and deliver for country'
The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 23, 2022
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
Sunak had support from Johnson loyalist too
In a surprise move, Priti Patel, a supporter of Johnson, earlier came out in favor of Sunak taking over as the Tory leader after her former boss dropped out of the contest. The former British Home Secretary of Indian origin, who had resigned from the cabinet when Truss became the PM last month, said Tories must put aside partisanship to give Sunak a chance.
Sunak to become the first Indian-origin UK PM
Sunak, as his name indicates, is of Indian descent but was born and brought up in the UK. He was born on May 12, 1980, in Southampton, a port city. His father worked for the National Health Service (NHS) as a general practitioner, while his mother ran a pharmacy. He is now set to become Britain's first PM of Indian origin.
Sunak to become PM as UK grapples with economic crisis
Sunak is set to assume the UK's premier post at a time when the country is grappling with a severe economic crisis. The latest Tory leadership contest was necessitated after Truss resigned as the PM last week—only 45 days after assuming power—amid criticism from her own party members as her policies triggered economic turmoil and backlash from different quarters.
A little more about Rishi Sunak
Sunak was first elected as a Member of Parliament from Richmond, Yorkshire, in 2015. He was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, one of the most significant UK Cabinet positions, in February 2020. Notably, Sunak is married to Akshata Murty and is the son-in-law of Indian multinational IT company Infosys co-founder, NR Narayana Murthy, and Sudha Murthy.