Former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak will be Next UK Prime Minister After beating his only remaining competitor in the fast race to become Conservative Party leader on Monday.
Another potential candidate, Penny Mordaunt, waived after failing to meet the nomination threshold from lawmakers required to advance to the next stage of the race. Moments before the number of nominations was announced, Mordaunt pledged her full support for Sunak.
Sunak will become the first person of color and the first Hindu to lead the UK. At 42, he is the youngest person to hold the position in more than 200 years.
Speaking after the announcement, Sunak said he “feels humbled and honored” to be elected leader. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to serve the party I love and give back to the country to which I owe so much,” he said in a brief televised statement.
Sunak is set to replace Liz Truss, who will become the shortest serving Prime Minister in UK history. Sunak will become prime minister on Tuesday once he is formally appointed by King Charles III and will be the first prime minister appointed by the new king following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September.
CNN has learned that the King was traveling to London from the private estate of Sandringham on Monday afternoon, as has always been his plan. He will meet with Truss on Tuesday morning before meeting Sunak.
Sanjay Chandarana, who heads a Hindu temple co-founded by Sunak ancestors in 1971, said Sunak’s rise marked a historic moment for Britain’s South Asian community.
“It’s a Barack Obama moment for us. A South Asian and Indian prime minister in the UK. Everyone here is so excited to hear this news,” Chandarana, head of the Hindu temple of the Vedic Society in Southampton, told CNN.
Sonak’s grandparents were born in India and his parents immigrated to the UK from East Africa in the 1960s. Sunak has spoken publicly about his British Indian heritage, telling Business Standard in a 2015 interview that he marked a British Indian in the census.
“I am completely British, this is my home and my country, but my religious and cultural heritage is Indian, and my wife is Indian. I am open to being Hindu,” Sunak told Business Standard.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday extended his “warmest congratulations” to Sunak, describing the incoming prime minister as a bridge between the two countries.
“Special Diwali wishes to be a ‘living bridge’ for UK Indians, as we transform our historical ties into a modern partnership,” Modi said on Twitter.
He also congratulated Truss Sunak after the announcement, saying on Twitter he had “full support”.
Sunak officially announced he would stand on Sunday after winning the support of 100 Conservative MPs, the necessary limit set by party officials. By Monday, he had won the support of more than half of the party’s 357 deputies.
His campaign received a major boost when the former prime minister and his rival, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, withdrew from the race on Sunday night.
Monday marked the climax of what has been an astonishingly rapid rise to power for Sunak. He was first elected to Parliament in 2015 and became a junior minister in 2017. It was Johnson who gave Sunak his first major government role, appointing him as Senior Treasurer in 2019 and promoting him to minister in 2020.
But as Britain’s third prime minister in seven weeks, Sunak faces an enormous task.
His party is increasingly divided and unpopular after four months of political turmoil and financial market chaos. At the same time, Britain is facing a major economic crisis, with many economists believing it is already in a recession.
It is also already under heavy criticism from opposition politicians.
Sunak, like Truss, did not have to win the general election to become prime minister because the Conservatives are still the largest party in the House of Commons, and their leader therefore automatically becomes prime minister.
The opposition Labor party’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said Sunak “has no mandate and no idea what workers need” and called for early elections.
“We need a general election so the public has a say in Britain’s future – and the chance of a fresh start with Labour,” she said.
It is not unusual for a prime minister to take office without an election – four of the last five British prime ministers entered office for the first time without a general election. But the fact that Sunak is the UK’s third prime minister since the last poll in 2019 and the second to take office without a public vote adds to the pressure.
Sunak is under no obligation to call for a vote. According to the law, the next general election must be held no later than January 2025. With Labor ahead in the opinion polls, it is unlikely to take such a step.
Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon also criticized the way Sunak came to power and renewed her call for Scottish independence.
“For Scotland, of course, he becomes another prime minister which we have not done, and no doubt we would not vote for him even if he had the opportunity. To escape the damage done to the Westminster governments that have no mandate here, and take our future into our own hands, Scotland needs,” said Sturgeon. Independence”.
“The UK is a great country, but there is no doubt that we face profound economic challenges,” Sunak said during a statement noon Monday.
“Now we need stability and unity and I will make it my highest priority to bring our party and our country together. Because this is the only way we will overcome the challenges we face and build a better and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren.”
As a former consultant, Sunak has experience in combating economic crises. He led the UK through the Covid-19 pandemic, putting together a giant fiscal stimulus package.
While he has not provided any details of his planned policies in the past few days, he positioned himself as the “sound finances” candidate when he ran against Truss in the previous Tory leadership contest over the summer.
He was seen as the most moderate of the candidates. While he agreed with Truss that taxes should be lower, he said any cuts can only happen once inflation is brought under control, which could take several years.
swipe gears economic plan Which sparked panic in the financial markets and led to her death. British government bond prices rose at the fastest pace ever, driving up borrowing costs significantly.
Investors seem to welcome Sunak’s rise to power. The pound rose against the US dollar on Monday, while the FTSE 250 index of British companies rose.
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