Rishi Sunak’s meteoric rise to UK PM – the inside story
Rishi Sunak’s meteoric rise from junior city banker to budget performer and then chancellor was one of the most extraordinary Conservative Party success stories of recent times. But his promotion to Number 10 Downing Street has prompted some surprise – because many still consider him something of a political novice. He is also not known for being ambitious in the way other heavyweights like Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab are. So how did it happen?
With Boris gone, Sunak looked set for cabinet role Read more Rishi Sunak MP: Who is his wife Akshata? The Conservative MP is the son of a former Oxford economics professor and a trained doctor. Thanks to his family background, he had an early start in finance at Goldman Sachs – even though he was hardly old enough to drink! But it did not last long; after ten years with the company, Sunak became head of European office for San Francisco-based investment firm One Asia Investment Partners. He then went on to set up his own family business called “Akshata”. His wife, Akshata Rao, who works as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, comes from a wealthy Tamil Nadu family which owns some highly valued properties in India.
Sunak’s blend of wealth and political power is also somewhat unusual for a Conservative politician. He met his wife, Akshata Rao, at Oxford University where both studied at the same time and later married in India – before settling down in London. His father-in-law, Dr Ananth Krishna Rao is a finance expert from Bangalore. His mother was Professor Usha Rao-Monari who left her post as visiting fellow at St John’s College to become the new minister for women and equalities. Sunak has no siblings and is an only child with limited family connections to politics.
Who is Rishi Sunak? Here’s everything you need to know about the new UK PM contender vying for Theresa May’s throne:
Rishi Sunak is a 42-year old British Conservative Party politician, who was elected to the House of Commons in 2015. Before entering politics, he was a corporate financier and consultant for McKinsey & Co. On Tuesday, Sunak took charge as interim stewardship at Number 10 Downing Street after Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation following months of political turmoil over Britain’s Brexit negotiations with the European Union (EU). He will now lead the Conservatives through Britain’s upcoming general elections later this year.
Sunak: Who is he? The son of a former Oxford economics professor, Rishi Sunak had an early start in finance at Goldman Sachs – even though he was hardly old enough to drink! But it did not last long; after ten years with the company, Sunak became head of European office for San Francisco-based investment firm One Asia Investment Partners. He then went on to set up his own family business called “Akshata”. His wife, Akshata Rao, who works as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, comes from a wealthy Tamil Nadu family which owns some highly valued properties in India.
Rishi Sunak has consistently been compared to his former boss, George Osborne – another privileged Conservative politician who became a high-profile chancellor of the exchequer. Both are recognized for their financial acumen and economic smarts. At the same time, both have received praise for managing to avoid getting embroiled in any serious personal scandals.
How Sunak became a PM candidate The former chancellor’s younger colleague came under the spotlight when he was chosen as the Conservative Party’s vice-chairman for communities and local government in 2015 – at just 34 years old. He went on to become a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to then-chancellor Sajid Javid and was also a member of the Treasury Select Committee. When Javid resigned as chancellor last month, Sunak was seen as being in prime position to succeed him – and quickly took over the role in Number 11. Under his leadership, the government announced an emergency Budget following Boris Johnson’s landslide election victory in December.
Sunak entered politics when he first won a seat in Parliament in 2015 as MP for Richmond upon Thames, a Conservative stronghold that has been held by his wife since 2005. During his three years in Parliament, Sunak has championed many causes, including increased investment in public services and housing. But his political rise can be largely attributed to his strong association with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who handpicked Sunak to be the Chief Secretary of the Treasury – the second-highest ranking economic portfolio at the British government.
Sunak is well-known for being a staunch Brexiteer and recently worked with Johnson on crafting Britain’s exit strategy from the EU. He was one of just three MPs who voted against former Prime Minister Theresa May’s divisive Brexit deal last year and had been a vocal critic of her “soft” stance towards leaving Europe. As interim stewardship at Number 10 Downing Street, Sunak will now oversee all key Brexit negotiations with the EU and will be expected to deliver a “hard” Brexit that removes Britain from Europe’s Customs Union. He is also set to take on an even bigger role as Chancellor of the Exchequer when Johnson formally takes over later this month after May steps down next week.
Despite his reputation as a hardline politician, Sunak has garnered support from several industry leaders who view him as a strong negotiator who can push for the best possible Brexit agreement. However, some question his lack of experience in government and whether he will be able to lead Britain through its most difficult times since World War II. Regardless, Sunak is seen as someone with great potential and could easily become one of Britain’s longest-serving Prime Ministers.
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Rishi Sunak is the new PM in waiting: The neophyte Tory contender who could be Britain’s next Prime Minister
A few years ago, no one would have predicted that young Indian-origin politician Rishi Sunak would become a front-runner for Prime Minister of Great Britain. But after emerging as an unlikely candidate to succeed successor Theresa May earlier this week, he may quickly ascend the political ladder and emerge as the country’s top leader within the next year or so.
Sunak is largely viewed as the inflexible hardliner among all Conservative Party leadership hopefuls and has been described by leading commentators as someone with fire in his belly – not to mention plenty of political ambition. But he’s also been praised by many for his strong support of Brexit and other conservative causes, and some see him as the perfect guy to deliver on Britain’s future plans to leave Europe once and for all.
Despite not being a career politician like most others vying for power in Parliament, Sunak has quickly made a name for himself since entering politics just three years ago. As an MP, he has championed higher public spending, housing affordability and more investment in healthcare – all while pushing through Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hardline approach to leaving the EU once and for all. He is currently serving as Finance Minister but will ascend to Number 10 Downing Street when Johnson formally takes over later this month following May’s resignation.
Although he has championed conservative causes, Sunak is known for being a pragmatic politician who’s able to strike deals with both Labour and other Tory members. His willingness to compromise could very well be what helps him win over Brexit skeptics as he prepares to take on the second-most powerful economic role in Britain’s government. But it will also likely test his ability to stay true to his conservative roots while still bringing the country together during its most tumultuous times since World War II.
Regardless, many see Sunak as someone with great potential – not only succeeding Johnson but going on to become one of Britain’s longest-serving Prime Ministers ever. With an unquenchable thirst for power and plenty of political support, there seems to be no limit to what this young and ambitious politician can achieve. Even those who are skeptical about his abilities say that he will undoubtedly prove them wrong, and Sunak is expected to make a splash on the British political stage for years to come.