Rishi Sunak, who will replace Liz Truss as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, on Monday warned of profound economic challenge and said that the UK needs stability and unity.
In his first address after being chosen as the leader of the Conservative Party, the former finance minister said promised to work towards overcoming challenges by bringing the party and the country together.
“UK is a great country but we face a profound economic challenge. We now need stability and unity and I’ll make it my utmost priority to bring our party and country together as that’s the only way we’ll overcome challenges &build a better future for our children and grandchildren,” he said while addressing from the Conservative Party Headquarters in London.
“I pledge that I will serve you with integrity and humility and I will work day in and day out to deliver for the British people," he added.
The PM-designate also paid tribute to Liz Truss for her dedicated public service to the country. She has led with dignity and grace for a time of great change and under exceptionally difficult circumstances both at home and abroad, he said.
Sunak was backed by more than 190 MPs as his contender Penny Mordaunt failed to earn the backing of 100 MPs which is a prerequisite for entering the PM race and bowed out of the race, minutes before the 1922 Committee Chief Sir Graham Brady announced the results.
King Charles will now ask Sunak, one of the wealthiest politicians in Westminster, to form a government. The former Goldman Sachs analyst will be the United Kingdom’s first prime minister of Indian origin.
After the victory, Sunak said, “Humbled and honoured to have support of my Parliamentary colleagues & to be elected as Leader of the Conservative & Unionist Party. It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to serve the party I love and give back to the country I owe so much to."
Sunak becomes the 57th prime minister of the UK and the first person of colour to lead the country. He is also UK’s first Hindu premier but the former chancellor to the exchequer has rarely spoken about his religion despite being a practising Hindu.
Sunak announced his bid to become the prime minister days after the outgoing prime minister Liz Truss announced her resignation on October 20 after party members rebelled against her citing that her mini-budget negatively affected the UK economy.
Truss is the shortest-serving prime minister in UK’s political history as she served only for 40 days. It should also be noted that Truss defeated Rishi Sunak, 40 days earlier, on September 5.
Sunak was elected from the Richmond (Yorkshire) constituency in 2015. He swears his oath of allegiance as an MP on the Bhagavad Gita. Before entering into politics, Rishi Sunak was an analyst at investment bank Goldman Sachs. Sunak then moved into hedge funds by becoming a partner at the Children’s Investment (TCI) Fund.
The 42-year-old has had various roles in the government up till now. He was the Junior minister for local government in the year 2018-19. He then became the chief secretary to the Treasury in 2019-20. Sunak then went on to become the chancellor of the exchequer in the year 2020-22.
Sunak came to national attention when he became finance minister under Johnson just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit Britain. He won a lot of praise for rapidly introducing ‘furlough’ support schemes worth billions of pounds to preserve jobs and businesses during 18 months of Covid lockdowns.
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