Seven weeks after losing to Liz Truss in this year’s first Conservative leadership contest, Rishi Sunak emerged as the victor on Monday.
He is set to become the UK’s first British Asian prime minister at age forty-two, the youngest in more than a century. He will take office as the UK faces enormous economic challenges.
Sunak, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2020 to 2022, has already secured the support of Conservative lawmakers.
Earlier, Sunak praised Boris Johnson for his achievements in Downing Street. In a tweet, Sunak wrote: “Boris Johnson delivered Brexit and the great vaccine roll-out.”
“He led our country through some of the toughest challenges we have ever faced, and then took on Putin and his barbaric war in Ukraine,” he wrote. “We will always be grateful to him for that.”
“Although he has decided not to run for PM again, I truly hope he continues to contribute to public life at home and abroad,” Sunak tweeted.
Boris Johnson announced late on Sunday that he will not stand to return and lead the Conservative party despite gaining the support of 102 MPs, as he claimed.
“There is a very good chance that I would be successful in the election with Conservative Party members—and that I could indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday,” Johnson maintained.
“But in the course of the last days I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do,” he concluded. “You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament.”
He said he is “well placed” to deliver a victory in the 2024 general election.
Who is Rishi Sunak?
Born in Southampton to parents of Indian descent who migrated to Britain from East Africa in the 1960s, Sunak studied philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) at Lincoln College, Oxford, and later gained an MBA from Stanford University in California as a Fulbright Scholar.
While studying at Stanford, he met his future wife Akshata Murty, the daughter of N. R. Narayana Murthy, the Indian billionaire businessman who founded Infosys. Sunak and Murty are the 222nd richest people in Britain with a combined fortune of £730m as of 2022.
After graduating, he worked for Goldman Sachs and, later on, as a partner at the hedge fund firms the Children’s Investment Fund Management and Theleme Partners.
Sunak was elected to the House of Commons in the 2015 general election. He supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum on EU membership. He was appointed to Theresa May’s second government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government in the 2018 reshuffle.
After May resigned, Sunak supported Boris Johnson’s campaign to become Conservative leader. When Johnson was elected and appointed Prime Minister, he appointed Sunak as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Sunak became Chancellor of the Exchequer in February 2020.