By Staff Writer
Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer in the ill-fated government of ex-prime minister Boris Johnson has become the UK’s third leader in a year, its fourth in three years and its sixth in five years.
42-year-old Mr Sunak, a Hindu British-Asian of Indian background, has made history by becoming the UK’s first non-white Prime Minister and the youngest in around 200 years.
Mr Sunak said he was “humbled and honoured”, adding: “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.”
New Prime Minister Sunak faces an overflowing in-tray including tackling the cost of living crisis, a country on the brink of recession, soaring inflation, addressing the budgetary and economic turmoil created by the previous Liz Truss government, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and selecting a new Cabinet.
He also faces the daunting challenge of unifying the fractured Conservative party that is lagging far behind the main opposition Labour Party in the opinion polls.
The next general election is due by 2024 but Mr Sunak has already rejected calls from the Labour Party to go electorate earlier.
THE COMEBACK KID
He was chosen without contest after the two other candidates, former prime minister Boris Johnson - seeking a comeback - dropped out, along with the other challenger, former defence and international development minister Penny Mordaunt.
She stepped back at the last minute on Monday, allowing Mr Sunak to be appointed unchallenged. That effectively ruled out another internal leadership contest with the winner chosen by paid-up members of the Conservative Party.
In the previous contest earlier this year Mr Sunak lost to Liz Truss although he had the majority support of party MPs but was nonetheless rejected by the party membership.
ROAD TO THE TOP
His path to the iconic No. 10 Downing Street, the residence and office of the British Prime Minister comes following a period the next door at 11 Downing Street, which he occupied as Chancellor from 2020 to earlier this year.
The former hedge fund manager was appointed to the post in 2020 by then prime minister Boris Johnson but resigned this past July distancing himself from Mr Johnson who had become embroiled in a series of scandals.
Mr Sunak’s resignation along with several other members of the Johnson cabinet and condemnations of the then-prime minister’s conduct by many Conservative MPs forced him to step down.
Mr Johnson is still being investigated by a Parliamentary committee for misleading the House, which could see him being thrown out of the British Parliament if he is found guilty.
The ensuing leadership campaign to replace Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister resulted in Mr Sunak losing to Liz Truss.
But her short-lived six-week tenure as prime minister collapsed in the wake of a disastrous mini-budget which caused chaos in the financial markets, crashed the pound sterling, and forced the Bank of England to intervene in an effort to restore some semblance of stability.
Liz Truss abruptly and dramatically resigned last week - after insisting just a day before that she was “a fighter not a quitter”. That led to the events which have culminated in Mr Sunak’s elevation to Prime Minister.
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