Colonial full circle: Rishi Sunak set to be elected as Britain’s first-ever ‘Indian’ prime minister
Indian-origin Rishi Sunak is all set to take oath as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom after winning the race to be the country’s next prime minister.
He won the Tory leadership contest on Monday after rival Penny Mordaunt failed to secure enough backing from members of parliament.
When he does, Sunak will become the first prime minister of England who is of Indian origin, is not an ethnic Anglo-Saxon or a Christian – Sunak is a Hindu who took his oath for the House of Commons on the Bhagavad Gita.
Unity in face of challenges
In his first speech, Sunak said bringing his party and the UK together would be his “utmost priority”.
Sunak will become the UK’s first British Asian prime minister and the youngest for more than 200 years.
A 42-year-old practising Hindu, Sunak is expected to take office in the coming days.
Labor has led calls for a general election before Sunak takes office as the third Conservative prime minister since the party won the last one in 2019.
Sunak addressed Tory MPs after the result was announced by Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of backbench Conservatives.
In the speech – which took place behind closed doors – Sunak told them this was going to be a tough period and ruled out an early general election, MP Simon Hoare said.
The former chancellor said the Conservative Party, trailing Labor in the polls by huge margins, was facing an “existential threat”, but could win the next election by uniting.
In a TV address that lasted less than two minutes,Sunak promised to serve with “integrity” and thanked outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss for leading the country during “exceptionally difficult circumstances”.
“The United Kingdom is a great country but there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge,” he said. “We now need stability and unity and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together.”
The King will appoint Sunak, who will take over from Truss following her resignation just 45 days into her tumultuous premiership last week.
Sunak’s coronation, in effect, as Tory leader caps a rapid political comeback by the former chancellor after he lost out to Truss in the last leadership contest during the summer.
Truss – whose tax-cutting agenda Mr Sunak dismissed as “fairytale economics” – tweeted to congratulate him and offer her “full support”.
Her successor will take office at a time of economic crisis and pressure on public finances, exacerbated by Truss’s mini-budget, most of which has been scrapped.