By implementing measures that cater to the Tory right, opinion surveys indicate that Liz Truss has thus far outmaneuvered Rishi Sunak.
Before his spectacular falling-out with Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak was on a rapid rise that could still end with him installed as Britain’s first prime minister of color.
It would be a historic landmark if the Hindu descendants of immigrants from India and East Africa were to take command of the world’s fifth-largest economy.
But after making the final run-off following a series of votes by Conservative MPs, Sunak must first persuade the party’s members as ballot papers go out on Monday — and he is well behind Liz Truss.
Opinion polls show that she has outflanked him with policies geared to the Tory right, which also mistrusts Sunak’s role in a cabinet revolt that unseated Johnson after months of scandal.
The former chancellor of the exchequer, who amassed enormous wealth through his career in banking before entering politics, has also been ridiculed for being out of touch with the struggles faced by Britons due to rising inflation.
This month on the campaign trail, he was accused of “mansplaining” to Truss during a heated TV discussion when he attacked her tax-cutting proposals while wearing pricey Prada loafers while visiting a construction site.
Sunak contends that to control inflation and restart growth in the UK, “sound money” in the Thatcherite vein is required.
A video of a 21-year-old Sunak discussing his group of pals after attending the University of Oxford and Winchester College, one of the most prestigious private institutions in Britain, has surfaced.
He answered, “Well, not working class,” before clarifying, “I have friends who are aristocrats, I have friends who are upper class, and I have friends who are, you know, working class.”
Sunak, a 42-year-old policy expert with attention to detail, supported Brexit and became chancellor in February 2020.
The Covid pandemic outbreak was the rising Tory star’s baptism by fire.
He was compelled to quickly put together a significant economic stimulus package, which he now claims needs to be repaid.
Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, is the person who has made him more well-known in India. She is the child of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy.
The Sunaks met while pursuing their education in California and are parents to two young kids.
The former minister gained the moniker “Dishy Rishi” in the media thanks to his Instagram-friendly profile.
Sunak maintained a US Green Card until last year, which some viewed as evidence of a lack of long-term allegiance to Britain.
Additionally, Murty’s recent inability to pay UK taxes on her Infosys returns has raised serious concerns for him, which surveys indicate people viewed with great disfavor.
Johnson’s turbulent reign scandals have already left their mark on Sunak.
He celebrated Diwali in November 2020 by burning oil lights on the porch of 11 Downing Street, the chancellor’s official house, while asking people to adhere to England’s Covid shutdown.
Johnson was less conscientious about following the regulations, earning a police citation for one lockdown violation as part of the “Partygate” scandal probe.
Sunak also received a police fine after attending Johnson’s birthday party when he came early for a Downing Street meeting.
The Partygate affair, which also raised questions about his family’s wealth, damaged Sunak’s reputation as a teetotaller who only confesses to enjoying Coca-Cola and sweet treats.
The secure Conservative seat of Richmond in Yorkshire, northern England, is held by Sunak; it was formerly held by the “extraordinary” former party leader and foreign secretary William Hague.
As an MP, Sunak takes the Bhagavad Gita as the foundation for his pledge of allegiance. In January 2018, Theresa May appointed him his first position in the cabinet as a junior minister for local government, parks, and troubled families.
The grandparents of Sunak came from Punjab and immigrated to Britain in the 1960s via eastern Africa.
In his first speech to MPs in 2015, Sunak said they had “very little” when they came.
His mother oversaw a neighborhood pharmacy, while his father practiced family medicine in Southampton on the coast of southern England.
Before enrolling at Stanford University in California and later Oxford University, Sunak worked as a waiter in a neighborhood Indian restaurant.
Sunak insists that both his own family’s experience and his wife’s are a “very Conservative” story of hard work and aspiration. He will soon learn if the party members agree.