Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, Liz, and Rishi.
Conservative lawmakers have finally chosen the final two candidates for the position of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom: current Foreign Minister Liz Truss and former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak.
Since the announcement of the intention to run for the PM position, the 42-year-old ex-Chancellor has been the frontrunner among the seven other candidates, as evidenced by the highest number of votes cast since the first round.
Sunak has also been involved in the partygate scandal. He also had faced, and is still facing political controversies, wealth and tax claims, and trust issues as he is believed to have plotted the whole resignation and Boris-stabbing scheme since last year.
He left during the time of the crisis. He left during the second when he was needed the most.
So why do the people still want him? Or at least, trust him more than Truss?
Who is Rishi Sunak?
Sunak’s route to leadership appeared to become more difficult after he resigned as chancellor of the exchequer in early July, one of the highest-ranking positions in the United Kingdom that entailed overseeing all economic and financial affairs.
The Tory MP was born in Southampton, England, to Indian-origin parents. His father worked as a general practitioner for the NHS, and his mother ran a local pharmacy business. His grandparents were born in Punjab and moved to East Africa before settling in Britain in the 1960s, where they allegedly worked in administration.
Invested in Education
Rishi Sunak’s education took him from private school to private school before landing him at a prestigious university. Is this, however, enough to secure the country’s top job?
Mr Sunak, the eldest of three children, attended Oakmount Preparatory School in Southampton, Hants, before moving on to Stroud School, King Edward IV Preparatory, where tuition rises with the student’s age.
After graduating in 1992, Mr Sunak enrolled as a boarder at the 600-year-old Winchester College, where annual tuition is now £45,936 for boarders and £33,990 for day students.
According to estimates from the Independent School Council’s annual censuses, Mr Sunak’s Winchester College school fees were £49,937, but were covered by a scholarship.
Mr Sunak, however, has not forgotten the head start Winchester College gave him, as Sky News reported that he and his wife were listed as benefactors in the Wykeham Journal after donating more than £100,000 to his old haunts.
Mr Sunak attended Winchester College before enrolling at Oxford University’s Lincoln College to study Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). His success did not stop there: in 2001, he received a first at Oxford University before going abroad to earn an MBA at Stanford University.
Forte in Finance, Mind for Management, and Passion for Politics
Sunak then went on to have a financially rewarding first career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and other firms, while his wife, Akshata Murty, is one of Britain’s wealthiest women.
Sunak’s political career began in 2015, when he was elected to the Conservative Party’s Richmond constituency in Yorkshire. His career took off after he was appointed as a junior minister in former UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.
He was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury after supporting Johnson’s Tory leadership election in 2019. Sunak was promoted to Chancellor of the Exchequer following a cabinet reshuffle in February 2020, a position that ranks third in the ministerial hierarchy, trailing only the deputy prime minister and the prime minister.
When the coronavirus pandemic raged around the world and lockdowns were imposed in the UK, he faced the difficult task of leading the economy as the newly elected chancellor.
He launched a £350 billion financial rescue package, promising to “do whatever it takes” to help UK citizens, resulting in a massive increase in his personal poll ratings. He was praised for this scheme, as well as his costly job retention programme, which prevented mass unemployment.
Despite his firm belief in low taxes, the pandemic’s challenges increased his popularity, as he launched a number of schemes and furlough packages for businesses and workers to help keep the economy afloat.
Rishi Sunak was the early favourite to succeed Johnson, both because he represented a more decisive departure from Johnson’s previous administration and because he portrayed himself as a more mature, sensible leader in the mould of his hero Margaret Thatcher.
He has become known as many things in a short period of time: Dishy Rishi to the tabloids; one of the wealthiest MPs in Westminster; the second-youngest-ever chancellor of the exchequer, presiding over a £350 billion economy booster package (the largest ever recorded); and a hedge funder whose status has soared faster than stocks in a vaccine manufacturer.
And in the midst of British political chaos, it’s easy to overlook Rishi Sunak’s extraordinary rise.
Sunak was elected to the House of Commons only seven years ago. He was the most junior minister in the Department of Local Government less than two years ago.
Yet now, he is seen as a future prime minister of one, two, three, four, five, and sixty eight million people – which could also be Britain’s first ever non-white leader.