Rishi Sunak: the Indian-origin leader who could be next UK PM

New York: Rishi Sunak, one of several Tory MPs, whose exit from Boris Johnson’s government has brought the UK prime minister on the brink of stepping down from the coveted post, is the frontrunner to be the next entrant to 10, Downing Street.

As of July 12, Sunak and Attorney General Suella Braverman were the two Indian-origin members of Parliament to make the initial shortlist of eight candidates in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and British Prime Minister.

Deputy PM Dominic Raab, former health secretary Matt Hancock and transport secretary Grant Shapps all threw their support behind Sunak’s campaign. Shapps dropped out of the leadership contest to back Sunak and said Sunak has “the competence and experience to lead the country”.

Hancock said Sunak has the “character, experience and plan to get the UK through” the current headwinds and to win the next general election.

The former chancellor of the exchequer launched his campaign at Westminster, and when asked about the toxic smear campaign against him, said he would run a “positive campaign” focused on what his leadership would offer and not smear other candidates for whom he had enormous respect.

Here are five things about Indian-origin leader Rishi Sunak:

  1. Sunak, as his name suggests, is of Indian-origin, and was born on May 12, 1980, in Southampton. His father was a General Practitioner (GP) in the National Health Service (NHS), while his mother ran her own pharmacy. In the event of becoming PM, he will be Britain’s first Indian-origin premier.
  2. Prior to entering politics, the 42-year-old had a successful business career. His experience includes co-founding a large investment firm. The firm worked with companies ranging from those in the Silicon Valley, California, and those based in India’s IT capital, Bengaluru.
  3. Sunak is the son-in-law of the Infosys couple, NR Narayana Murthy and Sudha Murthy. He met his future wife, Akshata, in California in 2009, and they are parents to daughters Anoushka and Krishna. With a combined net fortune of 730 million pounds, the couple ranked 222 in the ‘Sunday Times Rich List 2022’.
  4. Since 2017, Sunak has taken oath as a member of the House of Commons – the lower house of the UK’s Parliament – on the Bhagavad Gita.
  5. He recently found himself embroiled in two major controversies. One was over his status as Johnson’s ‘partner in crime’ in what came to be known as ‘Partygate’. The other was over the non-domicile status of his wife.

UK Home Secy Priti Patel rules out leadership bid

Priti Patel – widely expected to become another Indian-origin candidate in the race for the post of Conservative Party leader and the next British prime minister – on July 12 ruled out a bid, saying she was “grateful” for the encouragement but her focus remains on her current job as Home Secretary.

“I will not be putting my name forward for the ballot of MPs,” said the 50-year-old Gujarati-origin senior Cabinet minister, just hours before nominations closed.

In a statement, Patel said she will not be standing for the Tory leadership. She is not backing any other candidates, but she does not rule out doing so later in the contest.

Image courtesy of (Photo: Wikipedia)

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