IN his second attempt at the position, Rishi Sunak has won the race to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, after losing out to Liz Truss in the race to replace Boris Johnson early last month.
Sunak becomes the first British Asian to become prime minister, the third person to lead the country in seven weeks, and the fifth since 2016, at a time of great economic upheaval.
At 42, he’ll also be the youngest prime minister in more than 200 years. Considered a centrist and pragmatic politician, Sunak emerged in the latest leadership contest as a safe pair of hands to guide the UK, after Liz Truss’ policy proposals around tax cuts and spending shook the government’s credibility and spooked markets.
Having only been elected as a member of Parliament in 2015, after a career in banking and hedge funds, Sunak’s political rise to become finance minister by 2020 was meteoric.
In that role he took unprecedented action to support Britain’s economy during the pandemic, with months-long programs to replace workers’ wages and incentivize consumer spending.
Truss announced her resignation last Thursday, amid mounting political pressure and misgivings over the government’s controversial growth plan.
Coming after only 44 days in office, her resignation made her the shortest-serving Prime Minister in the country’s history.
In a statement read outside Downing Street, Truss said: “I recognise, though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party.”