Rishi Sunak will be appointed today as Britain’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister, in a stunning leadership change amid an economic crisis. Mr Sunak became the leader of the Conservatives yesterday after his former boss Boris Johnson called off his comeback bid and rival Penny Mordaunt failed to secure enough backing from Tory MPs. At 42, Mr Sunak will be the youngest Prime Minister of the UK in over two centuries. He succeeds Liz Truss who faced a humiliating exit within two months after her tax-cutting plans backfired.
He inherits an economy that was headed for a recession even before Truss’s tax-cutting budget sent shockwaves through the market, crashing the pound. Mr Sunak is currently meeting King Charles at the Buckingham Palace and will be the first PM to be appointed by the new monarch since the death of Queen Elizabeth. Truss was appointed by the Queen two days before her death on September 8.
Truss, the shortest serving British PM, will make a departing statement at 10, Downing Street around 0915 GMT (2:45 PM IST) after holding her last cabinet meeting. Mr Sunak is likely to speak over an hour later. Addressing the public yesterday, Mr Sunak promised “stability and unity” and to bring the party and the country together.
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As he settles down after delivering his maiden speech from the steps of 10 Downing Street, Mr Sunak’s first job will be to appoint his top team before he faces the first session of “Prime Minister’s Questions” in the Parliament on Monday. Boris Johnson may not get a seat in his cabinet after he was forced to resign as the Prime Minister partly due to Mr Sunak’s resignation as the Chancellor.
Mr Sunak’s parents are of Indian descent and had migrated from East Africa to the UK in the 1960s. He is married to Akshata Murty, daughter of Narayana Murthy, founder of Indian tech giant Infosys. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sent “warmest congratulations” to Rishi Sunak. “As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues, and implementing Roadmap 2030. Special Diwali wishes to the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership,” he tweeted.
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