Rishi Sunak becomes the first Indian-origin Prime Minister of the UK. Rishi Sunak is the fifth UK prime minister in just six years. He is the third leader to enter London’s 10 Downing Street in less than two months.
Sunak defeated centrist politician Penny Mordaunt, who failed to get enough backing from lawmakers to enter the ballot, while his rival, the former prime minister Boris Johnson, withdrew from the contest saying he could no longer unite the party.
United States President Joe Biden on Monday hailed Rishi Sunak as the next prime minister of the UK and called his win a “ground-breaking milestone”.
Sunak, being one of the wealthiest politicians in Westminster and set to be the country’s first leader of colour, will be asked to form a government by King Charles, replacing Liz Truss, the outgoing leader who only lasted 44 days in the job before she resigned.
On Tuesday, Sunak addressed the nation outside 10 Downing Street after his appointment by King Charles III, capping the latest extraordinary twist in UK politics following Boris Johnson’s demise in July.
He became the third Prime Minister this year of Britain and the first person of colour to lead the former imperial power, vowing to mend the “mistakes” of Liz Truss’s calamitous 49-day tenure.
Sunak said a disastrous budget that felled Truss was motivated by a well-intentioned desire to kick-start growth, but its tax-cutting measures were “mistakes nonetheless”.
“And I have been elected as leader of my party and your prime minister in part to fix them”
– Rishi Sunak
“And that work begins immediately. I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda.”
“I understand, too, that I have work to do to restore trust after all that has happened. All I can say is that I am not daunted. I know the high office I have accepted and I hope to live up to its demands.”
Sunak said difficult decisions lay ahead as he looks to cut public spending. Hunt, who Truss appointed to calm markets roiled by her dash for growth, has been preparing a new budget alongside borrowing and growth forecasts due out on Monday, and repeated his warning on Tuesday that “it is going to be tough”.