Rishi Sunak has won the Conservative Party leadership position and is about to be named as Britain’s new prime minister, filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Liz Truss.
The Indian-born Sunak won the Conservative Party leadership after his only rival, Penny Mordaunt, withdrew from the race ahead of the MPs’ vote on Monday afternoon.
Before that, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his withdrawal from the race on Sunday (23rd).
Sunak will not automatically become prime minister on Monday, as the outgoing prime minister, Truss, must first tender his resignation to King Charles according to the ceremony. The king will appoint Sunak in the coming days.
Sunak, 42, will become the youngest prime minister in British history in more than 200 years. Truss will resign on Thursday (27th), ending her 44-day term, the shortest term on record for a British prime minister.
As a former chancellor, Sunak faces a deteriorating economic situation in Britain following the chaos caused by Truss’s small budget in September.
Stock markets turmoil, sterling tumbled and the Bank of England was forced to intervene in an emergency bond-buying announcement after Truss and then chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced a series of unfunded tax cuts believed to be Disproportionate benefits for the wealthy, even as the country faces a worsening cost-of-living crisis.
Sunak, who steered the UK economy at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, is widely seen as having a safe pair of financial hands. Indeed, his criticism of the prime minister’s “unfunded tax cuts” appeared to be confirmed after he was denounced by Truss as a Treasury orthodoxy during the campaign.
After becoming prime minister, Sunak is expected to remain as the new chancellor of the exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, representing some continuity in the British government after months of turmoil.
However, some have questioned his ability to reunite the divided Conservative Party, and many MPs believe he is responsible for Johnson & Johnson’s scandal-induced ouster three months ago.