With the UK’s new prime minister in office, it looks like the political turmoil of the last few months is likely to ease, at least for the time being. Rishi Sunak and his fellow MPs must put their political differences aside to focus on stabilising the economy and calming financial markets. But Sunak will of course have one eye on the next election, which he must call before January 2025.
Following his uncontested run at the top job, Rishi Sunak acquires the less-than-coveted title of second successive un-elected British prime minister to take office in 2022. However, coming from Punjabi heritage, he also takes on the more esteemed title of the nation’s first British Asian leader.
When Rishi Sunak lost to Liz Truss in the first Conservative Party leadership race of 2022, few were surprised. Many of the people given the chance to choose between the two candidates blamed Sunak for Boris Johnson’s downfall. They also preferred Truss’s “optimistic” economic policies to Sunak’s sombre assessment of the fiscal outlook. Where she promised generous tax arrangements, he argued that economic circumstances would be hard and taxes could not be cut in the short term. Indeed, he warned, they might even have to rise.
Having seen her government’s popularity plummet just weeks after taking office, British prime minister Liz Truss has sacked her chancellor of the exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng in a bid to save herself. Kwarteng, widely seen as Truss’s right-hand man, was rushed back to London from New York for the occasion, where he had been meeting with IMF officials on Thursday evening.
A YouGov poll of party members completed on August 2 shows Rishi Sunak to be trailing Liz Truss 31% to 69% in the Conservative leadership contest. A similar poll completed on July 21 had him on 38% to her 62%. She appears to be winning the contest hands down.