Rishi Sunak, the new incumbent at the Prime Minister’s office in the United Kingdom (UK) is the first Indian-Origin and non-white person to hold the post of PM in the UK.
Sunak, the second-generation Indian diaspora in the UK joined politics in 2014 and became an MP from Richmond(Yorks) in 2015. Leaders from all around the world including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, European council president Charles Michel, and Irish PM Michael Martin have welcomed and congratulated Sunak.
Warmest congratulations @RishiSunak! 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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 24, 2022
The Political Rise
In 2014, the conservative party placed Rishi Sunak as its Member of Parliament candidate for Richmond (Yorks), which is considered to be the safest seat in the UK for the party. This seat has been held by the conservative party for over 100 years. He soon became the head of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME).
As soon as Sunak was elected as a Member of Parliament for Richmond (Yorks) in 2015, he became a member of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Select Committee.
He has been a vocal supporter of Ex-British PM Theresa May and Boris Johnson. He has been a strong supporter of Brexit and also voted in the referendum. Later in 2019, He advocated for Boris Johnson in the conservative party leadership election.
Sunak’s open support for Johnson’s policy became instrumental in his meteoric political rise as he became one of the favorite leaders in the party the then Prime Minister. Sunak was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in July 2019 by Johnson. The very next day he became a member of the Privy Council and served in this post till 2020. Later, he was also elevated to the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer, which he served from 2020 to 2022.
COVID- Gain in Popularity
Rishi Sunak was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Covid pandemic. During this period, his policies such as the ‘Job retention scheme’ and ‘Eat out to help out’ to reduce the economic impact of the epidemic, save jobs, and support companies made him popular among the public.
Life before Politics
Before coming to politics Rishi Sunak worked as an analyst for the Investment bank Goldman Sachs. He worked from 2001 to 2004. He also worked at two hedge fund management firms. The one is Children’s Investment Fund Management in which he became a partner in 2006.
In 2009 he joined another hedge fund management firm Theleme Partners in California. Before being elected as a Member of Parliament in 2015, he was a director of the investment firm Catamaran Ventures which was owned by his father-in-law and founder of Infosys Narayana Murthy.
The Indian Connection
Sunak was born in 1980 in Southhampton to African-born Hindu parents of Indian Punjabi descent, Yashvir and Usha Sunak. His father was born in Kenya while his mother was born in Tanzania.
Usha Sunak was a pharmacist whereas Yashvir was a general practitioner at National Health Service (NHS).
Sunak’s grandfathers’ belonged to Punjab province. His paternal grandfather was from Gujranwala (in present-day Pakistan) while his maternal grandfather was from Delhi. The family moved to Nairobi in the 1930s and later to the UK in the 1960s.
Sunak is married to Akshata Murty, the daughter of Indian Billionaire Narayan Murthy.
The Wealthy Sunak
Sunak is said to be the richest member in the House of Commons. In the Sunday Times Rich 2022, Sunak was ranked 222nd among the UK’s 250 richest people. On the other hand, his wife Murty owns a 0.91% stake in Infosys which was valued at about $900m (£746m) in April 2022, making her one of the wealthiest women in Britain.
In the report, Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy were said to be worth 730 million pounds. Besides, Sunak and Akshata Murthy have immovable assets worth 15 million pounds.
Sunak and Murthy have four houses. Two in London, one in Yorkshire, and one in Los Angeles. The cost of a five-bedroom house in Kensington alone is said to be £7 million. The two have a second home on Old Brompton Road in London. The couple owns a Grade-II listed Georgian mansion in Yorkshire. It is spread over 12 acres. Apart from this, there is also a penthouse in California.